If you’re not familiar with National Heritage Award recipient Bob Holt, he was an old-time fiddler and dairy farmer from the Missouri Ozarks. He lived near Ava in Douglas County in Southwest Missouri. Bob to me was the quintessential Ozark square dance fiddler. He played notey tunes as you’d expect from any Missouri fiddler, but he played at blistering speed as required by the square dancers in his neck of the woods. It was a symbiotic relationship involving tightly danced square sets, rhythmic jingle taps and hi-velocity fiddling (140 bpm!) provided by Bob.
This video was recorded at an Elderhostel program in Branson around 2000. Bob’s friend and musical companion Alvie Dooms accompanies on guitar. Both Bob and Alvie were masters of dry humor and this comes through in their comments between tunes.
Tunes included in the video are Over the Waves, schottische, Old Indiana, Red Hills Polka, Hoe-Down, Arkansas Traveler, Carroll County Blues, Waltz, Missouri Waltz, Turkey in the Straw, Fiddler’s Dream, The Old Spinning Wheel, Indian on a Stump, (Balfa Bros. tune), Rye Whiskey, Sugar in the Gourd and Tennessee Waltz.
Thanks to Robert McGill of Reeds Spring for preserving and sharing this important material.
Take a look at these videos of Bob playing for square dances in Ava and Cabool. Wow!