River Rats and Clodhoppers
Dad -- Clifford O. "Cliff" Harrison (1904-1974), w/ fiddle and some pick-up band buddies (all unk.). Working the vegetable fields around Brawley, CA in the '30s. Dad's band, The Vagabond Plowboys, were based out of Charleston, IL in the 40s and early 50s. He played left-handed over the bass. Click here for a pic of Cliff and his three rowdy boys with a nice haul from the Embarrass ("am-braw") river near Charleston.
Mom -- "The Singing Cowgirl" Pauline Edna (Mason) Harrison (1916-1998), c. 1940. Mom met Dad at WDZ radio station in Tuscola, IL where they also were in the company of Smiley Burnett. And at right, at about age 5 or 6. Awwwwww....
The Indian Creek Delta Boys, c 1983. L-R: Gaye Harrison (fdl, mand.), John "Blue J" Bishop (gtr), Lynn "Chirps" Smith (mand.), Garry Harrison (fdl), John "Doc" Holiday (gtr, bass), Steve Harrison (bjo). Click HERE for another pick and brief anthology of that thoroughly dangerous oldtime stringband.
Links to More Pics:
Musical Roots: The Mason (Mom's) side of the family. Both gene pools were musical. For a further glimpse of Grandpa John Mason's work, click HERE to see a pic of when he collapsed a bridge with a steam engine.
Pappy: Steve Harrison records Harvey "Pappy" Taylor of Effingham, IL., c. 1977. Nearly all of The Indian Creek Delta Boys oldtime stringband's repertoir was field collected rarities from grand oldtimers such as Pappy, who was a veritable gold mine of rare old pieces. We sent a sample cassette tape to the Library of Congress Folklife Division and they responded with a grant to "go get some more -- we don't have any of these." The field recording project, which spanned several years and covered Illinois "river to river" and from east-central hometown Charleston south to Cairo, is now in the Library of Congress and Eastern Illinois University's Tarble Arts Center.
Photo from the book "Cultural Conservation -- The Protection of Cultural Heritage in the United States" (Library of Congress, 1983).
Photo by Carl Fleischhauer.
Bill Livers -- A great old friend and oldtime fiddler now long gone.
Garry Harrison (1954-2012) -- Mementoes of a brother and Crick Delter.
And now, the present generation. Molly Harrison, b. 1980 to Linda and Steve Harrison. About 3 years old at the time and already into mischief. Guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. And at age 18 with fiance Brian Keene. Molly is not short, Brian is 6' 5".
Cosmetics skills have improved a good bit, but the fun is still only a snappy-eyed wink away. Since the pic on the right was taken, Molly and Brian have married (Oct. 2000), birthed Emmalin and Lillyan, and moved to West Virginia. The apple certainly doesn't fall far from the tree, judging by the two handfuls Molly finds herself with in Emme and Lily.
More pics to be added as soon as I get one of them round tuits.
Back to the Jonboat Journal
© Since 1999 by Steve Harrison. All rights reserved.