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Uncle Dave Macon - Take Me Back to my Old Carolina Home
Uncle Dave Macon - Take Me Back to my Old Carolina Home
Published: 2012/05/04
Channel: Roy
Uncle Dave Macon - Way Down The Old Plank Road
Uncle Dave Macon - Way Down The Old Plank Road
Published: 2011/07/30
Channel: Wouter Klein
Uncle Dave Macon - Keep My Skillet Good & Greasy
Uncle Dave Macon - Keep My Skillet Good & Greasy
Published: 2013/01/20
Channel: Banjerholler
Uncle Dave Macon-Sail Away Ladies
Uncle Dave Macon-Sail Away Ladies
Published: 2009/12/08
Channel: BBYMRLCCOTN
Uncle Dave Macon Old Dan Tucker
Uncle Dave Macon Old Dan Tucker
Published: 2009/12/15
Channel: BBYMRLCCOTN
Uncle Dave Macon   Run N..... Run/ Pateroller
Uncle Dave Macon Run N..... Run/ Pateroller
Published: 2016/02/07
Channel: Dan Cassells
Uncle Dave Macon & his son Dorris
Uncle Dave Macon & his son Dorris
Published: 2008/12/04
Channel: jackogreene
Uncle Dave Macon & Sam McGee Backwater Blues (1927)
Uncle Dave Macon & Sam McGee Backwater Blues (1927)
Published: 2014/01/05
Channel: randomandrare
Railroadin
Railroadin' and Gamblin' Uncle Dave Macon
Published: 2014/01/04
Channel: rwkaiser1
Uncle Dave Macon TV feature (1985)
Uncle Dave Macon TV feature (1985)
Published: 2016/01/22
Channel: Robert Montgomery
#79 - "Buddy Won
#79 - "Buddy Won't You Roll Down The Line" - Uncle Dave Macon
Published: 2013/12/25
Channel: Rodney Hargis
Uncle Dave Macon trailer
Uncle Dave Macon trailer
Published: 2014/09/09
Channel: folkstreamer
Railroadin
Railroadin' and Gamblin' Uncle Dave Macon with Lyrics
Published: 2016/11/08
Channel: billbilladaada
Uncle Dave Macon - Morning Blues
Uncle Dave Macon - Morning Blues
Published: 2011/11/25
Channel: Dr. Ray
Uncle Dave Macon - Carve That Possum
Uncle Dave Macon - Carve That Possum
Published: 2009/03/21
Channel: WhackaWhacka
Uncle Dave Macon-Railroadin
Uncle Dave Macon-Railroadin' and Gamblin' (Clawhammer Banjo)
Published: 2014/01/13
Channel: southpaw1939
Uncle Dave Macon-Rise When The Rooster Crows
Uncle Dave Macon-Rise When The Rooster Crows
Published: 2010/02/10
Channel: BBYMRLCCOTN
A Salute To Uncle Dave Macon [1963] - Stringbean
A Salute To Uncle Dave Macon [1963] - Stringbean
Published: 2017/04/12
Channel: Take's Bluegrass Album Channel
Uncle Dave Macon & Sam McGee Go On, Nora Lee (1930)
Uncle Dave Macon & Sam McGee Go On, Nora Lee (1930)
Published: 2014/01/29
Channel: randomandrare
Uncle Dave Macon Days 2016
Uncle Dave Macon Days 2016
Published: 2016/07/14
Channel: Cecilia Herrell
uncle dave macon -poor sinners,fare you well
uncle dave macon -poor sinners,fare you well
Published: 2011/01/14
Channel: Hans Petersen
Uncle Dave Macon Muskrat Medley (VOCALION 15101) (1925)
Uncle Dave Macon Muskrat Medley (VOCALION 15101) (1925)
Published: 2015/05/17
Channel: randomandrare
Uncle Dave Macon  Whoop
Uncle Dave Macon Whoop 'Em Up Cindy VOCALION 15323
Published: 2011/09/20
Channel: 53jaybop
Rock About My Saro Jane - Uncle Dave Macon
Rock About My Saro Jane - Uncle Dave Macon
Published: 2012/08/24
Channel: Wouter Klein
Walking in the Sunlight - Uncle Dave Macon
Walking in the Sunlight - Uncle Dave Macon
Published: 2012/02/15
Channel: Wouter Klein
The Bibles True  Sung by Clint Anderson Anti Evolution
The Bibles True Sung by Clint Anderson Anti Evolution
Published: 2017/05/18
Channel: greydario11
Hill Billy Blues - Uncle Dave Macon
Hill Billy Blues - Uncle Dave Macon
Published: 2012/09/04
Channel: Derek Copley
Uncle Dave Macon-Rabbit In The Pea Patch 1927
Uncle Dave Macon-Rabbit In The Pea Patch 1927
Published: 2009/12/18
