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Going to meet my first "old-timer"

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Aug 16, 2019 - 5:22:43 AM
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53 posts since 11/24/2018

So I'll keep a long story short. I'm currently reading this amazing book "Play Me Something Quick and Devilish" about fiddle music in Missouri.... By a stroke of luck, I found out that this Missourian fiddler, Charlie Walden, had played at a nearby festival a few years ago (in New Brunswick, Canada). I looked him up and found out he has a website that features an interview that he gave way back when to Fiddler Magazine.

The final sentence really struck me : FM: Do you have any other comments?

I think I’d just like to tell people, especially who read Fiddler Magazine, who are aspiring to learn to play the fiddle, and who play now, is that you ought to get out and find your local source musician, your local old timer, and learn whatever they can show you, because we’re really at the end of an era, I think, in that a lot of styles of fiddling are just going to go completely by the board. If you’re sitting home learning off records and there’s a guy five miles away who’s been playing for fifty years, you better go learn some tunes from him. Because you’ll get much more enjoyment in years to come from playing the instrument, from playing the music you learned from someone in that way, I think, than you’ll ever get from something you learn off a record.

Anyway, immediately afterwards, I picked up the phone book and looked up an old-time fiddler that I know of in my area and called him up. I'm really looking forward to meeting him and picking up, even if its only the slightest tip, about fiddling!

Aug 16, 2019 - 5:57:04 AM

RobBob

USA

2637 posts since 6/26/2007

Sounds like me fifty years ago. Go for it!

Aug 16, 2019 - 8:31:39 AM

Old Scratch

Canada

419 posts since 6/22/2016

Atta boy! I wish more people would do the same, and not just in the field of fiddling.

Btw, I don't know where in NB you are, but you might be inspired by this site on fiddling in Gaspe - same kind of thing, one or two younger fiddlers got interested in a local tradition - i.e., some old-timers - and ran with it: http://gaspefiddle.blogspot.com/.  Same kind of fiddling as you get in much of NB - a lot of French and Irish mixed with a bit of everything else.

Aug 16, 2019 - 8:40:14 AM

Old Scratch

Canada

419 posts since 6/22/2016

Oh, yeah - when the time seems right, you might want to ask this old fella if he minds if you record him - if you are able to just leave the recording device running, that's the best way, because he'll likely forget about it after a bit, and you might get some great stuff. Be careful how you bring it up, though; you don't want to spook him. But if are able to record some stuff, it could be a great benefit to you - and others - in the future. I have field recordings that I've been listening to for years ... decades, really.

Good luck - and we expect a full report!

Aug 16, 2019 - 8:47:49 AM
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Old Scratch

Canada

419 posts since 6/22/2016

Some of the rest of you would probably like hearing some of the Gaspe tunes; they're here: http://gaspefiddle.blogspot.com/p/listen-to-all-tunes.html

Aug 17, 2019 - 4:19:08 AM
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53 posts since 11/24/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Old Scratch

Oh, yeah - when the time seems right, you might want to ask this old fella if he minds if you record him - if you are able to just leave the recording device running, that's the best way, because he'll likely forget about it after a bit, and you might get some great stuff. Be careful how you bring it up, though; you don't want to spook him. But if are able to record some stuff, it could be a great benefit to you - and others - in the future. I have field recordings that I've been listening to for years ... decades, really.

Good luck - and we expect a full report!


What interests me in this fellow, is that his repertoire still consists of many old local t archaic tunes composed before Don Messer literally changed canadian fiddling forever. He's not that old, he was just wise enough to seek out the old timers in his day before it was too late.

His approach to music, in my view, is quite Dwight Dilleresque, which I appreciate.

Anyway, for now, I got a copy of a tape that was recorded in the late 90's or early 2000's and made available locally with some very old tunes.

So i'll have to bring the tape back eventually. Even though i'm not a skilled musician, i'm happy to have met a likeminded individual!

