What Is Old Time Music?

By Mark Humphrey

Labels are necessary components of the ideas and experiences we fit into our lives. With labels, we differentiate. Where would marketing be without them? Some labels have the ability to be simultaneously pleasing and/or pejorative, depending on one's point of view. Such a label is ‘old time music.’ We may interpret it to denote (A) hopelessly outdated music or (B) deeply authentic music. Could it be both, music rooted in pre-video (even pre-radio) rural America and thus heroically anachronistic?

Old time music may suggest sounds rooted in pre-mass media Americana, but it is no less a marketing label than is ‘urban’ (contemporary black music) or ‘young country’ (post-Garth Nashville pop). It's just an older sales hook. This one can be traced to 1923, when Georgia’s Fiddlin’ John Carson waxed The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane and The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster's Going to Crow for the OKeh label. Legendary A&R [Artist and Repertoire]-man Ralph Peer deemed Carson’s performance “pluperfect awful,” but enough rural Americans disagreed to make the record a hit, the first in the history of what’s now called country music. (Ever the pragmatist, Carson remarked at his first whiff of success: “I’ll have to quit making moonshine and start making records.”) Carson’s paean to barnyard fertility rites and bucolic cabins initially appeared in OKeh’s popular music catalog, where it kept uneasy company with slicker stuff. Where to put such downhome keening and sawing? The company which had three years prior pioneered ‘race’ recording with Mamie Smith’s Crazy Blues opted for ‘old time music’ as a descriptive moniker for records by artists of Carson’s ilk, and OKeh’s label has prevailed. Tony Russell, a leading authority on old time music (he once edited a magazine named Old Time Music), reports that several other record companies took up the ‘old time tunes’ tag in their record catalogs, or variants such as ‘Old Familiar Tunes.’78s of this music were often labeled ‘old time singing and playing.’ As a generic description, ‘old time music’ in those exact  words  may not  have become common till the folk revival decades later, though John McGhee recorded Bring Back the Old Time Music in 1928.

Read more: WHAT IS OLD TIME MUSIC?

BANDS

Triple Chicken Foot

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  - fiddle/mandolin

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Sausage Grinder

Jorsh "Big Boy Baby" Orkin - winds

David Bragger - fiddle and mandolin

Margie Royall - singing and washboard

Christopher Berry - singing and guitar

Bobby Reed - singing and banjo

Matthew Orkin - mandolin

myspace.com/sausagegrinder

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Body Snatchers

Frank Hoppe

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Screaming Earwigs:

Tom Sauber – fiddle

Patrick Sauber – guitar

Mike Sauber – bass

Steve Lewis – banjo

Tom Sauber 626-484-5737  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Turtle Creek:

Daniel Slosberg - fiddle

Steve Lewis – banjo

Gaili Schoen – piano

Steve Lewis 661-255-2149  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or Daniel Slosberg 310-880-5828  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

The Brown Bag Band:

Ben Guzman – fiddle

Kelly Martin – guitar

Mike Heinle – bass

Steve Lewis - banjo

Steve Lewis 661-255-2149  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Southern Exposure:

Joe Wack - fiddle

Laura Osborn – guitar

Steve Lewis - banjo

Steve Lewis 661-255-2149  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Lone Hill Ramblers:

Paul Jarrell - fiddle

Joe Wack - guitar

Steve Lewis - banjo

Steve Lewis 661-255-2149  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Ragged Edge:

Steve Shapiro - fiddle, banjo and mandolin

Emil Olguin - mandolin

Mike Gurzi - guitar

Natan Olguin - bass

Steve Shapiro 818-785-3839 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SQUARE DANCE CALLERS

Susan Michaels - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cory Marie - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

DANCES

Square Dance

Old Time is a Good Time

 

Contradance

California Dance Cooperative

 626-205-2044

 

Culver City English Country Dances

www.geocities.com/sbecd/schedule/dancecalendar.html

 

Wednesday ECD in Santa Barbara

www.sbcds.org/ecd/schedule/

DVD/Video

Legends of Old Time Music - Features performances by Pete Steele, Tommy Jarrell, The Walker Family, Jean & Edna Ritchie, Sam McGee, Doc Watson, and more. VEST-DVD13026

