Alabama, blind, Brandon Kirk, Calhoun County, Clyde Haley, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, genealogy, history, Jack Haley, John Hartford, Lawrence Haley, Mona Haley, Noah Haley, Ralph Haley, Rogersville, Ugee Postalwait, West Virginia, writing
Ugee said, “I never will forget the first time I seen Ella. I’d fixed cabbage for supper — big head of cabbage. Next morning, Ed said, ‘Where’s the cabbage?’ I said, ‘Well you don’t want cabbage for breakfast.’ ‘Oh,’ Ella said, ‘We love cabbage for breakfast.’ I went and got that cabbage and heated it up. I wish you’d a seen her eating that cabbage. I didn’t know anyone ate cabbage for breakfast. I was a fixing eggs and bacon.”
Brandon asked about Ella’s appearance.
“Ella wasn’t no bad looking woman at all,” Ugee said. “She was a nice looking woman, I thought. When I seen her, she had had three kids and she was a little heavier then. She kept herself nice-looking. She liked to wear nice dresses and she liked to wear hose. You’d be surprised to see her wash them kids and clean them. Now really you would. She’d pick them kids up and say, ‘Come here, you’ve got a dirty face.’ How she knowed they had a dirty face, I don’t know.”
I asked Ugee if Ed ever got into any fights, because his face looked lop-sided in one of his pictures.
“Aw, he’s fell a lot of times,” she said. “I’ve seen his boy Clyde and that Ralph — wasn’t his son, but he called him his son — I’ve seen them lead him across logs and let him fall down and laugh about it. Yeah, they didn’t care for doing anything like that. No wonder when he’d get up, if he could get to one of them, he’d whoop one of them. They was into everything. I never seen Lawrence or Jack either one into anything. But you turned Ralph or Clyde loose anyplace, they might ‘weigh’ chickens and kill your chickens. Maybe put a string around their neck and hold them up and maybe kill two or three hens — choke them to death. Why, Ed’d get mad. Ella would, too, over things like that. She’d say, ‘My, my, my.’ They’d run in and grab their purse and take their money. Ella’d buy anything they wanted.”
Even though Ed’s kids treated him rough, Ugee said he “liked to joke and talk and laugh. I never seen Ed Haley mad but once in my life. Me and him almost fit, too, that time. He whooped Clyde. He oughta whipped Clyde but not like he did. Clyde aimed to jerk him off the porch. If he had, he’d a killed him. And he jerked his belt off and he went to whooping Clyde. And he was whooping hard. He was trying to beat him to death. I walked out on the porch and said, ‘That’s enough, Ed.’ And he said, ‘Damn him. He tried to kill me.’ I grabbed a hold of the belt. He said, ‘Ugee, let loose of it.’ I said, ‘I ain’t letting loose of it. You’ve whooped him enough and I don’t want to see no more of that. While I’m living, don’t you ever hit one of them kids with a belt. I don’t allow that.’ He said, ‘I’ll whip them with a belt when I’m damn good and ready.’ I said, ‘You’ll not whip them here — not like that.’ I mean, he was beating him.”
Brandon asked if the other boys were mean to Ed or ever got whipped and Ugee said, “Clyde’s the only one I ever seen him whoop. They was about to send him to reform school — stealing, I think. He musta been about fourteen years old. That there Ralph, he was ornerier than… That Ralph even shot hisself with a gun to see how it’d feel to be shot. That was up where we lived. My mother doctored him. Mona, she was ornery. She’d steal off her mom. Take stuff out and destroy it. She was pretty as she could be. She’d just look at you as if to say, ‘I’ll do as I please.’ Ed swore she was just like her aunt on her mother’s side. And Noah was sneaking — dangerous sneaking. He was into everything and he’d lie. Noah was awful bad about gambling.”
Ugee really contrasted Ralph, Clyde, Noah, and Mona with Jack and Lawrence.
“Jack and Lawrence was gentlemen,” she said. “None of them come up with Lawrence, far as I’m concerned. He would lead his mom and dad anyplace. I can see how careful he was. That little hand of his leading his mother around this mud hole, ’round this log and stuff. Really, I’m not taking up for him because he’s dead or anything like that. I always called him ‘my little boy.’ He was always littler than the rest of them.”
