Traditional Fiddle Music of Missouri
This is my first album issued back in 1987 on cassette by Marimac and now available again on CD. A set of my favorite Missouri fiddle tunes is presented. Accompaniment is provided by Emily and Dennis Buckhannon on piano and guitar. They did a bang-up job on this recording. The original session was recorded by Barry Bergey at R. P. Christeson's house in Auxvasse, MO, in 1981. 'RP' was on hand to provide encouragement and advice on the best tempo for each tune. He wanted to make sure that the tunes were played at square dance speed and I believe we achieved this to both his and our own satisfaction. The recording appeared on the 1987 Library of Congress Select List of Folk Recordings. I hope you enjoy this reissue of classic 'Possum' fiddling. --- Charlie 'Possum' Walden REVIEW: County Sales Newsletter #299 May-June 2009 This music - 19 tunes worth of fine fiddling - was pretty much lost on a cassette-only release when it originally came out in 1981. We're glad to see it put out again, this on compact disc, by Mr. Walden himself. Walden is a long time student & preserver of mid-western fiddle music, having learned from such legends as R. P. Christeson, Bob Walters and Cyril Stinnett. But Mr. Walden is not just an archivist, he is a very good fiddle player, playing an impressive group of tunes in the sprightly style that is distinctly Missourian... Some of the really neat tunes here are Rosebud Hornpipe, Spotted Pony, Jeff City, Ned Kendall Hornpipe, Opera Reel, and Zack Wheat Piece. While almost all the numbers are obscure pieces, they certainly make for some fine listening for fiddle fans. There is solid and appropriate guitar and piano accompaniment by Dennis and Emily Buckhannon. For the waltz fan there are 5 such tunes here, like Mother's Waltz, Bill Powell's Waltz, and Casey's Old Time Waltz. $ 13.50. Www.countysales.com The tunes are from tradition as I learned them directly from some of the best players of the previous generation, including Cyril Stinnett, Bob Christeson and Virgil Smith. I was also able to reach back a generation further and bring some "lost" tunes back to life. Through reminiscences and archival recordings I was able to tap into the playing of some of the "ancients" of Missouri-Style fiddling: Bob Walters, Vee Latty, Bill Katon and George Morris. In memory of R. P. Christeson Copyright 2010 Charlie Walden Music Unauthorized duplication may limit future projects. Irish Cobbler (key of G). This tune in four parts is from the playing of Cyril Stinnett, the celebrated National Champion Fiddler from Oregon, Missouri. Long John (key of G). Another tune from Cyril Stinnett that appears in the OTFR. Mother's Waltz (Key of G). This waltz is apparently a composition of Vee Latty of Fulton, Missouri. In the late 1920s, Latty was a regular performer on radio station WOS, which broadcast from the Capitol in Jefferson City. He became well-known after winning the 1929 State Championship, which was broadcast live over WOS. Tune in C (key of C). I learned this tune from R. P. Christeson who collected it from Bob Walters, an extraordinary fiddler from Nebraska. Stars & Stripes Waltz (key of C). This waltz was once common in central Missouri, but is not often heard today. Ned Kendall's Hornpipe (key of F). The only fiddler I ever heard play this tune was George Morris, the "Fiddling Sheriff" and he called it Woodchuck. Morris played over KFRU in Columbia in the 1930s and 40s. Constitution Hornpipe (key of F). This tune was learned from Cyril Stinnett. Vee Latty's B-Flat Waltz. This waltz is thought to be an original composition of Vee Latty, which I learned from Virgil Smith. Rosebud Hornpipe (key of B-flat). This is another tune from Cyril Stinnett. It is typical of the genre of 19th Century "book tunes" in that it is full of arpeggios, running 16th notes and demands considerable string crossing to execute it properly. Casey's Old Time Waltz (key of C). R. P. Christeson taught me this tune. I had never heard another Missouri fiddler play and was not certain of the source. I have since found that this piece is widespread in the upper Midwest among the polka set (it's been recorded by the Six Fat Dutchmen among others) and is also played in Canada. Jesse's Quadrille (key of D). This is my own composition and is named for my daughter. Irish Reel (key of D). Another tune learned from Cyril Stinnett. Opera Reel (key of D). Yet another tune I learned from Cyril. Smith's Reel (key of D). This tune has enjoyed considerable popularity in Texas and Oklahoma. It appears in the OTFR and Cole's 1000. I learned this version from Cyril Stinnett. Bill Powell's Waltz (keys of D & A). This is a waltz in two parts and two keys, which has been popular in the Missouri Valley region. I learned this waltz from Cyril Stinnett. Carrollton County Breakdown (key of A). This is a Celtic tune which undoubtedly was imported from Canadian on some LP or other. The correct title is Carleton County Hornpipe. Spotted Pony (key of A). I learned this from Cyril Stinnett. The tune by the same title in OTFR is in B-flat and more closely resembles another tune Oklahoma Redbird. This Spotted Pony most likely originated in the Missouri Ozarks. Zack Wheat's Piece (key of D). This tune was played by R. P. Christen and I later learned it directly from the OTFR. I never heard anyone else play it so it would be safe to say all subsequent renditions of this tune must have their origin with this publication Johnny Don't Come Home Drunk (key of D). This is another Cyril Stinnett tune. Bill Katon's Hornpipe (key of G). This tune has been ascribed to Bill Caton, a black fiddler from Tebbetts in Mid-Missouri. He performed over radio station WOS in Jefferson City during the 1920s with his guitarist Ola Gathright. Some of the items referenced below may prove useful in your quest to become a Show-Me Style fiddler. BOOKS The Old-Time Fiddler's Repertory 245, Compiled and edited by R. P. Christeson, ISBN 978-0-8262-0439-4, 224 pages. Reissued by University of Missouri Press, 2010. The Old-Time Fiddler's Repertory Volume 2, Compiled and edited by R. P. Christeson, ISBN 978-0-8262-1907-7, 188 pages. Reissued by University of Missouri Press, 2010. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1050 Reels and Jigs (Hornpipes, Clogs, Walk-arounds, Essences, Strathspeys, Highland Flings and Contra Dances, with Figures), Mel Bay Publications. (previously published as Cole's 1000 Fiddle Tune, M. M. Cole Publishing, Chicago) RECORDINGS Missouri Fiddle Tunes (fast & slow for learning) Volumes 1 & 2. Go to www.cdbaby.com and search: Missouri Fiddle Tunes. The following sites maintain an excellent selection of recordings of Missouri fiddlers. Voyager Records - www.voyagerrecords.com County Sales - www.countysales.com Elderly Instruments - www.elderly.com Check www.missourifiddling.com for reviews and information on new recordings of Missouri fiddlers. For more of my recordings and books please visit www.charliewalden.com.