Posted by frfiddle on Thursday, July 19, 2007
Marynell Young has been foraging around the library at Texas A & M recently in order to try to find more of the recordings made by Bill Owens, who recorded fiddlers like P T Bell with a homemade device that involved a cactus needle and metal discs. I have posted a few of her discoveries. alas, no more PT at TX A&M, maybe in Austin. It made me think again how sad it is that the early tradition of Texas old time fiddling has disappeared almost without a trace. The merits and demerits of Texas Contest Fiddling have often been noted. But the practical result of the hegemony of contest fiddling in Texas was that the older styles, more closely related to the fiddling of the rest of the south, simply disappeared. There is not a single living Texas fiddler who represents this rich tradition. Texas has a reputation as a conservative state, but not when it comes to holding on to its best traditions; when it comes to old time fiddle, its blue and not red and that makes me blue.
I am sorry but I have a very hard time getting excited about Bob Wills and Johnny Gimble, when I know what wonderful music they squeezed out. Thank goodness for Texans like John Lomax and Bill Owens who let us glimpse the world of Texas fiddling before jazz took over.
Thursday, July 19, 2007 @6:34:58 PM
Can you upload a P T Bell recording - or is everything copyrighted?
Thursday, July 19, 2007 @6:39:09 PM
Also - do the older Texas fiddlers I used to listen to like Vernon Solomon and Major Franklin play anything like the pre-Wills Texas traditional style you mention?
And, finally, was Eck Robertson's playing representative of that style or was he an "outlier".
He was - after all - really an Arkansan. (;-))