Old Fiddler Quotes


On Fiddling Techniques and Styles…

That’s just belly-rubbin’ music  — Taylor

Don’t be puttin’ no blue note in a hoedown. — Preston on flatted 3rds

Don’t be pattin’ your finger like that. — Taylor on triplets

Dan Duffee passed on your quotes and they had me going. To add to them, I remember being around Bob Holt and when Charlie Walden started hot dogging, he ‘d say something like “Charlie’s playing that trash again”. I can’t say that’s the exact quote (so Dan wouldn’t have me putting quotes around it) but Bob would crack me up by referring to that as trash… — Barb Kuhns.

That Texas sh*t almost ruined Charlie Walden — Virgil Smith

That Canadian sh*t almost ruined Charlie Walden — Virgil Smith

That Irish sh*t almost ruined Charlie Walden –Virgil Smith

We played all kinds of tunes, square dance, round dance, popular and semi-popular. — Pete McMahan

On Accompaniments to Fiddling…

Well, that’s a Mel Bay chord. — Jim Gilmore on closed chords

‘Course, there ain’t no minors on the bass. — J. A. Gilmore

On Book Learnin’ and Note Readin’…

Actually Russell Orchard asked me once if I had taken lessons once. I responded by saying “I give lessons.” I was never sure if that was better or worse. — JGS

That Dennis Schubert plays a pretty good guitar, but, did you know he took lessons.” said as if it were cheating.

“Well, you can tell he took lessons.” Russell Orchard dissing Dennis Schubert

That Hayden is good stuff… Jim Gilmore on the classics

“You play by NOTE don’cha boy” (meaning I could read), Unknown

Dont ever let ’em know you can read, boy. –J Gilmore

High Praise…

There’s very few white men and no n—— that can play it that way.” PM

That Charlie Walden can’t keep his G-string tuned. Virgil Smith explaining CW’s disappointing 3rd place finish at Boonville in the late 70s.

I don’t mean to be a smart a–, and, I ain’t telling you anything you don’t already know, but…. — Keith Orchard

I don’t mean to be a smart a– son, but you don’t have that low part of Leather Britches quite right, son. — Pete McMahan

“… a good old Indian.” Pete McMahan on Ace Sewell of Oklahoma

Conversation between Ace Sewell and Pete McMahan:

Ace: “In this day and age, a tune’s got to come out even.”
Pete: “Well, you guys play it so slow you can’t dance to it.”
Ace: “I’m not here to dance. I’m here to fiddle.”

No one likes a smart a– fiddler — Jack Deck

I was proud of that old n—–. He played better than any of us white fiddlers. — Russ Orchard on Bill Katon.

‘course, he played n—– music. — Jimmy Gilmore on Bill Katon.

Well, he was a n—–. PM on Bill Katon

That Doc Weinninger knows over 300 tunes and can’t play a one of them. –Keith Orchard.

I thought George was a fiddler. — Taylor McBaine after hearing George Portz

If I couldn’t play it any better than that, I just wouldn’t. — Pete McMahan

On Fiddle Contests…

“Now when a man starts playing Sally Goodin in the middle of Grey Eagle, that’s where I draw the line.” — Virgil

Now, if you are going to have a butt shaking contest, you ought to call it a butt shaking contest. — Pete McMahan on teenage-girl-fiddlers. Also attributable to Virgil Smith.

That Pete MacMahan thinks he should win the contest just for showing up.., Jimmy Gilmore?

I ain’t scared of no hornpipe fiddler. Taylor on Cyril

Don’t be playing over the judge’s heads. — Pete McMahan on Bb hornpipes

Don’t wanna go to a fiddle contest dressed like a bum. — Taylor McBaine

“I ain’t paying Forrest. He was just on the road, you see.” — Taylor after winning the Tebbetts fiddle contest while dividing up the spoils.

“That Leroy Canaday played Redwing as his tune of choice. That’s no tune, that’s a goddamn song! That’s where I draw the line.” — Virgil Smith

Gilmore on stage at the Tebbetts fiddle contest, looks at the judges and starts tuning his fiddle — “You don’t mind if I tune do you? I like to play in tune.”

Mike Wells — “I know this contest was rigged if Bob Hagan placed ahead of me.”

McMahan — “Rusty, that was awful.”

“Two of the judges are Masons.” Taylor whispered to me before a contest in Keytesville as he flashed his Masonic ring.

Trophies are the dust-catchinest things you ever saw — Henry “Hank” Thompson

Misc BS and General Advice…

Gotta go roll up my windows — J. A. Gilmore, returning from the parking lot with whiskey breath

Everything always happens in groups of threes… –Taylor

Variant to the above: “Everything in the Civil War happened in threes…” –Taylor

Don’t let Henry Thompson around your bows –?

I used to be able to play that. Cyril on Jack Danielson’s Reel

How about Pete, in describing a near miss car accident said, “You couldn’t a pounded a flax seed up my a– with a post maul.”

Used to be Pete didn’t think he could play the fiddle unless he was so drunk he couldn’t stand-up or sit-down.

A man has got to draw the line somewhere. Virgil?

Now that’s where I draw the line. Preston.

Whoa, I don’t go that route! — McMahan as a women tried to hug him after he played.

The women folk are in the kitchen. — Preston to a ‘girl’ guitar player.

“If everyone keeps taking so many breaks, somethin’s gonna get broke” — Taylor

If your going to choke there Johnny, play that Grey Eagle first. — Jake H. This was said to Murdock as he choked on some chaw.

I used to be able to play it. I don’t know. That’s what happens when you get old. Some things get stiff and others go limp.” — Jake Hockemeyer when asked to play Woodchopper’s

You ought to use a thumb pick. — Taylor to John Stewart —

“Pills and booze ruined that <INSERT NAME OF FAMOUS FIDDLER HERE>.” — Virgil Smith

Gilmore — “Looks like a stray bull got in the pen.”

Taylor — “I cut my teeth on a fiddle.”

“He went off like a ruptured duck.” — Taylor

Jake — “It wasn’t much of a dance if at least two or three fights didn’t break out.”

“I was the biggest drunk in Boone County.” — PM

Keith Orchard — “Vee Latty used to sneak over to Bill Katon’s house at night.”

I’ve forgotten more tunes than I ever knew. — Anon.

“There’s no shame in being poor, just sometimes it’s mighty inconvenient.” — Pete McMahan

A man ought to be tall enough to keep his butt up out of the snow. — George Morris the Fiddlin’ Sheriff.

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