Alabama, Arnoldsburg, Ashland, Bill Day, Brandon Kirk, Buttermilk Mountain, Calhoun County, Catlettsburg, Cincinnati, Doc White, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, England, fiddlers, fiddling, George Hayes, Grand Ole Opry, Great Depression, Harvey Hicks, history, Jean Thomas, Jilson Setters, John Hartford, Kentucky, Laury Hicks, Minnie Hicks, Mona Haley, music, Nashville, Nora Martin, Rogersville, Rosie Day, Sweet Florena, Ugee Postalwait, West Virginia, writing
I asked Ugee if Laury ever listened to the Grand Ole Opry and she said, “Yes. He got to hear it the year before he died. He got a radio. Let’s see, what is his name? George Hayes. We had Hayeses that lived down at Arnoldsburg. And he brought Dad up a little radio when Dad was down sick.”
Now, did Ed Haley ever hear the Grand Ole Opry?
“Oh, yes. He heard it down in Kentucky.”
Did he like it?
“No. He went to Cincinnati one time. They was a gonna make records — him and Ella — but they wanted to pick out the one for him to play. Nobody done him that a way. So he said, ‘I’ll pick my own.’ He went to Nashville once. I don’t know as he went to the Grand Ole Opry but he went to Nashville. Somebody drove him, took him down. But when he found out what they done, he didn’t have no use for that.”
Ugee made it clear that she had missed out on most of Ed’s wild times. She knew nothing about his running around with people like Doc White or chasing women. She did say he was bad about telling “dirty jokes.”
“Many a time he’s told me, ‘All right, Ugee. You better get in the kitchen. I’m gonna tell a dirty joke.’ And he’d tell some kind and you could hear the crowd out there just a dying over it. Ella’d say, ‘Mmm, I’ll go to the kitchen, too.'”
I asked Ugee about Ed’s drinking and she told the story again about her brother Harvey giving him drinks to play “Sweet Florena”. She sang some of it for me:
Oncest I bought your clothes, sweet Florena.
Oncest I bought your clothes, sweet Florene
Oncest I bought your clothes but now I ain’t got no dough
And I have to travel on, sweet Florene.
After finishing that verse, Ugee said, “That’s part of the song. And Ella didn’t like to hear that song. I think it reminded her of some of his old girlfriends or something. And she didn’t like for him to play ‘Buttermilk Mountain’, either. He’d throw back his head and laugh. She’d say, ‘Don’t play that thing. I don’t want to hear that thing.’ But she’d second it. She’d draw her eyes close together.”
Brandon asked Ugee about her aunt Rosie Hicks, who was Laury’s sister and a close friend to the Haley family. She said Aunt Rosie was working in Ed’s home in Catlettsburg when she met Blind Bill Day (her sixth husband) during the early years of the Depression. It was a rocky marriage, according to Rosie’s only child, Nora (Davis) Martin.
“I was gonna tell you about him hitting Aunt Rosie,” Ugee said. “He came through the house and Aunt Rosie was upstairs quilting and all at once — Nora said she was in the kitchen cooking — and she heard the awfulest noise a coming down the stairs and said, ‘Mommy had old Bill Day by the leg and was bringing him bumpety-bump down the stairs, dragging him. Got him in the kitchen. He just walked up and hit her with that left hand right in the mouth. She just jerked his britches off of him and started to sit his bare hind-end on the cook stove — and it red hot.’ And Nora said, ‘Oh, Mommy, don’t do that. You’ll kill him.’ She said, ‘That’s what I’m a trying to do.’ And she grabbed her mother and him both and jerked them away from there.”
Ugee was more complimentary of Day’s colleague, Jean Thomas.
“I’ve got cards from her and letters and pictures,” she said. “I’ve been to her house — stayed all night with her. She was nice. She was too good to Bill Day. She spent money on him and give him the name of Jilson Setters. Sent him to England and he played for the queen over there.”
Brandon wondered if Bill Day was a very good fiddler.
