Link to Living Tradition Homepage





VARIOUS ARTISTS - Oh, Listen Today: The Roots Of American Oid-Timey Fiddle Music 

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Oh, Listen Today: The Roots Of American Oid-Timey Fiddle Music 
Musical Traditions MTCD517 

The combination of Mike Yates as album compiler and Rod Stradling as producer has proved to be very successful in the past, and this time they have come up with another release that is sure to promote much interest.

The preparatory work by Mike is as meticulous as ever. In his fascinating introductory essay, he writes: “We are lucky today because, thanks to Tho­mas Edison, we are able to listen to fiddle music performed by people who were born in the mid to late 19th century. Some of these performers only left us one or two recordings, but others left much more and if we look at their respective repertoires, we are able to gain a wider understanding of what was actually being played in parts of rural America during this period.” Most of the recordings come from the years around 1930.

Each of the 30 tracks is carefully noted to its European, mainly British, origins and there are notes on tunes and performer as well as four pages of photos in the 32-page booklet. Some are immediately obviously related to tunes like Miss McLeod's, The De'il Amang The Tailors etc. Others seem to have moved some distance away, but are still recognisable.

The fiddles on each track have different things to recommend them and nearly all are accompanied - mostly by percussive and/or chordal backing, and a few include a vocal chorus. At the first listening, some of the chords on piano or guitar seem to jar as they feel wrong, but on subsequent listening the ear seems to focus on what the fiddle is doing.

Vic Smith


This review appeared in Issue 133 of The Living Tradition magazine