Sprout Wings and Fly – Tommy Jarrell, FlowerFilms 1111

Alan Lomax's American Patchwork- Appalachian Journey:From the Original Ballad of Tom Dooley to the Origins of Bluegrass,VEST-V13079

Melvin Wine: Old Time Music Maker by Robert S.Boles

Shady Grove - Old time music from N.Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky featuring Kilby Snow, rare footage of Dock Boggs and more, VEST-DVD13071

Traditional Music Classics - Doc Watson, Kilby Snow, Roscoe Holcomb, and Buell Kazee, YAZ-DVD516

Elizabeth Cotton: In Concert 1969, 1978, & 1980- VEST-DVD13019

Legends of Traditional Fingerstyle Guitar - MerleTravis, Elizabeth Cotten, Mance Lipscomb, Brownie McGhee, Doc & Merle Watson, Rev. Gary Davis, and more,VEST-DVD13004

Legends of Country Blues Guitar, Vol. 1, 2, & 3 -Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Reverend Gary Davis, Big Bill Broonzy,, Mance Lipscomb, and more, VEST-DVD13003, VEST-DVD13016, VEST-DVD13037

Shades of Clyde – Clyde Davenport, Cedar Glade007

 

FESTIVALS

Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival

 

Third Sunday in  May 17th

818-382-4819  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

P.O. Box 571955

Tarzana, CA 91357

 

Los Angeles Old-Time Social

Thursday, Friday and Saturday prior to Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest

 

 

Goleta Old-Time Fiddlers' Convention and Festival

fiddlersconvention.org/

At Stow House

304 N. Los Carneros Road

Goleta, California

 

Gary Jenson, Rotary Club Of SantaBarbara Sunrise

(805) 969-4974

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Hilda E. Wenner, Co-Coordinator

(805) 966-1191

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

INSTRUMENT SHOPS

McCabe's Guitar Shop

3101 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Business Hours:

Monday to Thursday 10 AM-10 PM

Friday and Saturday 10 AM-6 PM

Sunday NOON-5 PM

310-828-4497   Fax: 310-453-4962    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

World of Strings www.worldofstrings.net/

1738 E. 7th Street, Long Beach, CA 90813

Monday – Friday 9:30am - 6:00pm

Saturday 9:30am - 5:30pm

Closed Sundays

562-599-3913   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Folk Music Center www.folkmusiccenter.com/

220 Yale Avenue, Claremont CA 91711

909-624-2928

 

Morey's Music

4834 Woodruff Avenue, Lakewood, CA 90713

562-420-9532

 

Norm's Rare Guitars www.normansrareguitars.com

18969 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, California 91356

818-344-8300

 

Time Warp Music

Venice Blvd., Mar Vista, CA 90713

562.420.9532

 

Cremona Violin Shop

3213 Midvale Ave., West L.A.

by appointment at (310) 475-5897

www.laweekly.com/2006-10-05/news/best-fiddler-s-friend/

Mr. Kyozo Watanabe, proprietor of this home-based shop,has saved my musical butt countless times. He works not only on violins but onother instruments in the string family. He does all my bow rehairs andfunctions as my Center For Emergency String Procurement. Definitely call aheadto let him know you're coming.

 

Buffalo Brothers

www.buffalobrosguitars.com/

4901 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Phone:760-434-4567

Store hours:

Monday thru Friday, 9am-6pm.

Saturday, 10am- 5pm.

Sunday, 12noon- 4pm

 

Directions:

From I-5:

Take the Cannon Road Exit heading East, as if you were going to Legoland.

Go about 2.5miles to El Camino Real and turn left heading North.

Go about 1/2mile and we're on the left hand side of the road.

Look for the Chicken on the roof!

There's a nursery next door as well.

 

INSTRUMENT REPAIR

McCabe's Guitar Shop

3101 Pico Blvd

Santa Monica, CA 90405

Business Hours:

Monday to Thursday 10AM - 10PM

Friday and Saturday 10AM - 6PM

Sunday NOON- 5PM

Phone:  310 - 828-4497 Fax: 310-453-4962

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

World of Strings

www.worldofstrings.net/

1738 E. 7th Street, Long Beach, CA 90813

(562) 599-3913

Monday - Friday 9:30 - 6:00

Saturday 9:30 - 5:30

Closed Sundays

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Folk Music Center

www.folkmusiccenter.com/

220 Yale Avenue, Claremont CA 91711

909-624-2928

 

Boulevard Music, Culver City

 

LESSONS

Tom Sauber

Fiddle, Banjo, Guitar

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

626-574-0292

 

David Bragger

Fiddle, banjo and mandolin in the old-time, pre-warstyle.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

818-324-6123

 

Cymra Haskell

Fiddle, Banjo, Guitar

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Steve Parker

old-time mandolin and clawhammer banjo lessons in theSan Fernando Valley at my house.

