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FRED 'PIP' WHITING - Old-Time Hornpipes, Polkas And Jigs

FRED 'PIP' WHITING - Old-Time Hornpipes, Polkas And Jigs
Musical Traditions MTCD350

Fred Whiting was born in Kenton, near Debenham in Suffolk, in 1905 and, after the early death of his mother, went to live with his father in his grandmother's house, along with another cousin - also Fred Whiting and also the same age - this may be when the distinguishing nickname “Pip” arrived. Fred was one of that generation of English fiddle players who would have been ignored by previous generations of collectors. With regard to fiddler Stephen Baldwin in the 1950's, Peter Kennedy told me that nobody really took much notice of him - he wasn't regarded as a traditional musician as he was musically literate, so Kennedy's recordings were aimed at building up the BBC stock of spoken dialect recordings.

Fred not only read music, but he learned tunes that he liked from books. However, as a fiddler who started at an early age by learning from older musicians, this gives us the chance to see how a traditional musician imprints their personality onto non-orally received material (rather like Wiggy Smith singing Ring Of Gold - see another Musical Traditions record for

this) and this is like gold-dust. Fred was a fine fiddler and was much recorded. The selection here is excellent and results in as important an album of traditional English music as has ever been issued. Yet again, kudos to Musical Traditions for making it available.

Paul Burgess

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This album was reviewed in Issue 96 of The Living Tradition magazine.