Bob Walters - Drunken Wagoneer (MSOTFA 106)

by Bob Walters - fiddle

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about

Robert E. “Uncle Bob” Walters was born on June 16, 1889, in Decatur, Burt County, Nebraska. Bob’s grandfather, Ike Walters, and his dad William Wilson “Wilse” Walters were both noted fiddlers. Fiddling was an integral part of Bob’s life from early childhood. His brothers Sant, Harold and Hiram all played fiddle as well as rhythm instruments. The entire family spent many hours honing the craft of old-time music.
Bob married Goldie Brockway in 1910 and their home was soon filled with music. All of Bob’s children were instrumentalists: Elna Mae played piano, Steve played banjo, and Eunice played piano. Goldie also accompanied Bob for many years, toting a pump organ by horse drawn wagon back and forth to the dances.
Walters had a long career playing over the radio. He took his first job around 1935 at station KFAB in Lincoln, Nebraska. He had won a contest sponsored by the radio station and was asked to stay on, which he did for about two years. Bob also won a number of contests sponsored by KFNF in Shenandoah, Iowa – so many in fact that the other contestants protested and Bob was finally hired as a judge and “guest artist”. He competed in radio contests in a number of other cities, including Omaha and Sioux City. His last regular radio stint was on KMMJ out of Grand Island, Nebraska, where he played from the mid-1940s until around 1954.
Bob was a consistent winner in local contests, at one point having won 34 out of the 38 he had entered. Perhaps his biggest win was in the 1931 Tri-State Championship held in Sioux City, Iowa, where he took first prize, along with a silver cup. Walters had an extensive repertoire of tunes learned from many different sources. At one time he had written down over three hundred tunes for which he knew the names and he played many others, for which there were no titles.
In 1941 after Bob retired, he and Goldie moved from Grand Island to Tekamah. His retirement was full of music and many fiddlers graced his parlor, including Casey Jones and Cyril Stinnett. He was the regular fiddler for the big square dances in Ralston, Nebraska, in the late 40s and early 50s. Bob Walters died on December 26, 1960.

credits

released April 21, 2015

Biography - Bill Shull. Thanks to Dwight Lamb and R. P. Christeson for preserving and generously sharing the original recordings used in this project.

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Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers Association Missouri

The Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers Association works to promote and preserve the traditional fiddle music of Missouri and the surrounding region. Your purchase here supports those activities.

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