Wade Ward

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Wade Ward
Wade Ward 1937.jpg
Wade Ward in 1937
Background information
Birth name Benjamin Wade Ward
Also known as Uncle Wade
Born (1892-10-15)October 15, 1892
Independence, Virginia, U.S.A.
Died May 29, 1971(1971-05-29) (aged 78)
Independence, Virginia
Genres Old-time
Occupation(s) Farmer
Instruments Banjo, fiddle
Years active 1919 - late 1960s
Labels Okeh, Folkways, Biograph, FRC
Associated acts Buck Mountain Band, Bog Trotters Band
Notable instruments
Gibson RB-11 banjo, now in the Smithsonian

Wade Ward (1892–1971) was an American old-time music banjo player and fiddler from Independence, Virginia.[1] He was especially renowned for his clawhammer banjo playing. He was a frequent winner at the Galax, Virginia Old Time Fiddler's Convention.[2] His instrument, a Gibson RB-11 5-string banjo, is now housed in the Smithsonian Institution. Along with Kyle Creed, Wade Ward is thought by many to embody the 'Galax' style of clawhammer banjo playing.

Biography[edit]

Ward began performing in public in 1919, at age 26. His first group, the Buck Mountain Band, included Van Edwards on fiddle and Van's son Earl on guitar.[3] In 1925, Ward recorded four solo tunes (unreleased) for the Okeh label during a field recording session in Asheville, North Carolina.[4] In October 1929 he and the Buck Mountain Band recorded four more tunes for Okeh in Richmond, Virginia, two of which were released.[5] In the early 1930s, Ward joined a band called the Ballard Creek Bogtrotters, formed by his older brother Crockett, who was twenty years his senior. Ward played banjo, Crockett and his neighbor Alec "Uncle Eck" Dunford played fiddles, Crockett's son Fields played guitar and sang, and the Wards' family doctor W. P. Davis managed the group and occasionally played autoharp.[6] Folklorist John A. Lomax discovered the group in 1937 at the Galax Fiddlers' Convention and recorded them for the Library of Congress. John's son Alan Lomax recorded Wade in 1939, 1941, and again in 1959; nearly 200 recordings of Ward are archived at the Library of Congress' American Folklife Center.[6] Other folklorists including Mike Seeger and Peter Hoover made additional field recordings in the 1950s and 1960s.[7] The Bogtrotters appeared at festivals during the folk revivals of the 40s and 50s.

Despite his musical gifts, Ward made his living as a farmer. He died in 1971 in Independence, Virginia, and is buried in the Saddle Creek Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery a few miles west of town.[8]

Discography[edit]

Year Title Label Number Notes
1929 "Don't Let the Blues Get You Down" / "Yodeling Blues" Okeh 45428 78 rpm
1962 Music of Roscoe Holcomb and Wade Ward Smithsonian Folkways F-2363
1968 Fields and Wade Ward: Country Music Biograph RC-6002
The Original Bog Trotters Biograph RC-6003
1972 Uncle Wade - A Memorial To Wade Ward: Old Time Virginia Banjo Picker, 1892-1971 Smithsonian Folkways F-2380
2004 Uncle Charlie Higgins, Wade Ward & Dale Poe Field Recorders' Collective FRC-501 recorded 1959
2007 Wade Ward: Banjo & Fiddle Field Recorders' Collective FRC-507 recorded 1959-1961

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Poole, Steve (November 10, 2003). "Poole & Mason Family". Rootsweb. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  2. ^ "Winners". Old Fiddler's Convention, Galax, Virginia. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  3. ^ Baycu, Ahmet. "Amazing Facts from the Roots of American Fiddle Music". HeaHeah. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  4. ^ Laird, Ross; Brian Rust (2004). Discography of OKeh Records, 1918-1934. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. pp. 141, 584. doi:10.1336/0313311420. ISBN 978-0-313-31142-0. 
  5. ^ Huber, Patrick (2008). Linthead Stomp: The Creation of Country Music in the Piedmont South. Chapel Hill: UNC Press. p. 297. ISBN 0-8078-3225-1. 
  6. ^ a b Baycu, Ahmet. "The Bogtrotters". HeaHeah. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  7. ^ Hoffman, John. "The Peter Hoover Collection". The Field Recorders' Collective. Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  8. ^ Weaver, Jeffrey (April 2008). "Saddle Creek Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery". New River Notes. Retrieved 2009-05-17. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Davidson, Eric; Rigg, Jane (2001). "Uncle Wade: A Memorial to Uncle Wade Ward, Old-Time Virginia Banjo Picker [1892-1971]". In Titon, Jeff Todd, and Carlin, Bob. American Musical Traditions. Vol. 3, British Isles Music. New York: Schirmer Reference. pp. 94–100. ISBN 0-02-864624-X. 

External links[edit]