Tune of the Month: Thompson's Rag
I ran across this sweet little tune on a 1992 tape I made at Weiser. The fiddler is Art Brandvold, late of Everett, WA. I started learning it and just can’t get it out of my head – one of those ear worm things. That’s a term, by the way, derived from the German ‘Ohrwurm’ for music that, unbidden, keeps playing in your head. In the extreme case this is considered a psychological dysfunction; for fiddlers learning tunes it’s a rather useful skill.
At any rate, neither I, nor my usual accomplices, know anything about origins of the tune itself so if you recall anything, feel free to let me know and I will post it. Art was born in Minnesota in 1917 and played for dances on the mandolin in his younger days. In 1984 he made the switched to fiddle and within a few years was making excellent dance music (as you can hear on the WOTFA web site). He cited Bob Simmons (see Evergreen Fiddler Vol. I and Voyager Records) as a key influence in making this transition.
Please contact me if you have questions or requests.
Stuart Williams, Music Editor
Updated December 7, 2011