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There must have been a LOT of fiddlers.

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Dec 5, 2018 - 5:50:15 AM
6769 posts since 3/19/2009

A friend and I are going to learn ''Scott's Return" as played by Bruce Greene...An article preceding the recording had in part, this comment. " “Down by the river,” an old veteran of the corps recalled, “was the regiment of Barksdale’s Mississippians. In one company of ninety men, ‘seventy-five were good fiddlers.’ We cultivated these fellows and they cultivated us. We had a dance three nights out of the week, and went courting two out of the other four.” Years after the war, fiddle contests were held at veterans’ reunions.
..... Seventy five good fiddlers out of ninety men? There must have been a LOT of fiddlers around those days.. What are your thoughts on this?

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 12/05/2018 05:51:50

Dec 5, 2018 - 7:16:26 AM

2340 posts since 10/6/2008

My thought is that I would love to fact check the story. It would make for some fascinating research, I suspect.

Dec 5, 2018 - 7:31:32 AM
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971 posts since 6/13/2011

My thoughts: "of ninety men, ‘seventy-five were good fiddlers.’ "
I wonder; were the remaining 15 men "bad" or "just so-so" fiddlers?
Maybe they were banjo players...
Personally, I think if I was one of the 15 who Didn't Play fiddle..it would be a hellish ordeal. 75 fiddlers all sawing away while I'm trying to clean my rifle, etc.
I think I would go AWOL.

Dec 5, 2018 - 8:46:44 AM
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6769 posts since 3/19/2009

I found that quote on the internet, so it must be true.

Dec 5, 2018 - 10:12:39 AM

6769 posts since 3/19/2009

But, seriously, when I moved to a small town in southern Indiana I found maybe 6 OLD OLD fiddlers still around..They told me about all of the the dancing that went on. Unfortunately, none of them could teach me a tune..although one was quick to show me how he could play behind his back while dancing...Another only wanted to have me hear him play a piano. Still another was so physically incapacitated that he couldn't play even one tune..and still another guy ( Oscar, "Dobby" Hawkins" ) only played Waggoner for me once..These guys would have been in their prime in the 20s - 40s...
The Civil War era must have had zillions of fiddlers ( I'm not exaggerating..wink).

Dec 5, 2018 - 11:41:58 AM

172 posts since 6/21/2007

Just my 2 cents. Most of the southern soldiers were dirt poor farmers, so I’m guessing that most of the fiddles were corn stalk fiddles or if they were lucky, gourd fiddles. Not Violins. Probably not as melodious as what you hear at re-enactment campsites.

Dec 5, 2018 - 12:06:48 PM

Old Scratch

Canada

274 posts since 6/22/2016

Anyone have a link to an audio recording of a "corn stalk fiddle"? All I get on youtube are numberless recordings of a song called Corn Stalk Fiddle and Shoestring Bow.

Dec 5, 2018 - 12:11:17 PM
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6769 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Old Scratch

Anyone have a link to an audio recording of a "corn stalk fiddle"? All I get on youtube are numberless recordings of a song called Corn Stalk Fiddle and Shoestring Bow.


Try this:  https://cigarboxnation.com/page/how-to-make-a-cornstalk-fiddle-from-1886

https://www.musick8.com/html/ideadisplay.php?ibid=885

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 12/05/2018 12:12:31

Dec 5, 2018 - 4:17 PM
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RobBob

USA

2571 posts since 6/26/2007

45 years ago while coon hunting with a fellow fiddler we got to naming the fiddlers we knew in the county in which we lived. We named 22. Don't think there are near that many anymore.

Dec 5, 2018 - 5:59:53 PM

Old Scratch

Canada

274 posts since 6/22/2016

Thanks, Lee! I'll check those out.

Dec 5, 2018 - 6:28:41 PM
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DougD

USA

8848 posts since 12/2/2007

Cyndy - Here's a starting point for your research project: oldtimeparty.wordpress.com/cat...e-greene/

Dec 6, 2018 - 3:10:50 AM

DougD

USA

8848 posts since 12/2/2007

Here's the next step in your research, Cyndy: onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/...confedvet
The quoted story begins on page 11 of the 1894 volume. A peculiar story in a somewhat peculiar publication.

