In 1963, Clark Kessinger was rediscovered by promoter Ken Davidson, who persuaded him to return to performing. He formed a string band in Galax, Virginia the following year; the band went on to win first prize in the old-time music contest in Galax. Keessinger continue to appear (and win) in fiddling contests over the net few years. Davidson released at least four albums on his own label, Folk Promotion Records, of Kessinger's fiddle playing; the albums were later reissued by Folkways Records and Country Records. In 1971, Kessinger won the World Champion Fiddle Prize at the 47th Old Time Fiddlers Convention.
Also in 1971, Kessinger recorded 12 tracks for Rounder Records for the first of a planned series of albums. Before the plan could be finalized, Kessinger had a stroke while at a fiddlers concention in Virginia. The stroke numbed his left hand and he was unable to play the fiddle again. He died in 1975.
Meanwhile, in the late Sixties, I was in college. Most of the other kids there were deeply into Motown, so whenever I was in a bad mood, I'd put a Clark Kessinger album on the recoed player, turn the voolume up to max, and open all the windows in my dorm. I feel responsible for a whole generation of kids hating Kessinger's redition of 'Turkey in the Straw."
Here's the Folkways 1966 reissue of Clark Kessinger, Fiddler, with eighteen tracks of good old fashioned country fiddling. Incljuded in this album is 'Turkey in the Straw," in case you want to torment your neighbors. Just sayin'.
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