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1- YOU'D PLAYED FOR A LOT OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF PEOPLE, LIKE SOMETIMES YOU'D PLA YED FOR JUST P ARTIES AND THEN SOMETIMES YOU PLA YED FOR HIGH-PRICED MONEY. "Well, played where we'd collect off each person come in, you know -- pay so much. "
WHAT KIND OF... WAS THAT A SHOW YOU PUT ON? "Yeah, it was a show, a musical show, you know. I had other musicians with me then. I had a real good fiddler and two guitar players part of the time, and sometimes I had a girl that played a ukelele -- and she danced, too. They was four in my band one time, they danced. "
WHAT WERE THEIR NAMES? "I played with Beulah Boatwright, Scott Boatwright - - both them was very good musicians. "
FROM AROUND HERE? " Y es,from Scott County over here. Scott lives over there now.I think Beulah lives back over there. I played with Charlie Powers and (an) old man, his father, was a fiddler, old time fiddler. He made phonograph records, they did, for Victor back years ago, before ever I made any, and Charlie he
come stayed with me for about a year and he played the guitar with me. And Scott Boatwright come stayed with me a while, and also Melvin Robnett -- played the fiddle, he's a very good fiddler. We played country theaters, schools, high schools -- schools in the country we'd have plumb full. Lot of times we'd make three, four hundred dollars a week. "
ABOUT WHEN WAS THAT? "That was back in '2-- I believe it was '29. " ' AFTER YOUR RECORDS HAD COME OUT? "Yes." DO YOU THINK THAT HELPED YOUR RECORDS, OR THE RECORDS HELPED THAT? "The records helped get the crowds, I'm pretty sure, because a lot of them that had my records had never heard me play in person. They came out to hear us play. "
2- THIS TUNING, KEY, THAT YOU USE HERE IN THE KEY OF D, WHERE YOU PLAY'THE COUNTRY BLUES,' DO YOU REMEMBER WHERE IT WAS YOU EVER FIRST HEARD THAT, OR DID YOU JUST WORK THAT OUT YOURSELF? " No, Homer Crawford played "The Country Blues, " or "Hustling Gamblers, " in that key, and there's so many more pieces I play: "Oh Death, " "Drunkard's Lone Child, " and " Calvary, " and "Prodigal Son" -- play that all in that.
DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT TOWN THAT HE WAS FROM? "I don't know what town he was from in Tennessee. He's a photograph man made pictures for people like they used to. Carried a'camera around on his shoulders. Come up through this country and went over through The Pound. Used to stay at my uncle'S over on The Pound through there. Stayed all night with me after I was married, and he could playa fiddle and a banjo both. "
HE'D PLAY AS HE CAME ALONG? "Yes, if you had an instrument, why he'd stay all night with you and play some mUSic, you know. Never did pay nothing for his lodging or anything like that. People's glad to have him because he knowed a lot of old songs. Most people liked music and they wasn't so much of it back then. They wasn't but just a few colored fellows you see played
guitar then. NOW, anybody you see nearly can pick a guitar. In nearly all the Holiness churches now they have guitars. Women play them a lot. We've got two people in the church, Free Pentecostal Holiness Church of God where I belong, up on Guest's River, plays music. "
I WONDER IF THIS HOMER CRAWFORD WOULD STILL BE LIVING? "I don't think he's living yet. He was a great big fleshy fellow and I heard he was dead. I've not seen him for years and I think he's dead. If he was living, he'd be getting awful old, 75 probably. I have an idea he'd be 75, maybe 80 years old now. I think he's dead. "
I WONDER HOW I COULD FIND OUT WHAT TOWN HE LIVED IN? "I really haven't got no idea. "
SOUNDS LIKE HE TRAVELED A LOT. "Yeah, he
did. You can find lots of people knowed him. He made pictures. He had an awful good disposition, turn, every- body liked him, you know. He could Sing good. People liked that, too you know. "
3- "Well, I practiced an awful lot, and I even took a watch and timed myself, 2 minutes and 40 seconds, and if my song wasn't hardly long enough for to go the 2 minutes and 40 seconds, why I'd alternate a verse. Just pick it open and not sing, and then -- or either I'd sing from the start go or maybe I'd alternate one, pick over a piece if
I didn't have hardly enough to make a record, 'till I'd make it come out to a 2 minute and 40 second record.
