Personalities | Gid Tanner | Early Years of Hillbilly | Country

(Fiddle, banjo, vocals, 1885–1960)

An old-time fiddler and comic singer from Dacula, Georgia, Tanner gave his name to the most famous of old-time string bands, The Skillet Lickers, though his medicine-show routines were regarded as an embarrassment by younger members of the band, which included fiddler Clayton McMichen (1900–70), who was determined to turn the old-time fiddle band into a modern swing unit. Yet, thanks to the singing of Riley Puckett and the brilliant harmonized fiddling of McMichen, Lowe Stokes (1898–1983) and Bert Layne, The Skillet Lickers were the bestselling string band of the 1920s, both with musical records like ‘Pass Around The Bottle And We’ll All Take A Drink’ and ‘Watermelon On The Vine’ and with the comedy sketch series ‘A Corn Licker Still In Georgia’ – about making moonshine and dodging the law during Prohibition. The band broke up in 1931 but Tanner led another line-up at an exhilarating swansong session in 1934.

Styles & Forms | Early Years of Hillbilly | Country
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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen


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