Channel: BBYMRLCCOTN
1380 Uncle Dave Macon - Down By The River
1380 Uncle Dave Macon - Down By The River
Published: 2015/02/13
Channel: Ranch Radio
Uncle Dave Macon-Over The Mountain
Uncle Dave Macon-Over The Mountain
Published: 2014/04/29
Channel: TravelerIntoTheBlue
Uncle Dave Macon -the old man
Uncle Dave Macon -the old man's drunk again
Published: 2011/01/13
Channel: Hans Petersen
uncle dave macon live on the opry
uncle dave macon live on the opry
Published: 2010/09/22
Channel: oldtimer1925
Uncle Dave Macon "Way Down The Old Plank Road" (guitar by Sam McGee)
Uncle Dave Macon "Way Down The Old Plank Road" (guitar by Sam McGee)
Published: 2016/07/26
Channel: Tim Gracyk
Uncle Dave Macon - Deliverance Will Come (Palms of Victory)
Uncle Dave Macon - Deliverance Will Come (Palms of Victory)
Published: 2011/05/21
Channel: Wouter Klein
Uncle Dave Macon - worthy of estimation
Uncle Dave Macon - worthy of estimation
Published: 2011/01/15
Channel: Hans Petersen
Uncle Dave Macon Days 2012, Old Time banjo finals, Lukas Pool
Uncle Dave Macon Days 2012, Old Time banjo finals, Lukas Pool
Published: 2012/07/16
Channel: smellyoldfatguy
UNCLE DAVE MACON: "WRECK OF THE TENN. GRAVY TRAIN"
UNCLE DAVE MACON: "WRECK OF THE TENN. GRAVY TRAIN"
Published: 2011/10/20
Channel: JOHNNYFREEDOM daREBEL
Aaron Vance Uncle Dave Macon Days 2017 Promo
Aaron Vance Uncle Dave Macon Days 2017 Promo
Published: 2017/05/25
Channel: Wicked Stepsister
Uncle Dave Macon-Over The Mountain 1929
Uncle Dave Macon-Over The Mountain 1929
Published: 2009/12/18
Channel: BBYMRLCCOTN
Cumberland Mountain Deer Race - Dave Macon
Cumberland Mountain Deer Race - Dave Macon
Published: 2010/12/13
Channel: lawrencethelizard
The Wreck of The Tennessee Gravy Train Uncle Dave Macon with Lyrics
The Wreck of The Tennessee Gravy Train Uncle Dave Macon with Lyrics
Published: 2012/11/18
Channel: billbilladaada
Uncle Dave Macon Days
Uncle Dave Macon Days
Published: 2007/07/16
Channel: Jason Morris
Uncle Dave Macon and His Fruit Jar Drinkers  Jordon Is A Hard Road To Travel  VOCALION 5153
Uncle Dave Macon and His Fruit Jar Drinkers Jordon Is A Hard Road To Travel VOCALION 5153
Published: 2011/09/16
Channel: 53jaybop
Uncle Dave Macon
Uncle Dave Macon
Published: 2014/04/01
Channel: Charley Davidson
Uncle Dave Macon Day 2016 Uncle Shuffelo Haint Hollow
Uncle Dave Macon Day 2016 Uncle Shuffelo Haint Hollow
Published: 2016/07/10
Channel: Blue Nose Mule
Uncle Dave Macon Days 2015
Uncle Dave Macon Days 2015
Published: 2015/07/13
Channel: squirrelbanjo
2016 Uncle Dave Macon Days Highlights
2016 Uncle Dave Macon Days Highlights
Published: 2016/07/09
Channel: John Verge
uncle dave macon -she
uncle dave macon -she's got the money too
Published: 2011/01/15
Channel: Hans Petersen
Uncle Dave Macon Days | Uniquely Nashville with Eric Marcum | WSM Radio
Uncle Dave Macon Days | Uniquely Nashville with Eric Marcum | WSM Radio
Published: 2016/07/27
Channel: WSM Radio
Uncle Dave Macon Don
Uncle Dave Macon Don't Get Weary Children
Published: 2009/12/15
Channel: BBYMRLCCOTN
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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Uncle Dave Macon
UDM promo photo.jpg
Background information
Birth name David Harrison Macon
Also known as "Dixie Dewdrop"
Born October 7, 1870
Smartt Station, Tennessee, USA
Origin Nashville, Tennessee
Died March 22, 1952(1952-03-22) (aged 81)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee USA
Genres Old-time music
Occupation(s) Vaudeville entertainer
Instruments Banjo
Years active 1920s–1952
Associated acts Fruit Jar Drinkers

