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TOTW 09/25/2020 - Emma Lee Dickerson's "Blackberry Blossom"

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Sep 24, 2020 - 9:26:46 PM
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357 posts since 4/20/2015

My apologies for posting early, but I wasn't sure how much time I was going to have to write and edit anything tomorrow.

The tune of the week for September 25, 2020 is Emma Lee Dickerson’s Blackberry Blossom. There are other Blackberry Blossoms, but I think this one may be unlike the others. Slippery Hill has 8 different Blackberry Blossoms, not counting Ed Haley’s “Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom”.

Like a lot of my TOTW submissions, I first heard this tune on an episode of Get Up in the Cool featuring fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves (the link should take you right to her intro to the tune):

getupinthecool.fireside.fm/205?t=2620

There’s a source recording of Emma Lee Dickerson playing Blackberry Blossom at the Berea Sound Archives:

soundarchives.berea.edu/items/show/719

I haven’t had a lot of time to try and figure the tune out for myself, but as far as I can tell it seems to be a G tune (like all of the other “Blackberry Blossom” recordings on Slippery Hill). It doesn’t quite look like the transciption Jeff Titon made of Blackberry Blossom from Ed Haley’s playing (not sure if that’s the same as or different from the Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom on Slippery Hill).

Emma Lee Dickerson was apparently a Kentucky fiddler - the recording on the Berea Archive was made in 1974 in Greenup County which is in northeastern KY south of Portsmouth, OH and Wheelersburg, WV. The website “Find A Grave” lists an Emma Lee Dickerson who was born in 1923 and died in 2001, buried in Ashland, KY; it’s reasonable to suppose it’s the same ELD.

That’s about all I know about Emma Lee Dickerson. If any of you know any more biographical details or know of other recordings we can point to, I’d love to hear them!

By the way, if you’re curious about the photo that Tatiana mentioned, I think it’s on this page:

annarobertsgevalt.weebly.com/i...aven.html

I agree that there’s a striking resemblance.

Edited by - mjt0229 on 09/24/2020 23:31:11

Sep 24, 2020 - 9:36:30 PM
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448 posts since 2/6/2011

Great tune, Mark. And wow - I really think she is Tatiana's doppelganger!

Sep 26, 2020 - 4:11:50 PM
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6541 posts since 6/27/2009

A new fiddler for me -- Emma Lee Dickerson, that is. I was fortunate enough to see the talented Tatiana in a music camp.  The first part of Emma Lee's recording seems wanting for correct notes, but the next section is good, which is what I used to learn from.  For comparison to my Blackberry Blossom, both are played.

Emma Lee Dickerson and Tatiana Hargreaves


Sep 26, 2020 - 4:54:52 PM
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mjt0229

USA

357 posts since 4/20/2015

quote:
Originally posted by JanetB

A new fiddler for me -- Emma Lee Dickerson, that is. I was fortunate enough to see the talented Tatiana in a music camp.  The first part of Emma Lee's recording seems wanting for correct notes, but the next section is good, which is what I used to learn from.  For comparison to my Blackberry Blossom, both are played.

Emma Lee Dickerson and Tatiana Hargreaves


Great playing as always, Janet! I aspire to be able to pull the right notes out of a tune as effectively and efficiently as you can!

Sep 27, 2020 - 12:28:08 AM

Hay-on-Wye

Wales

93 posts since 6/29/2015

Another tune I need to learn. Too many tunes, too little time

Sep 28, 2020 - 8:39:24 AM

870 posts since 3/23/2006

Thank you. Always nice to have a variation on a classic tune -- it freshens it up again for a jam.
And it is not surprising that one of my favorite fiddlers, Tatiana, found it.

Oct 2, 2020 - 2:12:54 PM

6541 posts since 6/27/2009

It's a shame to leave Blackberry Blossom without showcasing some of the clawhammer versions, including instruction.  It had never been a TOTW and is a tune rich that's been around a long while.  This link has plenty of history and old sound bites, dating their resources back to the 1800's and including the more elusive Garfield's Blackberry Blossom.  Blackberry Blossom research by the Florida Fiddlers Association.  And here are some current clawhammer samples.  So, enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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