Aug 17, 2019 - 9:22:09 AM

Old Scratch

Canada

419 posts since 6/22/2016

@Hoodoo You've got to figure out a way to make a copy of that tape for yourself - even if it means going to yard sales to find a ghetto-blaster with a copying feature - and a tape you can tape over. Or copying it onto your pc one way or another. You will hear more in it in twenty years than you do now.

Aug 17, 2019 - 10:42:26 AM
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53 posts since 11/24/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Old Scratch

@Hoodoo You've got to figure out a way to make a copy of that tape for yourself - even if it means going to yard sales to find a ghetto-blaster with a copying feature - and a tape you can tape over. Or copying it onto your pc one way or another. You will hear more in it in twenty years than you do now.


Oh I specifically ordered this walkman thing to upload it on my computer and burn it on a cd!

Aug 17, 2019 - 11:23:57 AM
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Old Scratch

Canada

419 posts since 6/22/2016

Good stuff! Maybe you can share some of it with the rest of us once you get that done .....

Aug 19, 2019 - 1:42:38 PM
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53 posts since 11/24/2018

The sound quality on the tape isn't so hot, but here he is playing on YouTube

youtu.be/CCNQgxMhiGE

Aug 19, 2019 - 2:05:04 PM
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7466 posts since 3/19/2009

Wonderful comment by Charlie. Yours Truly, ME, is one of those old guys..!! No, I'm not the best fiddler, but I'll sit with anyone and teach/play/jam/encourage..... I tried when I was learning, to track down old timers.. and I found four.. One only wanted to show me 'trick' fiddling.. One only wanted to play OT tunes on his piano, another would only play TWO tunes and no more, and would NOT jam..and still, the 4th, was so 'over the hill' due to bad health that he couldn't even play one tune.... I also lament that "trained' fiddlers (not that there is anything wrong with that) are changing the culture/sound of OT music by NOT sitting with various old timers... ..Not good or bad, just what is happening..

Aug 19, 2019 - 2:22:46 PM
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DougD

USA

9203 posts since 12/2/2007

Hoodoo - I really like how in the second half of that video he plays it again slowly and moves in closer so you can see his fingers (and the bow too). I wish there were more videos like that.

Aug 19, 2019 - 2:58:25 PM

53 posts since 11/24/2018

Yeah. And now i'm feeling inspired. There are some good chances that I drive down to the provincial archives to dig out some old recordings. I've been wanting to go for some time, but didn't know where to look. Now, I have some names that I can look up

Aug 19, 2019 - 3:18:42 PM

4204 posts since 9/26/2008

I really like that reel! How does the title translate to English? 

Unfortunately I don't really play in that style, so I'll probably play at it a bit then eventually it will likely morph into old time style. laugh 

Edited by - ChickenMan on 08/19/2019 15:20:39

Aug 19, 2019 - 3:44:31 PM

53 posts since 11/24/2018

It translates to Nazaire's Reel. In the video, he is asked where the tune come froms. He says that he doesn't know, other that it comes from Leech, New Brunswick, a small community in the northern, francophone part of the province.

I find it interesting that you mention style, because I thought that I was going to become an old-time guy myself, but when I began listening to the rare sources of this music, I can definitely hear our local french acadian accents in the music, as ridiculous or weird as that sounds.

By the way, in the fiddling world, i found out that old time in Canada doesn't mean the same as in the US. In Canada, it apparently refers to Don Messer style fiddling and associated acts. Personally, I prefer the US kind in this case.

