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Old Time Fiddlers of Callaway County - Keith Orchard

Posted by charlie.walden on Saturday, July 11, 2015

Classic home recordings (c.1960) by Fulton, Callaway County, Missouri, fiddler Russ Orchard accompanied by his brother Russell on guitar. Callaway County, while located in the center of the state, is the most Southern of Missouri counties and is the heart of Little Dixie. Heck, they even seceded from Missouri, albeit they had a change of heart when the governor sent the state militia to confront the fair-weather rebels. 

Callaway County can boast as the home of many great fiddlers such as our Mr. Orchard, Francis Stevens, Buck Cuno, Vee Latty and celebrated African-American fiddler Bill Katon of WOS fame. 

R. P. Christeson, who lived at Auxvasse, became well acquainted with Keith Orchard's fiddling and once remarked that Keith was among the few fiddlers left alive who knew Bill Katon and still played his tunes. Indeed, on this recording there are several pieces from that traditional including Fever in the South, Beef Steak and Walkin' with the Yellow Gal. 

The other strain heard in Keith's music comes from the playing of George Morris "The Fiddling Sheriff" and consists of those notey hornpipes lifted from the pages of Ryan's Mammoth Collection (later Cole's 1000 Fiddle Tunes). Garfield's, Liverpool, New York and College Hornpipe would be examples. 

Tracks 1 to 17 are from a home reel-to-reel recording made by Keith and address to Jemimah Perkins (Taylor McBaine's sister). The remaining tracks were obtained from Kenneth "Polly" Burre of Tebbetts. Sound quality is good to fair on all these -- recognizing the age of the tapes and how many generations our copy might have been from the original and you get an idea. 

Happy Listening.



1 comment on “Old Time Fiddlers of Callaway County - Keith Orchard”

bubbaschnell Says:
Saturday, July 11, 2015 @9:44:50 AM

That Walkin' with the Yellow Gal is amazing. Strains of Old Melinda, Old Joe and third part, all mixed together. That's one of the coolest things I've ever heard.

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