Uncle Dave Macon (October 7, 1870 – March 22, 1952), born David Harrison Macon—also known as "The Dixie Dewdrop"—was an American old-time banjo player, singer, songwriter, and comedian. Known for his chin whiskers, plug hat, gold teeth, and gates-ajar collar, he gained regional fame as a vaudeville performer in the early 1920s before becoming the first star of the Grand Ole Opry in the latter half of the decade.

Macon's music is considered the ultimate bridge between 19th-century American folk and vaudeville music and the phonograph and radio-based music of the early 20th-century. Music historian Charles Wolfe wrote, "If people call yodelling Jimmie Rodgers 'the father of country music,' then Uncle Dave must certainly be 'the grandfather of country music'."[1] Macon's polished stage presence and lively personality have made him one of the most enduring figures of early country music.[2]

Marker composed of bricks from Macon's birthplace

Early life[edit]

Macon was born in Smartt Station (about five miles south of McMinnville), Tennessee, the son of Confederate Captain John Macon and his wife Martha Ramsey. In 1884, when David Macon was 13 years old, his family moved to Nashville, Tennessee to run the Old Broadway Hotel, which they had purchased. The hotel became a center for Macon and his growing musical interests, and was frequented by artists and troupers traveling along vaudeville circuit and circus acts.[2] In 1885, he learned to play the banjo from a circus comedian called Joel Davidson.[3] He attended Hume-Fogg High School in Nashville.[2] Tragedy struck the family in 1886 when Macon's father was murdered outside the hotel.[4][5] His widowed mother sold the hotel and the family moved to Readyville, Tennessee,[6] where his mother ran a stagecoach inn. Macon began entertaining passengers at the rest stop, playing a banjo on a homemade stage.[2]

In 1889, Macon married Matilda Richardson and moved to a farm near Kittrell, Tennessee, where they in time raised six sons. Around 1900, Macon opened a freight line between Murfreesboro and Woodbury, Tennessee. It was called The Macon Midway Mule and Mitchell Wagon Transportation Company. Often, when Macon was driving along with his mules, hauling freight and produce, he would entertain people by singing and playing the banjo at various stops along the way. In time, his sons became part of the company as they grew up. But the arrival of an automobile-based competitor threatened his mule company, and he was forced to close down in 1920.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Uncle Dave Macon display at the Museum of Appalachia

