Nebraska fiddler Bob Walters is little-known outside Missouri Valley fiddle circles, but that’s about to change with the new release of eighty of Bob’s best tunes on “Bob Walters, The Champion: Classic Missouri Valley Fiddling from Dwight Lamb’s Collection.”
Long before the days of the iPod or even the portable tape recorder, Dwight Lamb was collecting recordings from Bob Walters on wire recorders, reel-to-reels, or whatever the latest technology might be. Now we’re lucky to have his amazing collection of Bob Walters recordings cherry-picked into this giant two-CD set which demonstrates both Mr. Walters’ mastery of the instrument and his breadth of repetoire. The set includes reels, waltzes, polkas and quadrilles, and even a few more rare birds, and tunes are sourced all the way from Kentucky to Canada and beyond.
Standouts include some familiar tunes like Bill Cheatum and Dusty Miller, along with contest favorites like The Inimitable Reel and Friendship Waltz, as well as less commonly known gems like the masterful Silver Lake Quadrille and The Prodigal Son. Instrumentation includes plenty of solo fiddle and guitar/fiddle, as well as Goldie Walters’ stellar pump organ playing and a few featuring Dwight playing along on his accordion.
Walters is a seminal figure in Midwestern fiddling whose influence on the tradition was considerable during the 1940 and 50s, the heyday of agricultural broadcasting in the Central states. Walters, a Nebraska native, performed over numerous radio stations in the region and was widely admired and imitated by such well-known performers as Cyril Stinnett, Lonnie Robertson and Dwight Lamb.
Bob Walters appeared on two cassettes issued by the Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers Association and figured prominently on the U of MO Press two-record LP The Old Time Fiddlers Repertory. All of these recordings are out-of-print, so this new release of Walters music is of particular importance. It is worth noting that transcriptions of Walters’ music outnumber all others in R. P. Christeson’s two volumes of The Old Time Fiddlers Repertory.