If you have time on your hands…old time people

Online Fiddle Lessons Forums What else is on your mind? If you have time on your hands…old time people

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    Here’s something interesting if you find yourself with some time on your hands and wanna see some real live old time people sitting around playing.  The atmosphere of this reminds me so much of SE KY.  It’s only two guys…not sure who the one on the left of screen is, but on the right is Dwight Diller, who, in my opinion is the real deal in old time music.  It’s a long video, but it takes me back home… and always a adventure to watch Dwight play.

    Steve SraderSteve Srader

    Cricket good old time old timer get together , home stuff is the best !


    Yeah, that’s the truth.  Well, I never was very good at math…somehow, I didn’t realize there was a part 1 to this…lol…


    These are pretty substantial videos with a lot of tunes by Dwight, and Ralph – the last living Hammons family fiddler.

    The following is excerpted from Lew Stern, Dwight Diller: West Virginia Mountain Musician, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc., 2016.

    Paris Hammons was born on the Kentucky side of the border with West Virginia around 1856, one of seven children born to Jesse Hammons and Nancy Broughton Hicks.  He was a child when his family moved to east central West Virginia just before the Civil War.

    Paris and his wife Charlotte had ten children, including Sherman, Burl and Maggie whose stories and old tunes captivated Dwight.  Paris himself was a fiddler; his sons Sherman and Burl both had their first crack at the instrument as youngsters by sneaking turns on their father’s fiddle.

    Among Paris’ brothers were Edn Hammons and Pete Hammons, both celebrated fiddlers in their time, and Cornelius, the father of Currence and Dona whose banjo playing was recorded by Gerry Milnes.

    Paris’ daughter Emmy married a John Roberts, the grandfather of Ralph Roberts, a fiddler and banjo player from southeastern West Virginia, a well know fixture at the Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia.

    Ralph, born in 1929, the last fiddler in the Hammons family line, described Dwight’s fiddling as consisting of a good amount of “up bowing,” the style in which the Sherman and Burl Hammons played.

    Ralph plays an old style of two finger banjo picking, and started learning clawhammer style banjo around 2014 – from Dwight.

    According to Gerald Milnes, Ralph Roberts was born on Poplar Creek of Birch River.  His Uncle Jesse played fiddle.  Ralph late brothers were musical.  His nephew, Rick Roberts, of Cox’s Mills, plays fiddle and mandolin.  Milnes states that Ralph “plays a more laid back, Wilson Douglas style.  I don’t know if they knew each other although they lived in the same county.  Ralph knows old tunes, but he is also agreeable to learning tunes he hears that are new to him. His wife, Charlie, is a great fan and encourages Ralph in his music.”


    Interesting.  I’ve heard quite a bit about Hammons’ music, from Dwight, but didn’t know the guy on the left, Ralph, was related.  I know Dwight told me the Hammons came up to WV from the same co in KY where we lived…Whitley…I think I heard remnants of their similar styles way back a long time ago from old timers there back in the 70s and such.

    The county in KY where my dad’s family comes from, Lewis,  is big on upbowing too.  It just feels upsidedown to upbow to me, though…lol.

    This is great stuff.  Where Dwight lives you can’t look at youtubes because of the big telescope there…can’t use cell phones either, so it’s always a special treat to find these folks on youtube.  You can’t get to hear them much outside of their local areas.

    Nancy BitterNancy Bitter

    what song is he playing on the fiddle on that first tune???? I want to learn it

    John (BGD)John (BGD)

    Thanks Cricket! I have the first one running right now — very enjoyable old-time fiddling. Dwight has a great pulsing bow rhythm.


    Nancy…Cripple Creek is the first tune I heard little snippets of when Dwight first started fiddling … Camp chase I believe was the first full tune he played…on the first video I put up, which was actually part 2, because i’m too goofy to get parts 1 and 2 in the correct order.  Hope that is the right answer to your question.


    Hope you enjoy the videos, John.  My source tells me there are more up now.  I’m gonna have to look at them tomorrow.

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