FiddlerPaul71 - Posted - 01/23/2022: 06:59:11
Old-Time TOTW #187 is a version of Paddy Won't You Drink Some Good Old Cider from the playing of Oklahoma fiddler Ed Hicks and is found in The Fiddle Book by Marion Thede.
I was not able to definitively locate Mr. Hicks. I have found that very few fiddlers were actually from the county in which Thede listed them. I find men with the same names who were all the way across the state, approximately 4-5 hours by highway. Those distances were even further apart back in the era Thede collected the tunes.
Despite not being able to trace Mr. Hicks and others, Marion Thede had wonderful foresight to document not only fiddle tunes but also the fiddlers who played those tunes. She lived a very interesting life.
Frances Marion Draughon Thede (11 November 1903 -17 December 1998). was born in Davis, OK, and moved with her family to Norman, OK when she was a young teen. She was the daughter of James Draughon (1873-1939) and Lena Pearl Erdwurm (1879-1985). James was born in TN and Lena was born in TX. Lena was a piano teacher, and went to college. This was unusual for a woman in those days and is quite notable.
Marion went to OU to study music in the fall of 1918 at the age of 14/15. She loved writing and took many English and writing courses. At age 18 (Spring 1922) she graduated, but lacked 14 hours for a BA. She married Johnston Murray (1902-1974) on 16 June 1923. They moved to South America in 1923/24 and lived in a colony. Marion returned to OK with her infant son in 1927. Johnston and Marion had grown apart, and did not come with them. She began teaching at a consolidated school in Amorita, OK.
It was there that she became enamored with cross tuned fiddles and began collecting tunes in earnest. By 1937 she was living in Shawnee, OK, and had married a man whose last name was Buchanan. A 1937 newspaper article states her many musical accomplishments and mentions that she had written a book of tunes that was to be published by University Press (Norman, OK). Apparently, it was never published. It would appear that had Marion's book been published at this time, it would have been the first book of its kind to focus exclusively on documenting area-specific American fiddle tunes and their sources with notations of each tune.
The 1940 Census lists Marion as head of household, and it is not clear what happened to Mr. Buchanan. By 1949, she had married George Henry Unger (1892-1952). He was a professional violinist, but apparently fiddled because his playing of the Chicken Reel is included in The Fiddle Book. The next 3 selections, including Mississippi Sawyer, are credited to Marion Unger. She would later marry Fred Thede and have her book of tunes published by Oak Publications as The Fiddle Book in 1967.
In addition to a much-sought after lecturer, Ms. Thede's list of accomplishments was great and included: fiddle contest judge, supervisor of the Federal Music Project (Shawnee, OK), member of the American Federation of Musicians, violinist and violist with the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, Tulsa Philharmonic Symphony, and summer Lyric Theater Orchestra; she was on the national board of advisors for the national Folk Festival Association (Washington, D. C.), member of the Oklahoma Writers Association, organizer and head of the Oklahoma Folk Council; she held membership in the International Folk Music Council (London, England), the International Musicological Council (Basle, Switzerland), American Folklore Society, American String Teachers, Music Education National Conference, Mu Phi Epsilon, and Alpha Gamma Delta.
The above information comes from several sources, including public documents, The Fiddle Book, and newspaper articles. I'd like to thank Brad Leftwich and Cheryl Webber for sharing newspaper articles with me.
There is a fascinating interview of Ms. Thede done in 1982 that was posted by the Oklahoma Historical Society. She discusses her early life in Oklahoma and her experiences living in a colony in South America during the 1920s: youtu.be/QWA9onbirHg
Thede doesn't say much about this widespread tune other than noting that Mr. Hicks tuned to ADAe ("high bass") because he said, "it makes a good vibration." Thede, apparently, didn't share that thought.
We featured an interesting, crooked version of Paddy Won't You Drink Some Good Old Cider from AR fiddler Violet Hensley for Old-Time TOTW #129 (12/12/20). That was a collaboration with friends Steve Blake (fiddle) and Paul Brown (guitar). youtu.be/9GTpW6hKtWc
Joining me are friends Stephen Rapp on banjo (Kent, OH), Jeanie Creamer on guitar (Hocking Hills, OH), and Nick Weiland on bass (Logan, OH).
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