Although Macon had long performed as an amateur and was well known for his showmanship, his first professional performance was in 1921 at a school in Morrison, Tennessee during a Methodist church benefit. In 1923, during a performance for the Shriners in Nashville, Macon was seen by Marcus Loew of Loews Theatres, who offered him fifteen dollars if he would perform at a theater in Alabama.[7][8] Macon accepted and went to Alabama. After the show he was approached by the manager of Loews Theatres in Birmingham, who wanted to hire him to perform there. Macon's salary was several hundred dollars a week. This led to offers from other theaters in the Loew's Vaudeville circuit. At age fifty, Macon found himself a successful entertainer. A rival vaudeville circuit, the Keith-Albee-Orpheum Corporation, tried to hire him away from the Loew's circuit, but he refused.[7]

In 1923 Macon began a tour of the south-eastern United States, joined by fiddler Sid Harkreader and five other acts. By now, the Sterchi Brothers Furniture Company, distributors of Vocalion Records, had noticed Macon and realised his potential as a recording artist. On July 8, 1924, Macon and Harkreader made their first recordings for Vocalion in New York City.[9] The session which extended over several days and eighteen songs were recorded.[10] In 1925, Macon and Harkreader added "Dancing Bob" Bradford, a buck dancer to their act, Their tours on the Loew's circuit now included comedy, buck-dancing and old time music.[9] In late 1925, Macon met guitarist Sam McGee, who was to become Macon's regular recording and performance partner.[11] On November 6, 1925, Macon and Harkreader performed at the Ryman Auditorium—the future home of the Grand Ole Opry— in a benefit for the Nashville police force. The show was just three weeks before the WSM Grand Ole Opry was founded.[12]

Macon was one of the first performers at the new WSM radio station. On December 26, 1925, Macon and fiddler Uncle Jimmy Thompson appeared together on the WSM Saturday night program. Macon's career with WSM lasted twenty-six years, but as he continued touring, he wasn't a regular performer in the years of the Grand Ole Opry.[13] In early 1927, Macon formed the Fruit Jar Drinkers, composed of Macon, Sam McGee, Kirk McGee and Mazy Todd.[14] The Fruit Jar Drinkers recorded for the first time on May 7, 1927.[15] Although the group's repertoire was mainly traditional songs and fiddle numbers, they occasionally recorded religious songs, for which Macon would alter the group's name to the Dixie Sacred Singers.[14]

In December 1930, Macon recorded for Okeh Records and later in 1934 for Gennett Records. On January 22, 1935, he began recording for Bluebird Records with the Delmore Brothers and a few years later in 1938 he recorded with Glenn "Smoky Mountain" Stagner.[16] Between 1930 and 1952, Macon was often accompanied by his son Dorris who played the guitar. In 1940 Macon— together with Opry founder George D. Hay, rising Opry star Roy Acuff, and Dorris Macon— received an invitation from Hollywood to take part in the Republic Pictures movie Grand Ole Opry. The film contains rare footage of Macon performing, including a memorable duet of "Take Me Back to My Carolina Home" with Dorris in which the 69-year-old Macon jumps out of his seat and dances throughout the second half of the song. Although Macon toured with Bill Monroe in the late 1940s, he was neither impressed by the new bluegrass style nor by the banjo picking of Monroe's bandmate Earl Scruggs.[17]

Death and Legacy[edit]

Macon continued to perform until March 1, 1952. He died three weeks later on March 22, 1952 at Rutherford County Hospital in Murfreesboro. He was buried at Coleman Cemetery near Murfreesboro.[18] His funeral was visited by more than five thousand people and his pallbearers were George D. Hay, Kirk McGee, Roy Acuff, and Bill Monroe.[19] He was inducted posthumously into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966. A monument was erected near Woodbury. His son Dorris and several bandmates (often including Sam and Kirk McGee) made sporadic appearances on the Grand Ole Opry as the Fruit Jar Drinkers until the early 1980s.

During the second full weekend in July the city of Murfreesboro celebrates "Uncle Dave Macon Days." The event is held on the grounds of historic Cannonsburgh Village. This celebration hosts the national competitions for old-time clogging, buckdancing and old-time banjo.

Macon's house still stands on Old Woodbury Pike in Kittrell, Tennessee, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[20]

In 2014, the bridge over Cripple Creek in Kittrell was renamed the Uncle Dave Macon Bridge.

