Dale Potter—“Mr. Double Stop”
Dale Potter’s fiddling has always fascinated me. How on earth could a guy play entire fiddle tunes using all double stops (double notes and chords). Totally amazing. I was even more blown away to learn that Dale was from Southeast Missouri, Puxico in Stoddard County.
This photo is an autographed promo that I got from my Buddy Bob Leidigh in Ohio.
Wow! I received the following email from Lauren Sario in California who graciously sent this material for inclusion on this web site. Thanks very much!
Hi Charlie: Thank you for the information….I am happy that we found the right person to hand the Dale Potter items over to! I will send them to you via UPS tomorrow. The Dale Potter package belonged to Louis Mussi a late friend of my grandpa Bill Sario’s. Both men lived most of there lives as ranchers and shepherds in Reno Nevada . Louis loved fiddle music we were cleaning out his old barn when we found the Dale Potter record and letters. Good luck with all of your endeavors if we run across anymore fiddle things, I will be sure to send you an email! Best Regards, Lauren Sario
Dale Potter Stoneway Head Shot
Artist bio with Dale’s handwritten notes and corrections.
Dale Potter Bio Page 1
Dale Potter Bio Page 2
Dale’s records are out-of-print but if you run into one get it. If you want to hear Dale’s signature piece “Fiddle Patch” you can pick up Bobby Hick’s CD by the same title as he plays it almost note for note as Dale once did. Readily available from Elderly Instruments, Amazon, County Sales, etc.
Some cat is selling the old Rural Rhythm label stuff on cassette and has a couple of Dale Potter titles at www.ruralrhythm.com.
Get a copy of The All Stars: Jazz From the Hills which features Dale along with Homer and Jethro and Chet Atkins. You can get it at Amazon.
Emails about Dale I’ve Received in Response to this Web Page…
July 4, 2004
I just stumbled onto your website about Dale Potter. This is a great thing. Dale is the person who actually taught me how to hold a bow and a fiddle when I was a kid (I lived right down the road from Buddy Spicher, Dale’s foremost protege). Dale’s influence is all-pervasive, but many younger players don’t even realize his place in history. I don’t type very well;so, rather than my trying to explain who I am in this e-mail, please take a look at my website: www.JimWoodMusic.net . You’ll see that on my last recording, “Island Home,” I play “Fiddle Patch.” My version is actually a lot closer to Dale’s than Hicks’, but I also added a little touch here and there from “Fiddle Sticks Boogie.”
Changing the subject, I really like what you’re doing with the MSOFTA. Every aspect of your website is right on track, and I appreciate the importance of having such a resource for the health of a local fiddle scene. I want to start a similar organization very soon to serve the Middle Tennessee, Central Kentucky, and Northern Alabama areas (this actually represents the regional scene in this area better than having a Tennessee state organization). I plan on calling it the Southeastern Fiddle Association. In the near future I would love to pick your brain and borrow from you what I can.
Keep up the good work, and feel free to contact me at any time. I love to talk about fiddling. Also, send me your mailing address, and I’ll send you a copy of “Island Home” and my cd of old-time fiddle-banjo duets with John Hartford.
Peace, Jim Wood
From: Donna P.
In your bio on Dale Potter you mention that he was from Acorn MO. It is actually Acorn Ridge, MO. I was born in 1950 in Poplar Bluff MO and lived the first 13 years of my life at Acorn Ridge, MO.
Thanks for your note and questions. You are certainly free to use my email if you wish – I copied the photo and biography from your site and sent it to my mother who will enjoy it greatly. Uncle Dale’s last years were spent in Poplar Bluff and they grew even closer than might have been expected with an older sister and the baby of the family. I know that he gave her some of his albums which are on lps and if they are some you don’t have I’ll be glad to tape them and send them to you. I will also ask about photos as she may have some. His second wife, Peggy Potts Potter lives in Las Vegas but I’ve lost track of their grown children, Cheryl and Howard Dale. I think mom has Peggy’s address and they are still friendly so if you want I will try to get it and send it to you. I was just in Missouri the end of May and won’t go again for a few months, but will try to figure out a way to scan the label from the 78 rpm record and see if I can mail it to you. Also, mom has a cassette Dale gave her of an interview with Justin Tubb on his radio show – I think it may be the Ernest Tubb record shop show – but anyway, it has some good conversation and a bit of Orange Blossom Special which sounds pretty good and I’ll make
you a copy. A cousin of ours made several VHS tapes of vintage Opry broadcasts and Dale is shown on many songs although they really are of the then Opry stars. Still, I thought it was interesting, and I had forgotton what a good looking young man Dale was. No wonder Anita turned down Elvis for him. If you want, I’ll make copies of some but would like to know if you want the whole tape or just the parts Dale is in,and if the latter, I’ll edit it. Mom has a 2nd or 3rd generation copy so I can’t guarantee the clarity, but it is a lot of fun. I talk to mom daily and will mention the photos, etc. but honestly have found her memory is so poor I think I probably won’t have much success until I am with her in several months. Send me your mailing address and I’ll keep my eye open for things I think you’d enjoy. Thanks again for all the work you’ve done on a very detailed websites pertaining to someone much loved by our family and by me. John
Below is some miscellaneous information I gleaned off the internet concerning Dale.
