|Major Franklin and|
In most musical genres, the responsibility for young prodigies learning their craft falls upon the great players from the generation before. The beautiful melody and history of Dawn Waltz may have disappeared into obscurity when Franklin died if he had not passed it on to a 14-year-old fiddler named James “Shorty” Chancellor. Often referred to by his stage name “Texas Shorty,” he was about the only fiddle music prodigy that appeared on the scene in those days, becoming the first teenaged fiddle champion in Texas. Born in Dallas in 1943, Shorty played only the mandolin until he was 13. At that point he met Benny Thomasson and
|James “Texas Shorty” Chancellor|
The accomplishments of the young Texas Shorty were preserved in a series of 45rpm recordings made between 1961 and 1965. Chancellor adapted the tune that Franklin had called Virginia Moonlight and recorded it as Dawn Waltz in the only known recording of this music. The composer of this beautiful melody, however, remains unknown.