U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd: Mountain Fiddler

The late Robert C. Byrd had another fascinating side: a love of fiddling that he acquired at an early age growing up in the mountains of West Virginia. Originally influenced by Clark Kessinger and other great musicians, he had a passion for old-time rural string music and kept a fiddle in his office for moments of relaxation.


In 1977, the Senator was persuaded to make a commercial recording of some of his music. Producer Barry Poss (later to become founder and president of Sugar Hill Records) brought in three members of the popular Bluegrass band the Country Gentlemen to provide backing for Byrd – Doyle Lawson on guitar, James Bailey on banjo, and Spider Gilliam on bass fiddle. The record which originally appeared as a long-play album – came out as County 769 and was well received. The current CD release includes all of the songs and tunes that appeared on the original “Mountain Fiddler” LP, plus the addition of notes by producer Barry Poss and Alan Jabbour, the director of the American Folklife Center, who was instrumental in getting Senator Byrd recorded.


The CD, “Mountain Fiddler,” contains 14 tracks:

  • Red Bird
  • Turkey in the Straw
  • There’s More Pretty Girls Than One
  • Cripple Creek
  • Forked Deer
  • Don’t Let Your Sweet Love Die
  • Cumberland Gap
  • Rye Whiskey
  • Durang’s Hornpipe
  • Roving Gambler
  • Old Joe Clark
  • Wish I Had Stayed in the Wagon Yard
  • Come Sundown She’ll be Gone
  • Will the Circle be Unbroken


SKU: CD012 Category:

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