Born: 04/28/1929 in Puxico, MO
fiddlers Tommy Jackson and Dale Potter became important Nashville session men.
Excerpt from: http://www.thanksforthemusic.com/history/fiddle.html
Double Stops are an essential feature of Western Swing fiddling, with the sixth note of the chord often highlighted. Dale Potter, who played fiddle with Hank Williams, is credited by many as the originator of double stopping and the instant creation of harmony fiddle lines. He also deliberately mimicked the riffs produced by the unusual tuning of the pedal steel.
Excerpt from: http://www.fiddlingaround.co.uk/westernswing/wswingframe.html
Country waltz time Stoneway STY 172 1978 197810 US
Hoe down. Vol. 1 Rural Rhythm RRDP 179 1967 US
Super fiddle Stoneway STY 175 1979 197910 US
Unique fiddle style of Dale Potter Stoneway STY 166 1977 197712 US
Excerpt from: http://www.ibiblio.org/hillwilliam/BGdiscography/lp/perfp.htm
Bill Monroe recorded Stoney Lonesome on 30th January 1959. It was one of his classic twin fiddle pieces, with Benny Martin and Dale Potter doing the honours. The mandolin and banjo play only the first part of the tune on their breaks. In the tab below I’ve kept close to Bill’s mandolin break for the first part and culled some licks from the fiddle lead (I think!) for the second part. (In the first part the three notes with 1/4 above them are to be choked by about 1/4 tone.) There is also an alternative second part which the fiddles launch into at one point in the recording: this involves a small modification to the chording.
Stoney Lonesome is a very bluesy tune, with a wild, primitive sound. There are echoes of the Scottish bagpipes, as in Monroe’s Scotland, another twin fiddle masterpiece recorded less than a year earlier. Monroe takes Stoney Lonesome at a fair pace, about 128 half-note beats per minute.
Excerpt from: http://www.btinternet.com/~john.baldry/mando/tabgif/stoney/stoney.html
Allen Dale Potter grew up as a child prodigy in Acorn MO. In the shadow of Puxico MO. He learned to play the mandolin while still a child. Later switching to the fiddle. He was able to play two and three part harmony clone, which was unheard of at that time. Chet Atkins was so “knocked out” by his playing that he recorded Dale on an album for RCA, along with Homer and Jethro., Bud Issacs and himself. The Album was called “The All-Stars”. Dales feature song was “Fiddle Patch” (This LP is still in print, on the Bear Family label, a re-issue) Dale lost a big part of his hearing while serving in Korea with the 79th Engineer Bn. He was well known in all companies, especially “B” and H & S. He continued to record for Stoneway records in Texas, during the 1970s and 80’s. During the search for veterans of the 79th I was sadden to learn that Dale had past away during the spring time of 1996. He was the best by far, at what he wanted to play. His particular talent was, and is still very rare.. Don
Excerpt from: hhc79e.tripod.com/memorial.html (link is dead)
Some of the most interesting innovations in country and bluegrass music have resulted from misunderstandings of one sort or another. Probably the best-known is the fabulous double-stop fiddle work of Dale Potter, who listened to Bob Wills on the radio as a youth and mistook the Texas Playboys’ twin fiddles for the work of a single musician–Potter developed an astonishing facility for self-harmonizing in an effort to emulate that sound.
Excerpt from: http://www.milesofmusic.com/momzine/mzblue2000.html
Dale Potter Discography
DALE POTTER SUPER FIDDLE Stoneway #175 STEREO. 197
Dale Potter 45 rpm record Stoneway No. 1158-A / 1158-B Maiden’s Prayer / Black Mountain Rag
Maiden’s Prayer Black Mountain Rag
Dale Potter 45 RPM – BI Records 5042 Bear Creek Jump / Orange Blossom Special
Bear Creek Jump Orange Blossom Special