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johnross need info:American fiddle legend, Benny Thomasson (11) RE: American fiddle legend, Benny Thomasson 16 Sep 05


I didn't know Benny well, but I met him a few times after he moved to Washington state. He became a big part of the Northwest fiddle community. I remember him as a really nice guy, and he was very generous with guidance to younger musicians, including the young Mark O'Connor. You can still hear his influence in the styles of a lot of fiddlers in this part of the country.

There's also a lot of tape of Benny out there. His records for Voyager are still available on CD: http://www.voyagerrecords.com/cd_cass.htm#L345


And of course, he was a regular at the National Oldtime Fiddle Championships in Weiser, Idaho. In the early 70s, there was some serious competition for the Grand Championship among Benny, Dick Barrett and some of the other great Texas style fiddlers.

I recorded the Wesier contest for NPR one year. I think the winner was Herman Johnson, with Dick B. second and Benny No. 3. They were all smiling for the crowd and the camera, but on the tape you can tell that Dick was seriously pissed that he didn't take the top award. Benny was the popular favorite, and he was happy to take his prize.


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