Fiddlin’ Georgia Crazy


University of Illinois Press, 1987, 330 pages

The patriarch of the Atlanta, GA old time scene of the 1920’s, John Carson was proclaimed “Champion Fiddler of Georgia” seven times.  About June 14, 1923 (date is uncertain), Carson made his recording debut in an empty building on Nassau Street in Atlanta, cutting two sides, “The Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane” and “The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s going to Crow.” Ralph Peer didn’t like the singing style of Carson and described it “pluperfect awful” but he was persuaded  to press five hundred for him to distribute. The recording was immediately sold out from the stage of the next Fiddler’s convention on July 13, 1923.   Between 1923 and 1931, Carson recorded almost 150 songs, mostly together with the “Virginia Reelers” or his daughter Rosa Lee Carson, who performed with him as “Moonshine Kate” and provided what may be the earliest known recorded model of liberated southern womanhood.

Here’s a Fiddlin’ John and Moonshine Kate skit, “John Makes Good Liquor, part 3.”  The skit contains this famous exchange.

Sheriff: How do you do, little girl?

Kate: It ain’t none of your business, you ain’t no doctor.



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