Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Old-Time Fiddlers in Missouri Part I

By Howard Wight Marshall

In February 2001, KOPN 89.5 FM radio in Columbia, Missouri, hosted a house concert featuring the legendary Moberly fiddler, Leroy Canaday.          

Mr. Canaday is a well-known old-time fiddler and contest champion, who won the Missouri state title at a contest held in Columbia's Missouri Theatre in 1961, and many contests subsequently.  Canaday's Voyager Records fiddle CD was being celebrated on this lovely evening in Missouri in 2001.  Called "Old Dan Tucker Was a Fine Old Man," the CD is available at  Mr. Canaday now lives in retirement in LaPorte, Texas, with his daughter and family.         

At the house concert in 2001, Mr. Canaday was accompanied by celebrated musicians and old friends Forrest Rose (bass) and Kenny Applebee (guitar), as well as Howard Marshall (banjo, and producer of Leroy's CD).  Dr. Sharon Graf, a fiddling anthropology professor from Springfield, Illinois, recorded the video and kindly allowed us to use it here (thanks, Sharon!); Graf produced most of the transcriptions of fiddle tunes published in the book, "Play Me Something Quick and Devilish."             

In this clip from the 2001 house concert at KOPN, Canaday plays a great old country rag called "Whistling Rufus," one of his his favorites, and a tune discussed in "Play Me Something Quick and Devilish." Canday's performance style well represents the hard-driving "Little Dixie style" of Missouri fiddling. 

"Whistling Rufus"
"Play Me Something Quick and Devilish": Old-Time Fiddlers in Missouri by Howard Wight Marshall is available the University of Missouri Press.