Thursday, August 12, 2010

Martha Campbell

Fiddler and educator John Harrod once called the fiddle tune "Martha Campbell" the Kentucky national anthem. The haunting melody does seem to have a remarkable resonance for the fiddlers of the Bluegrass State. It was one of the first tunes recorded by the great Kentucky fiddler Doc Roberts back in 1925. Researchers believe Roberts learned it at least 10 years earlier from his mentor, the African-American fiddler Owen Walker of Madison County, Ky. The Flood's Joe Dobbs has been playing "Martha Campbell" for decades now, and recently when our banjo-picking buddy Judy Jones was visiting from Australia, she and Joe dusted off the tune again.

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