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Interview summary

Fiddlers rarely traveled out of a fifteen mile radius from their homes to perform

Big Springs, riding mule through the high plains, picked up an older Black man named Gaden Dowell

[Referring to Gaden Dowell one of the few Black fiddlers in the area] “And I can remember him. He had a base fiddle, and it was the only one in this part of the county. And he was bow-legged. He couldn't head a hog to save his life. I remember him standing behind his fiddle and you could see daylight by his knees on both sides of it. He played with a bow and if they wanted to have a good dance, they would ride over there and get Gaden and his base fiddle. They'd take a horse or a mule for him to ride back. They would bring him in to play. That would be ten miles.”

Music was pretty restricted at the time until radios became more common in American households

Heard music at the Grand Old Opry, which had a variation of styles, and artists from different regions, including Texas, Missouri, Appalachia, Virginia

The music all melted together, was perfection to him

People have lost the art of long bow fiddling, which has been replaced by fiddle contest

General statements about old fiddlers

Says that fiddling is very intuitive, fiddle judges cannot feel the rhythm

Explains that certain fiddles have something called “the touch”

Bill has the touch, Jodi's uncle was also a good fiddle player

J.D. Hicks, cannot read music, but has the touch.

Says that Pen probably had the touch, Mose Rager had the touch.

Tex Atchison (close friend of Jodie), Tex was with the Prairie Ramblers, had the touch

Birch (??) had an old-time quality to his music

Describes the old-time style as “nothing fancy,” Arkansas traveler style

Explains that old time fiddles played about every third note, which invigorated the crowd

Stories about Tex Atchison—good sense of humor, moved to Chicago.

Describes prominence of Bob Wills in the country music scene of the time

Says that Wills was not the most talent musician in bluegrass, but he had deep connections, including Pee Wee King

Story about an encounter between Tex Atchison and Bob Wills in Dallas

Tex was from McHenry, Ohio County, played with Jodie at one time

Sleepy Marlin lives in Clarksville, Indiana, Sleepy was playing at a radio station in Chicago at the same time that Tex was living there

Later Bill and Charlie Monroe came to Chicago and got a job at a radio station

Tex worked at the same radio station where Ronald Reagan was the announcer for the Chicago Cubs (WHO Radio in Des Moines)

Sleepy had nine kids, seven of whom became professional musicians

Jodie Reunited Sleepy and Tex, and they played together

Tex was left-handed, Jodie recalls when he played with him, they would dance the Virginia Reel

Candy pulling, lot of music around

Gaden influenced Jodie, stuck to base music

Piano was a chording instrument and the base added to the band

The popularity of playing older tunes influenced the vast majority of bluegrass artists

No Blacks in area other than one or two families

Says that Blues music is a very broad genre