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“J.T.” (Perkins – Style Fidding)
J.T. PERKINS – Fiddle
ALGIE SURRATT – Guitar, CLAUDIE HOLT – Guitar
GERALD SURRATT – Banjo, J.P. JAMES – Bass
1 LOVE NOBODY 2:12
2 HOP LIGHT LADIES 2:17
3 50 YEARS AGO WALTZ 3:42
4 TURKEY IN THE STRAW 2:47
5 DONE GONE 1:54
6 BLACK MOUNTAIN RAG 2:52
7 BLACK AND WHITE RAG 1:52
8 REMINGTON RIDE 1:49
9 LIZA JANE 2:05
10 ROSE OF SHARON WALTZ 2:26
11 SAY OLD MAN 2:43
12 NEW BROOM 2:04
13 ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL 3:48
I feel honored in being asked to write some line about my good friend, J.T. Perkins. Our acquaintance is comparatively short, but during these few years I have grown to admire this quiet man from Arab Alabama. His dedication to his fiddle music has helped him emerge as one of the best fiddlers in the U.S.A.
I first met J.T. in 1970, a very casual meeting at Renfro Valley, the day following his first contest win there. In fact I did not hear him play as he was preparing to leave for home and I had just gottne there and was backstage following a Roy Acuff show in the old barn. Several months later Dr. Perry Harris and I were in Athens, Alabama attending the TVOTFA Convention and while walking through the parking area Doc’s ears perked up and he said “I hear someone playing a Howdy tune.” We found J.T. a few pickup trucks away doing a dandy job on “Rutland Reel.” (He got around to playing another appropriate tune before we parted, “Doc Harris Hornpipe.”)
J.T. has won just about every major contest held in the Southeast during the past few years. For example, he is one of the only three fiddlers to have been crowned Tennessee Valley Fiddle King two times, and is also a two-time winner at Renfro Valley to name only a few. He was second-place winner of the prestigeous Grand Masters in 1973, and performed at the Smithsonian Institution Folk Festival in 1976.
Although he has won many contests and is certain to win more, he cannot be classified as only a contest fiddler. J.T. has not limited himself to old time tunes only. Two tunes on this album, “Black Mountain Rag” and “Orange Blossom Special,” are not often done by him. When he does them, however, his versions are among (if not the) best as attested by this album. Another description J.T. is versatility. He is capable of dipping into a Gimble swing, some Clements jazz or a hoedown of Howdy, with no break in musical quality.
J.T. admits that a great deal of his playing has been influenced by Howdy Forrester. He played Howdy records and heard him on radio for years, but had never met him until 1972, when I was privileged to have these two in my home for their first jam session.
J.T. is backed up on this album by a fine group of musicians I have known Algie and Gerald Surratt all their lives as we attended the same high school, Cedar Hill, in northeast Mississippi. Algie is the “premier” amateur guitar picker in the Southeast. First place wins at contests throughout the south attest to this. He was also to be a featured performer during intermission at 1978 Grand Masters Fiddlers Contest at Opryland. Gerald, one of the better amateur banjo pickers around, is self taught and has accomplished a great deal while he mostly “just picks for fun.” Claudie Holt, guitar, and J.P. James, bass, along with Algie and Gerald, blend with the “perfection” artistry of J.T. to make this a well-balanced, well-prepared, and most important of all, a good-to-the-ear album.
H.G. Roberts, F.F. (Fiddle Fan)
Recording: Boutwell Studion; Birmingham, Alabama
Produced by: J.T. Perkins, Algie Surratt, and Steve Davis
Technical Assistance: Bill Trigg, Kim-Pat Enterprises
Cover Design: “By Ellyn” (Trigg), Kim-Pat Enterprises
Photograpy: Gerlad Surratt, 4729 Hillsdale, Olive Branch, Mississippi 38654