Mazy Todd

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A fiddler who happens to be a neighbor of Uncle Dave Macon could, if he plays his licks right, get invited to a recording session one day. And that is just what happened to Mazy Todd, who wound up in…
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A fiddler who happens to be a neighbor of Uncle Dave Macon could, if he plays his licks right, get invited to a recording session one day. And that is just what happened to Mazy Todd, who wound up in a string band that Macon put together at the request of a talent scout in 1927. While Macon normally worked alone or with a second guitarist if he really felt like having a crowd on-stage, the record label was interested in something along the lines of Gid Tanner & His Skiller Lickers, in other words, a full-out string band with twin fiddles. What Macon put together was not really a Gid Tanner sound, but there was certainly nothing wrong with it. Todd was going up against fiddler Kirk McGee, whose multi-instrumentalist brother Sam McGee rounded out a truly thrilling old-time music ensemble. To scholars obsessed with old-time music trivia, perhaps the real excitement was the confusion following Macon's good-natured decision to call this ad hoc ensemble of old-time superstars his Fruit Jar Drinkers, as there was already a brilliant old-time band on the scene that called itself the Fruit Jar Guzzlers. Was Macon making some kind of comment about the need to show restraint when imbibing from a fruit jar? Considering this musician's reputation, that is hardly likely. But listeners who don't pay attention to the fine details -- such as the semantic difference between guzzling and drinking -- could assume the two groups are the same and that this great track was actually the result of Macon getting together with the legendary Fruit Jar Guzzlers. Not that anyone is disappointed with the results. The Fruit Jar Drinkers recordings are considered the prime pick of the old-time music crop and some of the music from these sessions has also been reissued under Sam McGee's name. Todd's background in pure traditional old-time fiddling was just what was needed for the assignment, and being within earshot on the evenings when Macon decided to play banjo all night on his front porch couldn't have hurt, either. Various lineups of the Fruit Jar Drinkers would continue on the Opry as part of the show's ever dwindling old-time music segment before finally getting the boot completely in the '60s. George Wilkerson was one of several fiddlers appearing with later versions of the group, while Todd dropped out of performing.