Dec 6, 2018 - 4:38:30 AM
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6769 posts since 3/19/2009

Last night as I was going to sleep I first tried counting sheep..no luck.. THEN, I decided to try to count the fiddlers in my community..19...and only One besides me is on the Hangout..I hadn't realized that our little community of OT music was that large..

Dec 6, 2018 - 10:43:44 AM

22 posts since 3/16/2008

Does anyone know of any recordings of Oscar "Dobby" Hawkins mentioned in this thread? I couldn't find any YouTube videos by him.

Craig

Dec 6, 2018 - 11:19:50 AM

6769 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by MusicMan13760

Does anyone know of any recordings of Oscar "Dobby" Hawkins mentioned in this thread? I couldn't find any YouTube videos by him.

Craig


Dobby was Old when I met him in 1978.  A "good old boy" who  had a reputation for being just a little can cantankerous... He lived in Bartlettsville, Indiana  in a trailer that didn't have a front door...I gave him all of my scrap bones from my little meat market and he fed them to his pack of dogs... I liked him because his reminded me of my dad...I don't think there are any recordings of him but I could be wrong and usually am.  I bought two fiddles from him.....One Saturday afternoon when I visited him he suddenly jumped up and reached under his bed.. I was SURE that I'd said something to make him angry and he  was reaching for a gun..However, he pulled out an old vacuum tube radio and he tuned in the Grand Old Opry.. I'll never forget that...

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 12/06/2018 11:20:52

Dec 6, 2018 - 12:12:57 PM

bsed

USA

3905 posts since 6/23/2007

I'll learn Scott's Return (if I can find a recording) and we'll play it next year at Battle Ground.

That company should've been called the Barksdale's Fiddleippians, hey?

Dec 6, 2018 - 12:18:32 PM
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bsed

USA

3905 posts since 6/23/2007

Scott's Return played by Jim Taylor. < youtube.com/watch?v=-HSYwTqcJss >

Dec 6, 2018 - 12:29:20 PM

6769 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by bsed

I'll learn Scott's Return (if I can find a recording) and we'll play it next year at Battle Ground.

That company should've been called the Barksdale's Fiddleippians, hey?


Bruce, if you scroll down on this link you can hear Bruce Greene play it..":https://oldtimeparty.wordpress.com/category/bruce-greene/

Dec 6, 2018 - 12:43:02 PM

bsed

USA

3905 posts since 6/23/2007

Great (and thanks!)

Always good to have more than one 'source'. I'm listening to Jim Taylor right now.

Dec 6, 2018 - 2:10:04 PM

10174 posts since 9/23/2009

I wish I knew of fiddlers in my community...lol. Anyhow...I tend to imagine that back in the old times, remember...no CDs, no radio...don't get to see performers much unless the showboats floats up to your town, etc., in my imagination of those times and that kind of life...there would be many musicians in communities. We used to go to the Museum of Applalachia quite a bit before it got expensive...lol...it's very close to family...there's a bunch of old hand-made instruments on display there, that they found on old farms down there in E TN...they are crooked and weird all the way to perfect...made from lanything and everything you could imagine....ham can banjos, cigar box, gourds, old planks, tubs or metal pieces...I mean, just anything. This feeds my imagination that there were many musicians playing various instruments, both bowed and plucked. I can imagine the definition of "good" would be the only part arguable here...based on our own day and age, and how much refined and professional music we've gotten to hear, and how precisely made even cheapo instruments are. In our world, a "good" fiddler might be a lot different critter than in Civil War times.

Dec 6, 2018 - 2:13:37 PM
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6769 posts since 3/19/2009

Peggy, I've thought about that also... If you were a terrible fiddler by todays standards, and you were the ONLY fiddler available for a barn dance..You'd be the BEST fiddler ....It is probably all relative!!!

Dec 6, 2018 - 4:10:53 PM
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10174 posts since 9/23/2009

Seems like it...who did they have to compare ya to?

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