All levels welcome.

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Clifford Latimer

Mandolin, old-time

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McCabe's Guitar Shop

Zac Sokolow *

Specifically frailing and clawhammer style

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310- 678-6434

 

Bob Applebaum

Mandolin

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310-399-3917

 

Fred Sokolow *

All styles

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310-838-4215

 

Laura Kass *

Classical violin and Appalachian fiddle, includingWestern swing and other improv styles

(310)-268-6650

 

* Available Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays

 

 

 

READING MATERIAL

Old-TimeHerald - www.oldtimeherald.org

Fiddler'sMagazine - www.fiddle.com

ARSC Journal- www.arsc-audio.org/journal.html

Play of a Fiddle: Traditional Music, Dance, &Folklore of West Virginia – Gerry Milnes

Fiddling Way Out Yonder: The Life and Music of MelvinWine – Drew Beisswenger

Ring the Banjar! – Robert Lloyd Webb

Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women – Ricky Jay

African Banjo Echoes in Appalachia – CeceliaConway

The Devil’s Box – Charles Wolfe

Old-Time String Band Songbook – Cohen/Seeger/Wood

Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes – Jeff Todd Titon

The Fiddle Book – Marion Thede

The Art of the Mountain Banjo – Art Rosenbaum

Minstrel Banjo: Briggs’ Banjo Instructor – JosephWeidlich

The Old-Time Fiddler’s Repertory Volume 2 – R.P.Christeson

The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 16 – Robert Crumb

Strings of Life: Conversations with Old TimeMusicians - Kevin Donleavy

Long Steel Rail – Norm Cohen

Ragtime forFiddle & Mandolin &150 Hot Tunes for Fiddle& Mandolin--Steve Parker

WEB LINKS

www.youtube.com

www.ragtime-resource.com

www.sugarinthegourd.com

 

When I want to see a tune, I go here:

JC's ABC Tune Finder --trillian.mit.edu/~jc/cgi/abc/tunefind

 

When I want to learn about a tune, I go here:

Fiddler'sCompanion -- www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/index.html

 

When I want to hear a tune (or snippet thereof) andiTunes fails me, I go here:

Amazon Song/Tune Search --tinyurl.com/54wx9m

 

When I want to find French Canadian music, I go here:

Trente Sous Zéro - Thirty Below-- www.trentesouszero.com/

 

Traditional Music & Living History (& PierreCruzatte)

www.cruzatte.com

 

For us mandolin geeks www.mandolincafe.com is thebest web resource around.  All styles.

 

The Old-Time Music Home Page - www.oldtimemusic.com/

Roots of American Fiddle Music - www.1001tunes.com/

Mike Seeger's Website -mikeseeger.info/index.html

Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier: The Henry ReedCollection

memory.loc.gov/ammem/hrhtml/hrhome.html

Old Time Kentucky Fiddler Clyde Davenport

www.stg.brown.edu/projects/davenport/CLYDE_DAVENPORT.html

Old-Time Herald - www.oldtimeherald.org/

Digital Library of Appalachia -www.aca-dla.org/index.html

County Sales - www.countysales.com/

Elderly Instruments - www.elderly.com/

Folk Music Index, useful index for traditional fiddletunes - www.ibiblio.org/folkindex/

WeenieCampbell.com, devoted to old-time country blues

weeniecampbell.com/mambo/

Bubba Guitar- www.bubbaguitar.com

Yazoo Records - www.yazoorecords.com/index.htm

Document Records - www.document-records.com/

North American Tradition Series - www.rounder.com/series/nat/

Sugar in the Gourd - internet streaming old-time music,www.sugarinthegourd.com/

Field Recorders' Collective, www.traditional-music.com/index.html

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