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June 2008 · Bimonthly

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Old Red - A Twister from the Deep South

by Stacy Phillips

Here's a twisty little number from Hoyt Ming and His Pep Steppers. It's the kind of hard-to-catalog tune that seems endemic to Mississippi. It is certainly not a hoedown, march or even a one-step. I guess it is sui generis peformed at about 100 bpm.

The Pep Steppers were a family band with Hoyt on fiddle, wife Rozelle on guitar (and foot-stomping) and brother Troy on mandolin. They had a single recording session around 1928 during the golden age of American old time music. They remained a part time band on the local scene but didn't record again until "rediscovered" in the early 1970's.

For some reason Hoyt's name was altered to Floyd for this recording, one of those odd twists of fact that tickle old time fiddle aficianados.

To hear this quirky, beautiful piece check out The Roots Music Listening Room at

A transcription of this piece, combining parts of several choruses of Ming's fiddling, can be found in my "Favorite American Listening Pieces, Two Step and Marches for Fiddle" which is scheduled for release by Mel Bay Pub. in June, 2008. This is the fifth and last book in the "Favorite American . . . for Fiddle" series that replaces my Phillips Collection Volume 2. Volume 1 is still available.

Stacy Phillips

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