old-time fiddler, Chattanooga
Tennessee Folklife Heritage Award (2001)
Photo by Robert Cogswell
Fiddler Bob Douglas (1900-2001) lived a remarkable musical life. As a boy, he accompanied his fiddling father to play community dances on Walden’s Ridge and in the Sequatchie Valley. As young man, he rubbed shoulders with pioneers of recorded hillbilly music, and he was likely the first musician to play on the radio in Chattanooga, where he remained a popular broadcast and danceband figure for decades and gave the Louvin Brothers their first job. When the Tennessee Valley Old-Time Fiddlers Association revived interest in his musical form, beginning in the 1960s, Douglas was a regular winner at sponsored contests. His huge tune repertory spanned the several epochs of his career, and he was a repeat performer at the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife. Inspiring many younger musicians, he remained a vigorous player until the end of his life, and he had his premier on the Grand Ole Opry at age 100.
To see Bob Douglas’ profile in the 2001 Governor’s Awards in the Arts program, click here.
For more about Bob Douglas, go to:
Youtube addr for 2001 Gov Awd
For further reading, see:
Fulcher, Robert, “Bob Douglas, Fiddler of the Century, Part 1,” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 64, #2 (2008): 3-32.
-------, “Bob Douglas, Fiddler of the Century, Part 2,” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 65, #1 (2009): 3-28.
-------, “Sequatchie Valley: Seven Decades of Country Fiddling,” booklet insert to Sequatchie Valley: Seven Decades of Country Fiddling by Bob Douglas, Tennessee Folklore Society TFS-109 (LP, 1990).
Irwin, John Rice. A People and Their Music: The Story Behind the Story of Country Music (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Co., 2000), pp.75-92.
The Pine Breeze Recordings, Jubilee Records JCA-1003 (CD, 2005)
Bob Douglas: 100 Years Old, Ain’t Done Yet, Hot Planet Productions (DVD, 2001)
Sequatchie Valley Fiddlin’ 98, Cedar Glades Productions 004 (DVD reissue, 2009). Available from http://www.springfedrecords.com/.
Sequatchie Valley: Seven Decades of Country Fiddling by Bob Douglas, Tennessee Folklore Society TFS-109 (LP, 1990)
Waldens Ridge, Tennvale TV001S (LP, 1973)