Mudcat Café message #1984540 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #99539   Message #1984540
Posted By: DulciPicker
02-Mar-07 - 09:37 PM
Thread Name: Oldtimers who just keep on keeping on
Subject: RE: Oldtimers who just keep on keeping on
Lonnie Austin, best known as one of Charlie Poole's fiddlers, played great fiddle and phenomenal stride piano up until a few months before his death at age 96. Lonnie didn't "play out", but loved living room sessions where he amazed everyone.

Stranger Malone, who played clarinet,flute, bassoon, and string bass with everyone from the Skillet Lickers to symphony orchestras, was playing and singing great until shortly before his death (also 96). He was a fixture at the Swannanoa Gathering the last few uyears of his life, jamming with everyone from fiddlers to swing bands. When he was in his 70's, he learned to play really solid swing guitar, since he couldn't find anyone to play rhythm guitar to suit him!

I've seen a number of older musicians who still play at a very high level at fiddlers' conventions. Unfortunately, some old-timers have lost a good deal of skill...Seems to be a matter of luck as much as skill and dedication.