The type music in the video has a specific, local name, but I can't recall what it is right now

Aug 19, 2019 - 4:19:25 PM

53 posts since 11/24/2018

Nazaire being an old-fashioned name that was more common way back when... In english, it would translate to Nazarius

Aug 19, 2019 - 4:50:35 PM
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DougD

USA

9203 posts since 12/2/2007

"Old Time" can have differenf meanings here too. It was used as a marketing term by the record companies in the 1920's to describe the rural "folk" music they were trying to sell, but it goes back before that to refer to something ftom times gone by, real or imagined. Nowadays its used by "Old Time Fiddlers Associations," especially in the West, to refer to what is really "Texas Contest" style fiddling, a relatively recent development.
I don't know if it has anything to do with this tune, but Saint-Nazaire is a port city on the west coast of France.
Hoodoo - Have you explored this website? Its a goldmine: collectionscanada.gc.ca/gramop...00-e.html

Edited by - DougD on 08/19/2019 16:56:10

Aug 19, 2019 - 5:07:36 PM

53 posts since 11/24/2018

I've heard of it, but I hate our governments websites. They are not exactly user friendly, so thanks for providing the direct link!

Aug 19, 2019 - 5:14:07 PM

DougD

USA

9203 posts since 12/2/2007

Well, IMHO that site is much better than anything available from our gummint down here, maybe because of differences in copyright law, but we do have some very good university websites.

Aug 19, 2019 - 5:41:51 PM
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Old Scratch

Canada

419 posts since 6/22/2016

@Hoodoo You know, I had a feeling that might be the guy you were going to see. I like his fiddling. I've never met the man, but he seems to have, um ... strong opinions ....

If you go here and scroll down to 'General Canadian', you'll find some sources for on-line recordings and info. re: NB fiddling.

In Canada, "Old Time", capitalized, refers to the Messer style; "old-time" or "old time", uncapitalized, can refer to whatever you want it to.

Aug 19, 2019 - 9:39:13 PM

1140 posts since 7/26/2015

Amen to that.
quote:
Originally posted by Hoodoo

So I'll keep a long story short. I'm currently reading this amazing book "Play Me Something Quick and Devilish" about fiddle music in Missouri.... By a stroke of luck, I found out that this Missourian fiddler, Charlie Walden, had played at a nearby festival a few years ago (in New Brunswick, Canada). I looked him up and found out he has a website that features an interview that he gave way back when to Fiddler Magazine.

The final sentence really struck me : FM: Do you have any other comments?

I think I’d just like to tell people, especially who read Fiddler Magazine, who are aspiring to learn to play the fiddle, and who play now, is that you ought to get out and find your local source musician, your local old timer, and learn whatever they can show you, because we’re really at the end of an era, I think, in that a lot of styles of fiddling are just going to go completely by the board. If you’re sitting home learning off records and there’s a guy five miles away who’s been playing for fifty years, you better go learn some tunes from him. Because you’ll get much more enjoyment in years to come from playing the instrument, from playing the music you learned from someone in that way, I think, than you’ll ever get from something you learn off a record.

Anyway, immediately afterwards, I picked up the phone book and looked up an old-time fiddler that I know of in my area and called him up. I'm really looking forward to meeting him and picking up, even if its only the slightest tip, about fiddling!

 


Aug 20, 2019 - 10:34:08 AM

332 posts since 8/10/2017

What makes somebody a "local oldtimer"? I ask because our weekly jam is full of many people in their 70s but I'm not sure any of them would consider themselves an oldtimer. I don't mean they might be offended at the insinuation of their age, but I think a lot of them would point you to others to look up to and would balk at anyone thinking that they should be looked up to (and they'd be wrong about that, of course.)

Aug 20, 2019 - 11:30:29 AM

DougD

USA

9203 posts since 12/2/2007

I think Charlie's point was in the previous clause "your local source musician," meaning someone who grew up in the local tradition and is carrying it on. Its still possible around here and in some other places, but I'm not sure it applies to most jam sessions, no matter how old the participants are. Do you know anybody who learned from Earl Collins or Ron Hughey? Or even Kenny Hall?
Playing tunes like "Tombigbee Waltz" suggests you might not have "local source musicians" in your jam, but I'm not sure how important a distinction that really is today.

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