Uncle Dave Macon Bridge

Repertoire and style[edit]

While Uncle Dave Macon recorded over 170 songs between 1924 and 1938, in his day he was most notable for his polished and lively stage presence. Bandmate Kirk McGee later described Macon's personality as a never-ending performance— "All day long, from morning till midnight, it was a show."[21] While playing, Macon would often kick and stomp, and shout sporadically, taxing the skills of WSM's early volume-control engineers. His performance style can be discerned to some extent from his early recordings, in which he whoops and hollers amidst relatively aggressive vocal deliveries.[21]

Macon played an open-backed Gibson banjo on most of his recordings, and while contemporary musicians didn't consider him a particularly skillful banjo player, modern musicologists have identified no less than 19 picking styles on Macon's recordings.[2][21] Macon's favorite tunes included "A Soldier's Joy", "Bully of the Town", "The Arkansas Traveler", and "Sail Away, Ladies".[2][22] Macon claimed to have learned the song "Rock About My Saro Jane" from black stevedores working along the Cumberland River in the 1880s.[2] The song "Buddy Won't You Roll Down the Line" was inspired by the Coal Creek War, an East Tennessee labor uprising in the 1890s.[23] In the song "From Earth to Heaven", Macon describes his days hauling goods between Woodbury and Murfreesboro for his shipping company.[22] Macon's favorite hymn was "How Beautiful Heaven Must Be", which is inscribed on his monument near Woodbury.[2]

Albums[edit]

A record label of Uncle Dave Macon's The Bible's True, published by Vocalion Records

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Heartaches By the Number, Cantwell, David & Friskics-Warren, Bill, Vanderbilt University Press, 2003, pg. 70
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Wolfe, pp. 320-321.
  3. ^ a b Malone, p. 42.
  4. ^ Bogdanov, p. 462.
  5. ^ Brunvand, p. 457.
  6. ^ Malone, p. 41.
  7. ^ a b Malone, p. 43.
  8. ^ Although some sources like Bogdanov, p. 462 and Green, p.80 say that he was discovered by a talent agent of Loews Theatres when he and Harkreader were singing at a barbershop in Nashville.
  9. ^ a b Malone, p. 44.
  10. ^ Russell, Pinson, pp. 573.
  11. ^ Malone, p. 45.
  12. ^ Russell, p. 12.
  13. ^ Malone, p. 46.
  14. ^ a b Malone, p. 47.
  15. ^ Russell, Pinson, p. 575.
  16. ^ Russell, Pinson, p. 578.
  17. ^ Malone, p. 49.
  18. ^ Uncle Dave Macon at Find a Grave
  19. ^ Malone, p. 50.
  20. ^ "Top 10 Facts About Uncle Dave Macon," Murfreesboro Post, 2007. Retrieved: 10 March 2014.
  21. ^ a b c Hurst, 94-99.
  22. ^ a b Larkin, 418.
  23. ^ Lyle Lofgren, "Shut Up In the Coal Creek Mine." Originally published in March 2006 edition of Inside Bluegrass. Retrieved: 10 May 2009.

References[edit]

  • Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide to Country: The Definitive Guide to Country Music, Backbeat Books, 2003
  • Jan Harold Brunvand, American Folklore: An Encyclopedia, Taylor & Francis, 1996
  • Douglas B. Green, Classic Country Singers, Gibbs Smith, 2008
  • Jack Hurst, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, H.N. Abrams Books, 1975.
  • Colin Larkin (editor), "Uncle Dave Macon", The Encyclopedia of Popular Music Vol. 5, Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Bill C. Malone, Judith McCulloh, Stars of Country Music: Uncle Dave Macon to Johnny Rodriguez, University of Illinois Press, 1975
  • Tony Russell, Country Music Originals: The Legends and the Lost, Oxford University Press, 2007
  • Tony Russell, Bob Pinson, Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942, Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, 2004
  • Charles Wolfe, "Uncle Dave Macon", The Encyclopedia of Country Music: The Ultimate Guide to the Music, 1998.

External links[edit]

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