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Roots of American Fiddle Music - Early Fiddlers

EARLY FIDDLERS INDEX

Blue Ridge Highballers
Bogtrotters
Burnett & Rutherford
Charlie Bowman
Charlie Poole & the North Carolina Ramblers

Da Costa Woltz's Southern Broadcasters

Doc Roberts

Dr. Humphrey Bate & His Possum Hunters

Earl Johnson & His Dixie Clodhoppers

Fiddlin' Powers

Frank Blevins and His Tarheel Rattlers

Grinnel Giggers

Leake County Revelers
FIDDLER MAP
Seven Foot Dilly & His Dill Pickles
Skillet Lickers
Stripling Brothers
Uncle Dave Macon

The Bogtrotters
From Ballard Branch, Virginia came a talented group of musicians that became known as the Bogtrotters. Davey Crockett Ward and his neighbour Alec Dunford were the fiddlers, Fields Ward, Crockett's son, played the guitar and did most of the singing, and Crockett's brother Wade Ward usually was the  banjo player.  Wade usually played a three finger style to complement the singing in the band but he was to become one of the greatest clawhammer players, and his renditions of  many classics are still cherished.  The Ward's family doctor, Dr.W. P. Davis, who had suggested the band name in reference to being "bogged-down" in the mud on the rough road to the Wards, also occasionally played the autoharp but served mainly as their manager.

The amiable and eccentric Uncle Eck Dunford, as he was known, fiddled in a slow, deliberate sophisticated style that contrasted with the more vigorous mountain breakdown pace of Crockett Ward. After the many years of playing together however, they achieved a wonderful balance and complemented each other remarkably well.  Both men were important influences on the younger Fields Ward, and he heeded  their advice well, such as never singing faster than you can talk and enunciating each word carefully.

The Library of Congress preserved close to 200 recordings of these men.  Crockett played in an earlier band known as Crockett Ward and His Boys, and Eck fiddled and sang on many of the Blue Ridge Cornshuckers' recordings. 
 

The following is in part from Jane Keefer's Folk Song Database.

The Bogtrotters (Bog Trotters)
   Appearance as principal performer

  1. Ain't That Trouble In Mind
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biograph RC 6003 (196?), cut # 4 
  2. Barney McCoy
    • Folk Music in America, Vol. 6, Songs of Migration & Immigration, Library of Congress LBC-06 (1978), cut # 10 
  3. California Cotillion
    • Folk Music in America, Vol. 5, Dance Music, Ragtime, Jazz, ..., Library of Congress LBC-05 (), cut # 5 
  4. Cluck Old Hen
    • Roscoe Holcomb and Wade Ward, Folkways FA 2363 (1962), cut # 25 
  5. Cold Icy Floor
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biograph RC 6003 (196?), cut # 2 
  6. Days Of Forty Nine
    • Folk Music in America, Vol. 3, Dance Music, Breakdowns & Waltzes, Library of Congress LBC-03 (), cut # 7 
  7. Deadheads and Suckers
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biograph RC 6003 (196?), cut # 13 
  8. Fortune
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biograph RC 6003 (196?), cut # 12 
  9. Jesse James
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biograph RC 6003 (196?), cut # 1 
  10. John Henry (the Steel Driving Man)
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biograph RC 6003 (196?), cut #9 
  11. Make Me (Down) a Pallet on the Floor
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biograph RC 6003 (196?), cut # 3 
  12. Miss McCleod's Reel
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biograph RC 6003 (196?), cut # 10 
  13. Old Jimmy Sutton
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biographph RC 6003 (196?), cut # 5 
  14. Piney Woods Girl
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biograph RC 6003 (196?), cut # 14 
  15. Shoo Fly
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biograph RC 6003 (196?), cut # 6 
  16. Sugar Hill
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biograph RC 6003 (196?), cut # 7 
  17. Waterbound
    • Roscoe Holcomb and Wade Ward, Folkways FA 2363 (1962), cut # 26 
  18. Western Country
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biograph RC 6003 (196?), cut # 11 
  19. Who Broke the Lock (on the Henhouse Door)
    • Original Bogtrotters, Biograph RC 6003 (196?), cut # 8 
   Side Performer Appearance 
Ward, Wade / Uncle Wade. A Memorial to Wade Ward, Old Time Virginia Banjo, Folkways FA 2380