We had different records then what we got now. And 2 minutes and 40 seconds is all we had to do it, and we had altogether different technique and way they made the record than the way they do now, I suppose. I made records in New York the first time, in Chicago the second time, but they record them now down in Memphis Tennessee and different places. " '
WHO DID YOU RECORD FOR IN CHICAGO? "For 'The Lonesome Ace -- Without A Yodel.' He's a fellow in-
dividual, from up here at Richland, Virginia. W. 'E. Myers. M-y-e-r-s, Myers. W. E. Myers."
DID YOU MAKE A COMPLETE LIVING PLAYING MUSIC FOR A WHILE? "Yeah, for a little while they was a few months that I didn't do anything when I was over in Kentucky. "
IS THAT WHEN YOU WERE RECORDING, YOU MEAN? "That was just after I'd make those records
and I figured on making some more. I was playing in schools and theaters, and I'd play for private dances or anything and make some money off it. I played for old Senator Brock and his family when they was visiting up in Kentucky over there, swimming pool. They paid me pretty good for playing; me and my band played for them. This Combs, this governor of Kentucky, I played some for him over there, too. I think it was Bert Combs.
I'm pretty sure it was, can't hardly remember. It was before he was ever elected. "
WHAT DID YOU CALL YOUR BAND? "The Cumber- land Mountaineers, Dock Boggs and His Cumberland Mountaineers, I believe. I've got a handbill here, where I had printed with it. Cumberl.and Mountain Entertainers, Dock Boggs and His Cumberland Mountain Entertainers. "
DID YOU EVER RECORD FOR THE PARAMOUNT RECORD PEOPLE UP THERE IN, I GUESS IT WAS CHICAGO? "No, I never did make no records for them. "
WAS THAT YOUR FIRST TRIP TO NEW YORK WHEN YOU WENT UP THERE? "Oh, I'd never out of these DID YOU MAKE A COMPLETE LIVING PLAYING MUSIC FOR A WHILE? "Yeah, for a little while they was a few months that I didn't do anything when I was over in Kentucky. "
IS THAT WHEN YOU WERE RECORDING, YOU MEAN? "That was just after I'd make those records
and I figured on making some more. I was playing in schools and theaters, and I'd play for private dances or anything and make some money off it. I played for old Senator Brock and his family when they was visiting up in Kentucky over there, swimming pool. They paid me pretty good for playing; me and my band played for them. This Combs, this governor of Kentucky, I played some for him over there, too. I think it was Bert Combs.
I'm pretty sure it was, can't hardly remember. It was before he was ever elected. "
WAS THAT YOUR FIRST TRIP TO NEW YORK WHEN YOU WENT UP THERE? "Oh, I'd never out of these hills, this mountain here. I studied - - I didn't know how I was going to do, or how -- I was self- conscious enough and always had thought enough about myself to care about what people thought about me, and wanted to act as near like a human being as I should, as I could. I was afraid I'd make a lot of mistakes, but I come to find out after I went with these other fellows up there, with John Dykes and Hub Mahaffey, and Miss Vermillion. Poor old man Dykes, he was a good friend of mine -- I don't want to say any harm or anything, but he pulled some awful boners. "
DO YOU REMEMBER ANY OF THEM? "Yeah, he lost his pocketbook. Got it picked in New York's Central Station in New York going in there, and didn't lose too much money, but the president of the (record) company asked him -- Brophy, I believe his name was -- asked him, 'How much did you have in your pocketbook?' He says, 'Boggs,' he turned around to me, 'Boggs, I've lost my pocketbook.' And he turned around to him and said, 'How much did you have in there, Mr. Dykes?' He said, 'Had about 12 dollars.' Said, 'Well, I wouldn't worry about that if that's all you had, ' he said. 'The worst part about it, ' he said, 'it was your fellows'.' He said, 'Well, don't let that bother you at all.' It was theirs, he give it to him to pay the expenses, you know. And then he called the waiter around while we was in New York eating in a hotel cafe: I wasn't at the table with them at that time. Miss Vermillion was telling me about it; she said she felt like sinking through the floor. He took his finger and wiggled, motioned for a waitress to come over to the table and asked her how much she got a week! "
