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10/29/2007

Ted Hawkins and Riley Puckett playing Hawkins Rag

More prewar goodness from the folks at Juneberry78s.com… Ted Hawkins was one of the great mandolin stylists in early country music. His playing adorns some of the late Skillet Lickers recordings, but his most exciting recording may well be this pairing with Skillet Lickers guitarist Riley Puckett.

Puckett is, of course, the gold standard of old-timey guitarists. He sounds freer on this than on perhaps any recording I’ve heard of his. There are some very impressive bass runs and some nice chromaticism in his accompaniment. (There is also what appears to be an uncharacteristic flub from Puckett at the start of the fourth repetition.) And Hawkins was a worthy counterpart, an unusually dexterous old-timey mandolinist. His playing is fast, nimble, and energetic.

The tune is a fairly standard folk rag, with one strain starting on the tonic and sounding not unlike the Fiddler’s Reel (except for the ragtime turn), and the other starting on the dominant and sounding not unlike State Street Rag. It is distinguished, however, by the the quality of the performance, which is exceptional.

Hawkins Rag (MP3)
Courtesy of Juneberry78s.com. Please consider purchasing one of their CD-R or DVD-R compilations of old-time 78s and radio shows.