Tune of the Month: Crystal Stream Waltz
Crystal Stream Waltz
Time once again for a book report. I’m a good ways into Howard Marshall’s latest work, “Play Me Something Quick and Devilish – Old time Fiddlers in Missouri” (University of Missouri Press, Columbia, MO). Howard is one of the foremost practitioners and scholars of the fine art of fiddling in the State of Missouri. See his earlier work, “Now That’s a Good Tune – Masters of Traditional Missouri Fiddling” also from U. of MO Press. Since Missouri (and Midwestern in general) fiddling has had such an influence (along with Scandinavian and Western Canadian of course) on our own, Northwestern, regional traditions and styles, he sheds a lot of light on the roots of Washington’s old time fiddling. With details of style to cultural influences and fiddling in the community as well as the stories of individual fiddlers he writes with a scholar’s commitment to accuracy as well as the fiddle fan’s love of the music. An accompanying cd (produced by Voyager Records) fills out the auditory component and brings life to his descriptions.
As I thumbed through the photos I noticed one of Callaway County fiddler, and 1928 Missouri state champion, Vee Latty and his wife, Marie. New to me was that he was the composer of a waltz I have long enjoyed called ‘The Crystal Stream Waltz.’ I learned it in Oregon from Earl Willis (see EF #??), whose name comes up a few times in the book, by the way. Earl could very likely have heard Vee Latty play this tune, or he could have picked it up from one of the many other fiddlers who played it. Thanks to Rich Levine for help with the chords. We tried some different combinations and what you see here is what we settled in on. The italicized chords are suggested passing or alternate ones. The A7 in the b part is something I heard somewhere and liked but we weren’t happy with either the following Bb chord or merely dropping back to F.
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Stuart Williams, Music Editor
Updated February 6, 2013