“Well, I’m gonna tell ya, I stayed all night with Aunt Rosie and Bill Day one time,” Ugee said. “They lived on 45th Street in Ashland, Kentucky. My brother took me and my mom down there and he hadn’t seen Aunt Rosie for a long time. She’d married again and she lived down there in Ashland, Kentucky. And we aimed to see Ed and Ella, but they was in Cincinnati playing music. That’s who we went to see. So Harvey, he filled hisself up with beer. That’s the first time I ever seen a quart bottle of beer. Anyway, we went up there to hear Uncle Bill play. Harvey laid down on the bed like he was sick. He wasn’t sick: he wanted me just to listen to that fellow play that fiddle. He knowed I’d get sick of it. And he played that song about the Shanghai rooster. I never got so tired in my life of hearing anything as I did that. He only played three pieces. Harvey laid there, he’d say, ‘Play that again. I love it.’ And I had to sit there and listen to it, ’cause I didn’t want to embarrass him by getting up and walking out. I walked over to Harvey and I said, ‘You’re not sick and you’re not tired, so you get up.’ Said, ‘Ugee, I’ve got an awful headache. I drove all the way down here.’ I said, ‘That bottle that you drank give you the headache, so you get up and you listen to your Uncle Bill.’ He went to the toilet. I said, ‘I’m telling you right now — you’re gonna listen to Uncle Bill if I have to listen to him.’ Harvey said, ‘I’m not listening to him no longer. I’ve heard all I want to hear of Uncle Bill.’ I got Harvey up and then I run and jumped in the bed and I covered my head up with a pillow. But we stayed all night and Aunt Rosie went home with us. She told him she’s a going up to Nora’s, but she went to Calhoun with us in the car, and I reckon while she’s gone old Bill tore up the house. I don’t think they lived together very long after that ’cause it wasn’t very long till she come back home. It was home there at my dad’s.”
Brandon asked if Day ever played with Ed in Calhoun County and Ugee said, “Oh, no. If he had, Dad woulda kicked him out.”
Okay, I thought: so Laury had no tolerance for lesser fiddlers. What about Ed?
“Ed Haley, if somebody was playing a piece of music and they wasn’t hitting it right, he’d stick his hands in his pockets and say, ‘Goddamn, goddamn,'” Ugee said. “Dad’d say, ‘Boy, ain’t he good?’ Ed would cuss a blue streak. Then after the man was gone, whoever it was, Dad and Ed would go to mocking him. Dad and Ed Haley was like brothers. They loved each other. Ella and Mom, too. Jack was the baby the first time I seen Ed after he was married. They was expecting Lawrence, so they named him after my dad. Then when she had Mona, why instead of calling her Minnie, she named her after Mom.”
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As Ugee spoke about her life, I pulled out the Laury Hicks fiddle and began to play. For Ugee, hearing it painted pictures and conjured up images from long ago. Her eyes teared up, full of emotion and melancholy.
“I never thought I’d hear Dad’s fiddle played again,” she said, after I played one tune.
For the next half-hour, I played for her, intermittently asking things like, “Did you ever hear Ed play ‘The Star Spangled Banner’?”
“I certainly have.”
What about “Dixie”?
“Oh my god, yes. Him and Dad both played ‘Dixie’.”
Did they play “West Fork Gals”?
“Oh, yeah. I don’t think they was any fiddling pieces back then they didn’t know.”
Before putting the fiddle back in the case, I asked what Ed did when he needed repairs on his fiddles.
“They didn’t work on their fiddles very much,” Ugee said. “They kept their fiddles in good shape. I’ve seen Dad string the bow hair off a horse’s tail. Seen him do that a many a time. He’d string up the bows for Ed, too. Dad could do all of that.”
Did Ed trade fiddles a lot?
“Oh, yeah. Anybody that came along. He’s been there with three or four. He used to come and try to trade some of them off to Dad. Sometimes Dad’d trade with him, sometimes he didn’t. I’ve seen my dad have as high as seven fiddles.”
I showed Ed’s fiddle to Ugee and she said, “Ed Haley got that fiddle from Dad. Ed traded him a real dark-looking fiddle. Ed got my guitar, too. He wanted it for Ralph.”
Brandon asked Ugee about her father’s background, a very important thing considering his strong presence in Ed’s life. She said he was born in 1880 to Washington and Elizabeth (McCune) Hicks in Calhoun County.
“Well, he come very near to getting killed when he was young,” she said. “Perry Meadows stabbed him seven times with a knife right around the heart in a fight. They didn’t think he’d live at all. He told Perry if he lived, ‘I’ll get you.’ He liked to beat Perry to death after he got older. Old Mrs. Meadows was gonna indict Dad over it it but Dad rode a pony horse and went with Ab Moss’ mother to Mount Airy, North Carolina. Back then, they wasn’t no roads — just trails. Took his big dog with him named Ring. He come very near to beating Perry to death, though, I guess. They was friends afterwards. Perry lived down the road just about half a mile below us. Dad never cared that much about Perry but he treated him right.”
