Various Artists

Possum Up a Gum Stump: Home, Field & Commercial Recordings of Alabama Fiddlers

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Possum up a Gum Stump documents a century of Alabama fiddlers, whose presence at dances and conventions, over the air waves and on record made them each into local musical legends. The CD is masterfully produced by folklorist Joyce Cauthen, offering plentiful and valuable notes on each of the performers along with recorded excerpts from their distinctive repertoires. The 24 selections are culled from field, commercial, and home recordings, dating from 1924 to 1993, with the fiddlers themselves arranged according to their births: the first half of the disc features players born in the 19th century, with the second half showcasing 20th century fiddlers tied still to traditional old-time styles. Though most of these musicians were (and a few still are) legendary characters in their own communities, few besides the relatively well-known Charlie Stripling have gained much broader attention. This collection takes excellent strides in correcting that oversight, and although most casual listeners may still prefer a less specialized or obscure lineup, Possum should easily attract many serious followers of old-time fiddling styles.

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