1- YOU'D PLAYED FOR A LOT OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF PEOPLE, LIKE SOMETIMES YOU'D PLA YED FOR JUST P ARTIES AND THEN SOMETIMES YOU PLA YED FOR HIGH-PRICED MONEY. "Well, played where we'd collect off each person come in, you know -- pay so much. " WHAT KIND OF... WAS THAT A SHOW YOU PUT ON? "Yeah, it was a show, a musical show, you know. I had other musicians with me then. I had a real good fiddler and two guitar players part of the time, and sometimes I had a girl that played a ukelele -- and she danced, too. They was four in my band one time, they danced. " WHAT WERE THEIR NAMES? "I played with Beulah Boatwright, Scott Boatwright - - both them was very good musicians. " FROM AROUND HERE? " Y es,from Scott County over here. Scott lives over there now.I think Beulah lives back over there. I played with Charlie Powers and (an) old man, his father, was a fiddler, old time fiddler. He made phonograph records, they did, for Victor back years ago, before ever I made any, and Charlie he
come stayed with me for about a year and he played the guitar with me. And Scott Boatwright come stayed with me a while, and also Melvin Robnett -- played the fiddle, he's a very good fiddler. We played country theaters, schools, high schools -- schools in the country we'd have plumb full. Lot of times we'd make three, four hundred dollars a week. "
ABOUT WHEN WAS THAT? "That was back in '2-- I believe it was '29. " ' AFTER YOUR RECORDS HAD COME OUT? "Yes." DO YOU THINK THAT HELPED YOUR RECORDS, OR THE RECORDS HELPED THAT? "The records helped get the crowds, I'm pretty sure, because a lot of them that had my records had never heard me play in person. They came out to hear us play. " 2- THIS TUNING, KEY, THAT YOU USE HERE IN THE KEY OF D, WHERE YOU PLAY'THE COUNTRY BLUES,' DO YOU REMEMBER WHERE IT WAS YOU EVER FIRST HEARD THAT, OR DID YOU JUST WORK THAT OUT YOURSELF? " No, Homer Crawford played "The Country Blues, " or "Hustling Gamblers, " in that key, and there's so many more pieces I play: "Oh Death, " "Drunkard's Lone Child, " and " Calvary, " and "Prodigal Son" -- play that all in that. DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT TOWN THAT HE WAS FROM? "I don't know what town he was from in Tennessee. He's a photograph man made pictures for people like they used to. Carried a'camera around on his shoulders. Come up through this country and went over through The Pound. Used to stay at my uncle'S over on The Pound through there. Stayed all night with me after I was married, and he could playa fiddle and a banjo both. " HE'D PLAY AS HE CAME ALONG? "Yes, if you had an instrument, why he'd stay all night with you and play some mUSic, you know. Never did pay nothing for his lodging or anything like that. People's glad to have him because he knowed a lot of old songs. Most people liked music and they wasn't so much of it back then. They wasn't but just a few colored fellows you see played
guitar then. NOW, anybody you see nearly can pick a guitar. In nearly all the Holiness churches now they have guitars. Women play them a lot. We've got two people in the church, Free Pentecostal Holiness Church of God where I belong, up on Guest's River, plays music. " I WONDER IF THIS HOMER CRAWFORD WOULD STILL BE LIVING? "I don't think he's living yet. He was a great big fleshy fellow and I heard he was dead. I've not seen him for years and I think he's dead. If he was living, he'd be getting awful old, 75 probably. I have an idea he'd be 75, maybe 80 years old now. I think he's dead. " I WONDER HOW I COULD FIND OUT WHAT TOWN HE LIVED IN? "I really haven't got no idea. " SOUNDS LIKE HE TRAVELED A LOT. "Yeah, he
did. You can find lots of people knowed him. He made pictures. He had an awful good disposition, turn, every- body liked him, you know. He could Sing good. People liked that, too you know. " 3- "Well, I practiced an awful lot, and I even took a watch and timed myself, 2 minutes and 40 seconds, and if my song wasn't hardly long enough for to go the 2 minutes and 40 seconds, why I'd alternate a verse. Just pick it open and not sing, and then -- or either I'd sing from the start go or maybe I'd alternate one, pick over a piece if I didn't have hardly enough to make a record, 'till I'd make it come out to a 2 minute and 40 second record.