Ugee spoke little about Laury’s bachelor days but implied that his musical skill and talent at square dancing made him popular with the ladies.
“They wouldn’t have a square dance in the country without having Laury Hicks,” she bragged.
She felt Laury inherited his musical talent from his mother’s side of the family, the McCunes. Laury’s uncle Jim McCune, who lived at the infamous “Booger Hole,” had musical children: John was a good fiddler on two or three tunes, while Jasper was the best banjoist in the area. Another son Tom “could play the banjo, but he was the best whistler I ever heard in my life. Dad give him a dollar a day to come up and whistle for him when he was bad sick.”
“All them McCunes could play music and they could dance, too,” Ugee said, before adding that they were mostly known as singers.
In 1904, Laury married Minnie Shaver. Because he was so close to his mother (he was her “favorite”), he remained living at home with his new bride. Years later, he played his fiddle and sang for his mother at her deathbed. Ugee sang all she could remember of the song:
There was an old man, he had a wooden leg.
He had no tobaccer but tobaccer he’d beg.”
“That was Grandpap Hicks’ favorite and the night that Granny died in 1923 I was putting her to bed and he was just see-sawing on the fiddle. She said ‘Laury, play your dad’s tune,’ and he said, ‘Oh Mam, I have to change the key.’ She said, ‘Don’t make no difference. Play Wash’s piece.’ I never will forget: I went to the kitchen and he was playing that and he hollered, ‘Hey, Ugee! Come here quick!’ And I come back in and seen they was something wrong with Granny. And I run and aimed to work with her…she was gone.”
Ugee couldn’t remember the title of her grandfather’s favorite tune, nor any more words to it, but Brandon later found those lyrics in a song recorded by Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers called “Hinkey Dinkey Dee”.
Akron, Alabama, blind, Brandon Kirk, Calhoun County, Christmas, crime, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, fiddle, fiddling, Harvey Hicks, history, John Hartford, Johnny Hager, Laury Hicks, Marietta, measles, Milt Haley, music, Ohio, Parkersburg, Rogersville, Soldiers Joy, Spencer, Stinson, Ugee Postalwait, Webster Springs, West Virginia, writing
On April 12, 1997, Brandon and I went to see Ugee Postalwait in Rogersville, Alabama. For the most part, she repeated a lot of the same stories I’d heard before, maybe with a new detail or two here and there. We began with her memories of Ed and Johnny Hager, who came to her father’s house around 1913. Brandon asked her specific questions about Johnny, which caused her to say: “He was a little short fella, slender. He was a nice person. Well-mannered. He was a good banjo-player. John Hager was a good friend of Dad and Mom’s both — all of us. Us kids, too. He used to write Mom and Dad. He wrote them from Webster Springs and he wrote them from Greenbrier. Different places where he was at. John wrote a letter back home and said he quit traveling with Ed ’cause Ed drank. He couldn’t take it. I’ve often wondered and studied about what become of him.”
Later, Ed sometimes came with a guitar player, but Ugee couldn’t recall his name.
Brandon was curious to know how far Ed traveled with his music, so he asked if Ed and Ella ever played around Parkersburg.
“I’m pretty sure they have,” Ugee said, “and Marietta, too. Harvey took them up to Akron to play music and they crowded that street so bad up there that they passed a law up there, you couldn’t stand on the corner and play music any more. They wouldn’t allow them to stand on the street. They had to move. See, they was such a crowd got around them.”
I asked, “How much do you reckon Ed would take in of a night?”
Ugee said, “I have seen Ed and Ella take in as much as a hundred dollars right there in Spencer.”
Wow, were they using a cup or a hat to collect money?
“They never used no cup. Just sit a box down or hat down and people come through and throwed money in it. Anyone that come along and dropped money in there, they’d play just the same.”
Would he play me anything I’d ask for?
“Why sure. He’d play it for you and then maybe if you asked for it again he might play you something else and call it that. He didn’t care to rename songs, like ‘Soldiers Joy’. He might call that ‘Runnin’ the Soldier’ or ‘Runnin’ the Track’ or something like that.”
