Violin, sing the blues for me!

The Mobile StrugglersAt Old Hat Records you can find, besides rare old recordings, excellent short illustrated historical essays, including this one on early recordings of African-American fiddlers.

 

An excerpt:

In his book Twelve Years A Slave, published in 1853, Northup wrote:

“Alas! had it not been for my beloved violin, I scarcely can conceive how I could have endured the long years of bondage. It introduced me to great houses- relieved me of many days’ labor in the field- supplied me with conveniences for my cabin- with pipes and tobacco, and extra pairs of shoes, and oftentimes led me away from the presence of a hard master, to witness scenes of jollity and mirth. It was my companion- the friend of my bosom triumphing loudly when I was joyful, and uttering its soft, melodious consolations when I was sad. It heralded my name around the country- made me friends, who, otherwise would not have noticed me- gave me an honored seat at the yearly feasts, and secured the loudest and heartiest welcome of them all at the Christmas dance.” 

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