Various Artists

Pa's Fiddle: Charles Ingalls, American Fiddler

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Charles "Pa" Ingalls, an old-time 19th century fiddler and the father of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the popular Little House on the Prairie books, is a central figure in those beloved books, and even though there isn't a single recorded track of his fiddle playing, he is still an influential musician, mostly through the 127 folk songs, fiddle tunes, and dance rounds his daughter portrayed him as playing and then embedded in the books. This set features world-class acoustic players interpreting some of those 127 songs, and while how good a fiddler and musician Pa Ingalls actually was may or may not have been enhanced by a daughter's memory, these facsimile renditions hint at the community utility of music in a time before radio, television, and the Internet exploded it into a whole new world of commercial enterprise. Before media conglomerates entered the story, there were local musicians. They played what everyone wanted to hear, transforming a summer evening with the single draw of a fiddle bow. That was Pa Ingalls. Maybe he sounded something like this.

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