I reminded Ugee that she heard Ed say he just picked up a fiddle and started playing it when he was small and she said, “Oh, yeah. He’d sit in the floor and play on that fiddle. Somebody brought something in that had two strings on it. He wasn’t very old. Just barely a walking, he said. Just like him a talking to me one time, telling me about his dad. Telling about them a lynching him. He said, ‘Goddamn him, they oughta lynched him.’ And I never asked him why. Why would a man say that about his dad? Maybe he was thinking about that man putting him in that barrel of water and causing him to be blind. But Ella’s eyes, they was ate out with blue vitriol.”
Ugee fully believed that measles had caused Ed’s blindness because they almost “put her blind,” too, when she was a girl.
“I must have been about five years old,” she said. “Well, Ed musta been there, too. Musta been the same year he was there that I had the measles and I went blind in my eyes. Couldn’t see nothing for three or four days. Had Granny’s bed set up by the side of the fireplace. I remember that instead of springs, it had rope. And Christmas time come up. And Dad, he played Santa Claus, I reckon. He got me jellybeans. I couldn’t see nothing for two or three weeks. I didn’t think I’d ever see again. Back then, they called them the ‘big’ measles and the ‘little’ measles. The big ones, they called the German measles. And I had them bad. Harvey come around — he was older than I was — he’d say, ‘You stink’, ’cause he could smell that fever on me.”
Brandon asked Ugee what year she was born in, to kind of help us better understand the time frame of her memories.
“I was born in 1907,” she said. “I got married in 1924. I left and went to Akron, but we come back ever month for a long time. If we knowed Ed was a coming in, we was there. I moved back in 1930. We lived on the farm until 1941. Then we went to a farm at the mouth of Stinson.”
At some point, Ugee moved back to Akron, where she lived when I first met her in 1991.
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I took my fiddle out of the case and played for Ugee. A few tunes later, she said she liked my bow hold.
“Him and Dad both held the bow down there on the end,” she said. “Dad and Ed neither one never had no use for anyone that took hold of the bow way up toward the middle. They didn’t like that at all. And Ed and Dad neither one didn’t like for someone to put their fiddle down against their chest.”
Ugee paused, then said, “You’re with the fiddle like I was with the guitar after I got it. I set and fooled with it all the time — any time I had time away from dishes or anything, I’d set on the porch and play that guitar. I wanted to learn it and nobody to learn me and I learned it myself. I done the same thing with the banjo. Of course, Dad could thump the banjo some and play it a little bit. But when I got that guitar and changed over to it, then I wanted to learn that guitar.”
When I played “Yellow Barber” for Ugee she got choked up and said, “That sounds so good, John. You don’t know how good that sounds. I’ve been thinking about my dad and them all morning. I’d just have given anything if we’d had tapes of Dad.”
I told her that I’d been researching some tunes I suspected of being in Ed’s repertoire (many from the Lambert Collection) and she said, “Ed knew a lot of them. I’ve heard so many of his pieces, now I’m getting to where I’m forgetting a lot of pieces.”
When I played “Girl With the Blue Dress On”, she said, “I can’t get that one in my head. Some part of it sounds natural. Yeah, I’ve heard that song. There’s words to that: ‘She come down from Arkansas with a blue dress on. Prettiest girl I ever saw, she came down from Arkansas.’ Who was that old man that used to come and play that on the banjo? I believe it was Carey Smith from around Euler.”
I next played “Flying Cloud” for Ugee, who said, “Ed didn’t call it that. I can’t remember what he called it but he never called it ‘Flying Cloud’. Course Ed was pretty good to change names on you, too.”
I told her that Lawrence and I had always figured Ed’s “Catlettsburg” had another name, and she agreed.
“Well in fact he almost said he put the name on that piece ’cause they lived down there, you know,” Ugee said. “You see, most of them old fellas, if they’d hear a tune and they learnt to play it, then they’d change the name. Just like ‘Carroll County Blues’, we called it ‘Calhoun County’. Just whatever county you was a living in.”
I started playing “Calhoun County Blues”, fully aware that it was one of Ugee’s favorite tunes. She watched me quietly with an excited expression on her face.
“That’s my piece,” she said to Harold. “I could crack my heels to that.”
The next thing I knew, she rose out of her chair and started dancing.
I stopped and said, “Now, wait a minute. Don’t hurt yourself.”
She told me to go on, though.
