Matokie Slaughter

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This article is about the banjo player. For the artist who used the pseudonym Matokie Slaughter, see Margaret Kilgallen.
Matokie Slaughter
Birth name Matokie Worrell
Born December 21, 1919
Pulaski, Virginia, U.S.
Died December 31, 1999(1999-12-31)
Pulaski, Virginia, U.S.
Genres clawhammer, old time music
Occupation(s) musician
Instruments banjo, fiddle
Years active 1940s–1990s
Labels County Records, Marimac Recordings
Associated acts Matokie Slaughter & The Back Creek Buddies
Matokie Slaughter, "Big Eyed Rabbit" from Clawhammer Banjo, Volume Two (County Records) (c. 1960s)

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Matokie Worrell Slaughter (sometimes known as "Tokie" Slaughter) (December 21, 1919[1] – December 31, 1999) was an American clawhammer banjo player.

Born in Pulaski, VA to a large musical family, she performed regularly with her family on local radio in the 1940s. She and her sister Virgie (later Virgie Worrel Richardson) also appeared regularly at local fiddler's conventions. She was discovered by the larger old-time music community when some of her recordings appeared on Charles Faurot's clawhammer banjo anthologies during the 1960s. Later, she made many appearances at folk music festivals and workshops throughout the US and formed a band called Matokie Slaughter & The Back Creek Buddies with her sister Virgie and old-time music revivalist Alice Gerrard. The band issue a cassette-only release, Saro, in 1990.[2][3][4]

Slaughter is known for her unique, driving style of clawhammer banjo playing, with complex noting and double-noting and featuring both uppicking and downpicking.[3] She also occasionally played fiddle.

During the 1990s, San Francisco artist Margaret Kilgallen began drawing freight train graffiti using the name "Matokie Slaughter" as an homage to the original Matokie Slaughter. A fictionalized version of Matokie Slaughter also figured prominently in many of Kilgallen's non-graffiti artworks.[5][6]


  1. ^ Social Security Death Index
  2. ^ Matokie Slaughter at AllMusic
  3. ^ a b "Here & There" by John Currie, The Old-Time Herald 7:3, Spring 2000.
  4. ^ "Historic Recordings Tell Clawhammer Banjo History", All Things Considered, March 21, 2006. (links to RealAudio audio files)
  5. ^ "Femme Vital: Margaret Kilgallen Hand in Hand" by Michele Lockwood, Super X Media #2.2, 1998.
  6. ^ "Margaret Kilgallen, Gallery 16" by Maria Porges, ArtForum, May 1997.

External links[edit]

  • Matokie Slaughter at Digital Library of Appalachia. – links to streaming MP3 audio of a number of Matokie Slaughter performances.