Saturday, February 15, 2014

Much can and has been said about the frenetic fiddle genius, Scotty Stoneman. I'm convinced that between what has been written and rumoured about Stoneman are some tightly wound strands of fact and fiction. Stories abound of his outrageous character, and if a great deal of us tend to believe these tales (did he really hate pianos so much that as an act of defiance he defecated in one?), perhaps it is because it would be a step towards explaining his outrageous playing.
I won't recount his entire story here, it has been told enough that a simple Google search will do that. A great deal of his current profile is that he was a member of one of Country Music's founding families, Jerry Garcia has called him "the Charlie Parker of the Bluegrass fiddlers", and he died young and tragically of a legendarily reckless lifestyle.
Of course, the main thing that keeps his name coming up over forty years after his death is his unique and virtuosic playing. Much has been said about his improvisatory approach, and his extended solos. What seems to be less often noted is his command of  advanced chord theory, so evident in his double stops. As far out as his playing gets, he never seems to be lost, rhythmically or melodically.
Although Scotty played on a great deal of classic Bluegrass recordings, he really only had one instrumental LP released in his lifetime, and it was on a dimestore label at that. A second LP of live recordings appeared after his death, and these have been the two releases that have carried his radical fiddling to the ears of successive generations.
"Mr. Country Fiddler" was recorded in 1967 at Unity Recording Studio in Washington, D.C. with Country Gentlemen alumni Bill Emerson on banjo, Charlie Waller on guitar, and Tom Gray on bass. It was released on Pickwick's super-budget Design imprint, and was probably recorded to be sold to Pickwick for some ready cash (Emeron and the Country Gentlemen both did the same for the label). As is the nature of recordings under such control, the tracks have been recycled on various collections through the years.
"1965 Live In L.A.!" was first issued on LP in 1978 from tapes of live shows he played with the Kentucky Colonels during his short stint with the band. These performances with the young White Brothers are probably the most spontaneous committed to tape during his lifetime, and despite some imperfections in the source tapes, are still sparklingly exiting to listen to today (as well as giving us a chance to hear his excellent vocals, which are a whole other topic in and of themselves). The version in this download is a hybrid of the LP and CD releases; it contains all selections included on both.

Scotty Stoneman
"Mr. Country Fiddler"


1. Wildwood Flower
2. Low Down Billy
3. Talkin' Fiddlin' Blues
4. Ole Joe Clark
5. Billy Low Ground
6. Orange Blossom Hoedown
7. 8th Of January
8. Fire In The Mountain
9. The Mocking Bird
10. The Cacklin' Hen

*download here*

Scotty Stoneman
"1965 Live In L.A.!"


1. Oklahoma Stomp
2. Once A Day.mp3
3. Eight Of January
4. Any Damn Thing
5. Lee Highway Blues
6. Down Yonder
7. Sally Goodin
8. Goodnight Irene (LP version)
9. A Wound Time Can't Erase
10. Shuckin' The Corn
11. Listen To The Mockingbird
12. Cherokee Waltz
13. Cacklin' Hen
14. Orange Blossom Special
15. Goodnight Irene (CD version)

*download here*


SingsLikeThurl said...

Fantastic post Lefty! I have a few records that contain some of these tracks, but this is a gold mine! Much appreciated.
Jack Ridout

Unknown said...

got this record on origial-lp, finally on mp3, scotty is kinda crazy, that's probably the reason, why he's the best (bluegrass fiddler). Lefty, many thanks from switzerland

edison61 said...

Thanks so much.....

Larry said...

Hey Lefty,
Thanks for all you do. GREAT blogs. One of the highlights of my life was seeing Jean Carrignan at the Smithsonian Folklife festival and you have a treasure trove of his greatest stuff on the Canadian fiddle blog. Scotty was amazing. I interviewed Jerry Garcia for a Cincinnati daily back in 1985 and we were talking bluegrass. Garcia said that, for him, Scotty was as psychedelic as Hendrix.

zero said...

thanks a lot for all the wonderful music on your blog. Would be nice if you could add our blog to your bloglist:

Thanks a lot and all the best!

sweetappalachia said...

Lefty, thank god Dan Henshall pointed me to your blog, it's killer! I heard a little about Scotty from both Jack Tottle and Dick Spottswood, who'd seen him when they were teenagers in DC. It seems he was nothing if not intense as a player and a person.

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