We had different records then what we got now. And 2 minutes and 40 seconds is all we had to do it, and we had altogether different technique and way they made the record than the way they do now, I suppose. I made records in New York the first time, in Chicago the second time, but they record them now down in Memphis Tennessee and different places. " ' WHO DID YOU RECORD FOR IN CHICAGO? "For 'The Lonesome Ace -- Without A Yodel.' He's a fellow in- dividual, from up here at Richland, Virginia. W. 'E. Myers. M-y-e-r-s, Myers. W. E. Myers." DID YOU MAKE A COMPLETE LIVING PLAYING MUSIC FOR A WHILE? "Yeah, for a little while they was a few months that I didn't do anything when I was over in Kentucky. " IS THAT WHEN YOU WERE RECORDING, YOU MEAN? "That was just after I'd make those records
and I figured on making some more. I was playing in schools and theaters, and I'd play for private dances or anything and make some money off it. I played for old Senator Brock and his family when they was visiting up in Kentucky over there, swimming pool. They paid me pretty good for playing; me and my band played for them. This Combs, this governor of Kentucky, I played some for him over there, too. I think it was Bert Combs.
I'm pretty sure it was, can't hardly remember. It was before he was ever elected. " WHAT DID YOU CALL YOUR BAND? "The Cumber- land Mountaineers, Dock Boggs and His Cumberland Mountaineers, I believe. I've got a handbill here, where I had printed with it. Cumberl.and Mountain Entertainers, Dock Boggs and His Cumberland Mountain Entertainers. " DID YOU EVER RECORD FOR THE PARAMOUNT RECORD PEOPLE UP THERE IN, I GUESS IT WAS CHICAGO? "No, I never did make no records for them. " WAS THAT YOUR FIRST TRIP TO NEW YORK WHEN YOU WENT UP THERE? "Oh, I'd never out of these DID YOU MAKE A COMPLETE LIVING PLAYING MUSIC FOR A WHILE? "Yeah, for a little while they was a few months that I didn't do anything when I was over in Kentucky. " IS THAT WHEN YOU WERE RECORDING, YOU MEAN? "That was just after I'd make those records
and I figured on making some more. I was playing in schools and theaters, and I'd play for private dances or anything and make some money off it. I played for old Senator Brock and his family when they was visiting up in Kentucky over there, swimming pool. They paid me pretty good for playing; me and my band played for them. This Combs, this governor of Kentucky, I played some for him over there, too. I think it was Bert Combs.
I'm pretty sure it was, can't hardly remember. It was before he was ever elected. " WAS THAT YOUR FIRST TRIP TO NEW YORK WHEN YOU WENT UP THERE? "Oh, I'd never out of these hills, this mountain here. I studied - - I didn't know how I was going to do, or how -- I was self- conscious enough and always had thought enough about myself to care about what people thought about me, and wanted to act as near like a human being as I should, as I could. I was afraid I'd make a lot of mistakes, but I come to find out after I went with these other fellows up there, with John Dykes and Hub Mahaffey, and Miss Vermillion. Poor old man Dykes, he was a good friend of mine -- I don't want to say any harm or anything, but he pulled some awful boners. " DO YOU REMEMBER ANY OF THEM? "Yeah, he lost his pocketbook. Got it picked in New York's Central Station in New York going in there, and didn't lose too much money, but the president of the (record) company asked him -- Brophy, I believe his name was -- asked him, 'How much did you have in your pocketbook?' He says, 'Boggs,' he turned around to me, 'Boggs, I've lost my pocketbook.' And he turned around to him and said, 'How much did you have in there, Mr. Dykes?' He said, 'Had about 12 dollars.' Said, 'Well, I wouldn't worry about that if that's all you had, ' he said. 'The worst part about it, ' he said, 'it was your fellows'.' He said, 'Well, don't let that bother you at all.' It was theirs, he give it to him to pay the expenses, you know. And then he called the waiter around while we was in New York eating in a hotel cafe: I wasn't at the table with them at that time. Miss Vermillion was telling me about it; she said she felt like sinking through the floor. He took his finger and wiggled, motioned for a waitress to come over to the table and asked her how much she got a week! " read more read less

8 years ago #banjo, #blues, #country, #folk, #oldtime