Dudley Spangler was one of two individuals who had the surname Spangler, a knack for old-timey fiddle music, and the nickname "Babe" in common, although perhaps not in that order of importance. J.W. "Babe" Spangler eventually claimed a lifelong lock on the "Babe" nickname passed out in a seemingly arbitrary fashion by the patriarch of the family, Wallace W. Spangler. This esteemed builder, construction engineer, and deputy marshal was reputed to be the greatest and most influential fiddler in the Patrick County, VA, area. J.W. Spangler's brother, Charles Langhorn Spangler, was nicknamed "Tump," but rather than become a "dud," cousin Dudley Spangler wound up shunning the colorful nicknames that old-timey fiddlers sometimes wound up saddled with. Dudley's father was George "Coon" Spangler, the first cousin of Wallace Spangler and also a respected fiddler as well as a singer. Dudley Spangler married the sister of "Babe" -- that's J.W. Spangler, remember -- and became a farmer, sticking close to the Meadows of Dan home ground most of his life. In the '40s, his musical activities swung into high gear when he formed a partnership with the banjo hotshot Reed Rakes. They put a band together which landed a regular slot on WPAQ, broadcasting out of the old-timey-music mecca Mt. Airy. Dudley Spangler's activity on fiddle diminished steadily as the years went on, but he took part in several fascinating recording sessions in a furniture store, also in Mt. Airy. Although originally intended as one-of-a-kind items, a personal archive of the family fiddle repertoire, these recordings were eventually released by the County label on the acclaimed album Rare Recordings 1948-49 by the the Old Virginia Fiddlers. The music consists of compositions drawn from the regional repertoire; themes handed down from generation to generation such as the well-worn "Leather Britches," the relaxing "Walking in My Sleep," and the sensible "Hop Light Ladies." This repertoire also includes polkas such as the "Jenny Lind Polka" and the old-world-tempo song known as a "Schottische." The band name of Old Virginia Fiddlers was used off and on professionally by J.W. Spangler in partnership with "Tump" Spangler (remember Tump?). But, whichever Spangler it defined, the band name fit the bill because when it comes to Old Virginia Fiddlers, obviously a lot of them were Spanglers. Dudley Spangler continued performing in the '70s with his backup partners guitarist Maggie Wood and banjoist Harry Pendleton.
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