HOWDY’S TUNES! FIDDLE MUSIC OF BIG HOWDY FORRESTER
BY GAYEL PITCHFORD.
(Viewpoint Press, PMB 400, 785 Tucker Rd., Ste. G, Tehachapi, CA 93561, www.howdyforrester.com)
About ten years after the publication of her book, Fiddler Of The Opry: The Howdy Forrester Story, Pitchford presents us with a book of transcriptions of Big Howdy’s tunes, about fifty of them. The clean format presents each tune, often with some variations, in musical notation. This is a treasure trove for the reading fiddler or mandolin player who wants to get deeper into the musical mind of one of the greatest fiddlers in country and bluegrass music.
The book also has some nice anecdotal information about Forrester and his son Bob, along with a section of photographs of Big Howdy and his family and contemporaries. It’s a good thing for us that Pitchford became obsessed with his style and transcribed it for posterity. She collected every recording she could find and then wrote them out. Think of your favorite Big Howdy tune and it’s here. Want to play his break on the Flatt & Scruggs classic “Earl’s Breakdown?” Checkout the A-part to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” you’ll find it there. As it says on the website for this book: “After hundreds of hours of work, you can play Howdy’s music and feel the same joy that he did.”
From his days with Roy Acuff through his MGM and Stoneway recordings, the classic tunes are here. They may present a challenge to those who want to establish themselves as consummate fiddlers. But, they’ll present a course of study for those who want to be better fiddlers. This is a fine addition to the music library and should not be missed.RCB