|Smith's Garage Fiddle Band|
Following a different thread, we find that Samuel Peacock – a barbershop owner – recorded Beaumont Rag with his group the Smith’s Garage Fiddle Band as early as 1928. The string band’s repertoire consisted mostly of Texas style fiddle tunes such as Done Gone, Tom and Jerry, Gray Eagle, and Limerock. The East Texas Serenaders, led by their fiddler Huggin D. Williams accompanied by guitar, tenor banjo and Henry Bogan on a 3-string cello, recorded Beaumont Rag several years later in 1937. Texas Western Swing fiddling superstar Bob Wills recorded Beaumont Rag just a few years after that in 1939.
It is likely, however, that White River Stomp predated Beaumont Rag explaining why Samuel Peacock never overtly claimed credit for the tune although he was the first to record it. In the Texas fiddle contest tradition, fiddlers would often alter an existing tune creating something new and different enough to warrant a new name but probably not a separate copyright. In the Beaumont adaptation, the 1st part of the Stomp was entirely omitted, the 2nd part is the same and, intriguingly, the Stomp’s 3rd part became the signature 1st part of Beaumont Rag. Peacock himself may have added two great parts to Beaumont Rag – a classic ragtime motif and a “double shuffle.” Both of the new parts represent such engaging music that most players would have had a difficult time leaving any of it out. All of this musical evidence argues for the Stomp having evolved into the Rag and not the reverse.
|O'Connor and Benny Thomasson|
|Jelly Roll Morton|
There was something about double shuffling though – this exaggerated syncopated bowing utilizing double-stopped chords – that white fiddlers ultimately wanted to emulate. Peacock was perhaps the first to step out of the narrow-minded conventions by using double shuffling in his adaptation of Beaumont Rag. And subsequently, double shuffling was brought back into fiddling by the jazz violin players whom the Texas fiddlers revered. New York jazz violinist pioneer Joe Venuti used double shuffling in some of his recordings on the Okey label in1927 and Goin’ Places, Four String Joe, and Kicking the Cat were widely copied throughout the Texas fiddle scene. A classically trained Texas swing fiddler named Cecil Brower used double shuffling in the new Western swing music of the early 1930s paving the way for many Texas fiddlers to incorporate this technique.
|Don Messer's Islanders|