Mississippi Fiddle Tunes and Songs from the 1930s

By Harry Bolick
and Stephen T. Austin

400 pages (approx.), 8 1/2 x 11 inches, 333 annotated tunes, 37 b&w illustrations, 2 maps, 32 musical examples, introduction, appendices, index

9781496804013 Printed casebinding $80.00S

9781496804075 Paper $40.00S

Printed casebinding, $80.00

Paper, $40.00


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A rediscovered treasury of old-time fiddle music with over 300 musical annotations

While in the Mississippi State Archives tracking down Abbot Ferris's beautiful photographic portraits of musicians from 1939, author Harry Bolick discovered, to his amazement, a treasure trove of earlier fiddle tunes in manuscript form. Since then he has worked to understand how this collection came to exist and be set aside. With Stephen T. Austin, Bolick has transcribed the subsequent 1939 audio recordings. Mississippi Fiddle Tunes and Songs from the 1930s presents the history of the collecting work, with over three hundred of the tunes and songs and a beautiful selection of period photographs.

In the summer of 1936, over one hundred fiddle tunes, many of them unique, along with thousands of songs, were collected and notated throughout a large part of Mississippi. Roughly 130 novice field workers captured beautiful tunes and tantalizing fragments. As a body of work, it is an unparalleled and fascinating snapshot of vernacular music as heard in Mississippi in the early part of the recorded era. However, this music was unpublished and forgotten. In 1939, building on the contacts made three years earlier, Herbert Halpert led one of the last and best executed of the WPA folklore projects which recorded audio performances in Mississippi. Some, but not all, of those distinctive fiddle tune recordings have been published. Additionally through cassette tape copies passed hand to hand, some of these distinctive tunes have regained currency and popularity among contemporary fiddlers. In Mississippi Fiddle Tunes and Songs from the 1930s, this great music is at last widely available.

Harry Bolick, Hopewell Junction, New York, has been learning, playing, recording, and teaching fiddle tunes from his home state of Mississippi for the last thirty years. Stephen T. Austin, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, is a fiddler and traditional music performer who grew up in the Chicago area.

Every tune in this book is available from Document Records, Get Harry Bolick's CD with 22 tunes from the book, more information, a video, and free downloads of the sound files at . And hear the author talk and play some tunes at

400 pages (approx.), 8 1/2 x 11 inches, 333 annotated tunes, 37 b&w illustrations, 2 maps, 32 musical examples, introduction, appendices, index