Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Garry Harrison was the Best Fiddler Who Ever Lived


My great-granddad Bill Walker had in his service a Mr. Harrison, whom he swore was the best fiddler he had ever heard. He probably knew what he was talking about, because it was an age of fiddlers.
Mr. Harrison's great-grandson appeared with his fiddle at my door one day, saying that he'd heard that I played banjo, and he wondered what tunes I knew. Well I knew a few, since I grew up in a neighborhood where we had big sings and where we socialized with big Sunday dinners and playing music at each others' houses. But my tunes were nothing, absolutely nothing compared to what he knew.  
This Garry Harrison learnt fiddle from his dad and spent all his free time scouring the countryside, hunting for old timers who had grown up before radio. "I've got to get to 'em before they all die off," he said. "Their tunes will be lost and gone for good if I don't."
Soon, I was spending all evening, several times a week, In Garry's living room learning tunes he had picked up from old fiddlers, such as Harvey (Pappy) Taylor of Effingham, Illinois (the second best fiddler who ever lived, shown here in his Stetson), and almost every weekend we would go down to an old school house in Iola, Illinois to sit around, playing music with a whole nest of old fiddlers.
Throughout the time we played at taverns, parties and square dances, Garry was collecting tunes, which he tirelessly kept up until the very last ninety year old fiddler had passed away. By that time, he had collected far more tunes in Southern Illinois than the great Alan Lomax had in the Appalachians. When Carol and I were living on the Navajo Nation years later, he published the fiddle tune compendium, Dear Old Illinois, ISBN-13: 978-0-9793338-0-4.
This past September, before we ever got around to looking him up to play some more tunes, we heard that he had passed away in his sleep. 
Tom Phipps

Monday, October 7, 2013

Deceit Review

Deceit 3
Deceit is an intriguing and highly enjoyable Alternate History Thriller by W.C. Hewitt based upon the tragic sinking of the Titanic and the events that lead up to it. If you are a fan of download W.C. Hewittintense thrillers, you won’t want to miss this one.
Andrew Hoyle is a reporter for the Atlas News Agency who is assigned to cover the raising of the H.M.S. Titanic. He is also fortunate enough to be one of the few news people invited to inspect the interior of the ship once it has been raised.
Within the interior of the Titanic, Hoyle discovers a small, square metal box covered with over 90 years of rust. He secrets it on his person and takes it with him when he leaves. When he pries open the box Hoyle is at first disappointed to find that the box only contains an old photo of a couple dressed in turn-of-the-century clothing and an oilcloth packet with a yellowing parchment. The ancient paper was addressed to one Sir Rodney Deanne, Head to British Intelligence and signed Elizabeth Brunette and Christopher Ryan.
In an attempt to research information on the names on the parchment Hoyle is once again disappointed as the records are sealed and protected under the Official Secrets Act. However, he discovers that Elizabeth Brunette, now deceased, is survived by an only daughter named Sandra who also uses her mother’s surname of Brunette.
Hoyle pays Ms Brunette a visit hoping to learn the answers to this mystery, but Sandra claims her mother was merely a secretary to a barrister, and had never been employed by the government in any capacity.
Nevertheless, she shows Hoyle to her mother’s old desk where she kept all of her papers and personal documents. In short order he pries open a locked drawer to reveal not only Brunette’s personal documents, but also her diaries which detail an incredible, long-hidden conspiracy to sink the Titanic.
I will not disclose the harrowing details of this torrid thriller, but rather I will recommend that you read it for yourself. If you like edge-of-your-seat action and hair-raising chills, you’ll love Deceit.
Review by:
Carol Marrs Phipps