“I didn’t think you could get your feet up that high,” Harold joked her.
Ugee said, “I was a dancer at one time. Never got tired.”
I continued playing the tune for a few minutes, then asked if Ed ever danced.
“I never seen Ed dance, but I’ll tell you what,” she said. “He could keep time with his feet. I can remember so well that foot coming down and then when he got older he’d pat his feet. He’d keep both of them going. He didn’t make a big noise with them or anything. Just give him a drink of whiskey or two and then he’d come down on that there fiddle and you ought to hear Ella then.”
I asked Ugee if Ed was pretty good at making up parts to tunes.
“Oh, yeah,” she said, not quite understanding my question. “He made up a lot of his tunes and then give them a name. And Dad would do the same. They was sitting around and they’d try different things. ‘Listen to this’ and ‘Put that note in there.’ I always did think they made up that ‘Hell Among the Yearlings’. Ab Moss lived down below us — very religious man — and he was there with his wife and Homer, the oldest boy, and Abner looked over to Ed and said, ‘That’s a pretty piece. What do you call that?’ and they said ‘Hell Among the Yearlings’. I always did think they made that up to aggravate him. Then they just cackled and laughed after they left. ‘Hell Among the Yearlings’, said, ‘That’s a pretty good name for it.’ I can see them yet a sitting on the porch laughing about it.”
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Early one fall morning, I loaded up the Cadillac and drove south to the home of Harold Postalwait in Rogersville, Alabama. Harold, I knew, had a very special visitor — his mother, 88-year-old Ugee Postalwait of Akron, Ohio. Ugee remembered Ed Haley as far back as the Bull Moose era when he used to visit her father in Calhoun County, West Virginia. I hadn’t seen her since a visit to her home four years earlier and was anxious to pick her brain for new stories or tunes and show her what I had learned about Ed’s fiddling. Not long after my arrival, after we’d all said our “hellos,” Harold pulled out the picture of Laury Hicks and his family at John Hicks’ in Douglas, West Virginia.
“That’s my dad,” Ugee said, pointing to her father’s image. “I can remember when he wore the mustache.”
I wondered if the picture was taken before Ed was acquainted with Laury.
“Dad met Ed before I can remember,” Ugee said. “I don’t know whether that was before Mom and him was married. It was after Grandpap died, they said. Dad musta been about eighteen or something like that. Josh Joplin brought Ed into that country and told him they was a boy down there he wanted him to hear play the fiddle. Said, ‘He thinks he can play but he can’t play,’ and went in and had Dad to tune up his fiddle and played them two pieces. He played ‘Sally Goodin’ and I think it was the ‘Cacklin’ Hen’. Ed said, ‘Boy he’s showin’ me off.’ That was all they was to it. And that old man you know had told him a lie.”
I asked Ugee, “So Ed was coming to Ivydale before you were born?” and she said, “I have an idea he was because I wasn’t quite old enough to go to school when I first remember him. The first time I ever remember seeing him was when him and John Hager was there. I bet he wasn’t over 27 years old, when I think about it. I would say that was — I was born in 1907 — that was about 1913 or something like that. He was tall, slender. I can remember back when I was four years old real good and I remember him just as plain as if it was yesterday. We had a dirt road to the house and when he went to leave in the spring — they stayed all winter — he was walking behind John Hager and me and my brother Harvey run right to the bank and waved by at him. We’d been crying after him. I can see him walking along… But he carried that there fiddle in a flour bag. I never seen Ed with a fiddle in a case till after him and Ella was married. He always carried it in a flour poke.”
I told Ugee that I had worked a lot with Lawrence Haley in his last days trying to find out about Ed’s technique. Before I could show her what I had come up with, she started telling me what she remembered along those lines. She said Ed played with the fiddle under his chin — he hated when musicians “put the fiddle down low” — and turned it occasionally. He held the bow way out on its end, she said, and played a lot smoother than her father, a tremendous concession for a daughter to make. I asked if Ed played smoothly when she first saw him.
“Oh naturally he got better as years went by, but he was good then,” she said.
She gave me the impression that Ed’s fiddling had a lot of Irish-style “ornaments” in his early days (in the older, more European tradition), which gradually disappeared over the years — probably due to artistic peer pressure from radio fiddlers like Arthur Smith and Clayton McMichen. Smith and McMichen were extremely popular during the last few decades of Haley’s life.