Thursday, November 13, 2008
From 1962 comes the great Fiddlin' Arthur Smith (1898-1971) on Starday SLP 202. Here are the original liner notes in full...
Whenever country music fans talk about fiddlers, the name of Fiddlin' Arthur Smith is mentioned as one of the all time greats. His Career over a period of 30 years in the country music entertainment field has brought him recognition as "The King of the Fiddle". His many hit recordings helped to make country music history, and although he has been retired for several years, he consented to make this album.
The dexterity and technique of this fine artist, recorded in new high fidelity sound, will bring joy to the vast number of people who appreciate the fine art of country fiddlin'. This album contains a memorable collection of melodic fiddle tunes that Fiddlin' Arthur Smith gathered together during his long and colorful career. Although Arthur is a great hoedown fiddler, we felt that his talents could be better expressed by playing the rare old fiddle tunes that have a strong melody line and that have the country and mountain flavor. Of course, no Arthur Smith album would be complete without the immortal ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL and this Arthur Smith specialty is included along with his very unique arrangements on LOUISE, INDIAN CREEK, WHISTLER's FEVER, K. C. STOMP, DICKSON COUNTY BLUES, CUMBERLAND WALTZ and many others.
We are indebted to Alton Delmore of the famous Delmore Brothers for the following nostalgic words about Arthur Smith - Tennessee's Dixieline Fiddler.
"If you have ever made the trip from Nashville to Memphis on Highway 70, you've been through Dickson, Tennessee. That's the home of one of America's most famous old time fiddlers, none other than Arthur Smith. It also happens to be the hometown of Tennessee's popular governor, Frank Clement, who is an ardent country music fan."
"You will also remember the peaceful rugged hills, the cold Spring water, and the clear rippling brooks, that ramble lazily through the green pastures. It is truly a wonderful country and somehow it seems to blend with Arthur Smith's style of fiddlin'. The people in the hills know good music when they hear it. Arthur learned when he was a youngster and he learned right. He practiced every night after his days work was through until he had perfected the style for which he has become famous."
"When George D. Hay, 'the solemn old judge' started the Grand Ole Opry, a country music show which has now become an international institution, Arthur was one of the first old time fiddlers to appear on the program. Each Saturday night, Arthur Smith and Sam and Kirk McGee would come into Nashville and play over Radio WSM on the Opry. They became more popular each week and Arthur decided to call his band the Dixieliners. He was working then as a lineman on the N.C. & ST. L. Railroad known as 'The Dixie Line' - hence the name for his entertainers."
"It was about this time that my brother Rabon and I came to WSM and the Opry. We had listened many times to Arthur Smith and his Dixieliners so we asked Arthur to make some phonograph records with us. At first he was shy but after considerable persuasion, we were able to get him to record. Arthur was modest and didn't think he was good enough to make records. Bluebird had brought a portable recording outfit, and it was there that Arthur Smith made his first records. Since then he has made many best selling records that have been played and enjoyed throughout America and wherever country music is enjoyed."
"Arthur plays by ear and doesn't read music. Rabon and I did a lot of the singing on Arthur Smith's records for bluebird back in the 20's and 30's. Rabon and I enjoyed singing with Arthur both on records and on radio."
The open string Martin guitar background is by Earnest Smith, Arhtur's son who is pictured with Arthur on the front cover of this album. This album by Arthur Smith is an important contribution to the heritage of American country music.
DON PIERCE, President
1. Orange Blossom Special
2. Paris Waltz
3. Dixieliner's Ramble
4. North Carolina Breakdown
5. Cumberland Gap
6. Dickson County Blues
7. K. C. Stomp
9. Indian Creek
10. Darling Honey
11. Whistler's Fever
12. Maple Leak Waltz
13. Tulsa Hop
14. Cheatham County Hoedown