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Fiddle Blues

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Tim Connor:
On his very early sessions in 1925 and 1926, Lonnie Johnson played fiddle frequently, and it's as tasty as you would expect. Another guitar hero who also played fiddle occasionally is Big Bill Broonzy--he actually played fiddle long before he learned guitar. There's a nice version (two takes) of CC Rider on the JSP All The Classic Sides 1928-1937 box set. On the same CD Bill plays guitar on six cuts with a group called the State Street Boys (including Black Bob and Jazz Gillum), with a fiddler named Zeb Wright, who I haven't been able to find out anything about. Nice stuff though.

David Kaatz:

--- Quote from: Tim Connor on January 18, 2022, 08:22:03 PM ---There's a nice version (two takes) of CC Rider on the JSP All The Classic Sides 1928-1937 box set.

--- End quote ---
Here's CC Rider w/Broonzy

This recent book published in October 2021 contains new research and updated biographies of Sid Hemphill, Prince McCoy, Tom Dumas, Theodore Harris, Alonzo Chatmon, and Harry Chatmon--the last of whom was thought never to have recorded fiddle, but actually recorded on several sides previously attributed to Bo Carter, who did not actually play the fiddle.

Drawing on newly discovered interviews with the eldest sister of the Chatmon brothers, the chapter on the Mississippi Sheiks also includes new research on Charlie McCoy, Son Simms, and Charley Patton--who was not a blood relation of the Chatmons. In 1900, however, the Pattons, Chatmons, McCoys (the parents of Charlie and Joe McCoy), and Sloans (the parents of Patton's mentor Henry Sloan) all lived around Bolton, and the families are listed within a few pages in same enumeration district in the census.

The book focuses on old time music, but the chapters on African American fiddlers highlight how the segregation of sound prevented many of them from recording country music. Despite their diverse and wide-ranging repertoires, many African American fiddlers went unrecorded, or only recorded blues music.


That book is a treasure that helps put Mississippi's music roots in order while looking at the world that shaped it and all of the folks who played music. It is a sold resource. To help answer the questions regarding how and why what was recorded I can recommend this book, Segregating Sound.


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