Harvey "Pappy" Taylor

A dear friend and virtual gold mine of rare old Midwestern tunes.

Steve Harrison records Harvey "Pappy" Taylor, Effingham, IL, at Pappy's home.
From the book "Cultural Conservation - The Protection of Cultural Heritage in the United States." LOC, Washington, DC, 1983, p. 18.
Photo by Carl Fleischhauer, Library Of Congress (LOC) Folklife Center, 1977.

Pappy Taylor (1894-1987) was a veritable gold mine of rare, previously unrecorded and historically significant fiddle tunes indigenous to the US Midwest. Pappy was at age 83 for this field recording session and could still milk the fiddle with an alacrity young musicians in their prime would envy. A good number of the tunes the Indian Creek Delta Boys oldtime stringband recorded on their commercial albums were the gifts of Pappy Taylor.

The prime mission of the "Crick Delters," and subsequently the Airtight Oldtime Stringband (2004-2007), and currently The New Mules, was to learn, work up as a band, and put back into circulation the rare old tunes taught to us by Pappy and eventually scores of other senior Midwest fiddlers.

The tape recorder in the photo above is no slight piece of equipment. It's a Nagra half-track reel-to-reel recorder that was loaned to us by the Folklife Center of the Library of Congress to aid the field recording project. The Folklife Center was very pleased with the fiddle tune recordings shared back with them, which are now archived there as a significant representation of early Midwestern music and pre-radio fiddling styles.

Pappy and all our old friends and mentors are now honored by the May, 2007 publication of "Dear Old Illinois," an enormously important book and 3-CD set authored and published by Garry Harrison, fiddler for the former Indian Creek Delta Boys.

Pappy (far right) and other bandmembers of The Down State Ramblers. Other personnel unknown.
Date of photo unknown. The Down State Ramblers were based out of Effingham, Illinois.