Tommy Malboeuf

The Life of a Carolina Fiddler

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About the Book

Adopted as a child from the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford, Tommy Malboeuf grew up in Troutman, North Carolina, before enlisting in the Navy in the early 1950s. After his military service, Tommy found occasional work surveying and operating heavy equipment, and he also found a personal passion in bluegrass fiddling. He performed and recorded with A.L. Wood and the Smokey Ridge Boys, Roy McMillan’s High Country Boys, the Border Mountain Boys, L.W. Lambert and the Blue River Boys, C.E. Ward and his band, Garland Shuping, and Wild Country, among others. In the late 1990s, Tommy began teaching fiddle, maintaining a steady stream of students until at least the early 2000s. He continued to perform as a fiddler, filling in for a variety of local bands and recording cuts on records for bands such as Big Country Bluegrass. This text documents Tommy’s life, from his humble beginnings to his lengthy fiddle career. Contextualizing Tommy’s work within the Statesville-Troutman bluegrass “scene,” chapters also explore the local bluegrass culture of the time. Tommy’s extensive repertoire is also listed, including his spectacular fiddle contest wins, band recordings, local jam field recordings, and songs recorded for students, all of which highlight his talent and expertise as a fiddler.

About the Author(s)

Clawhammer banjo player Lewis M. Stern has written about traditional musicians including Dwight Diller, Tommy Malbeouf, and Jim Scancarelli. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Lewis M. Stern

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 24 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8859-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4662-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Chapter One. Early Life, Early Music, Life Afloat 21
Chapter Two. Making Music Locally 47
Chapter Three. Gigs, Bands, Styles 63
Chapter Four. Tommy’s Recordings, Repertoire, Fiddles and His Comic Strip Fame 82
Chapter Five. Teaching Fiddle 101
Conclusion 119
Appendix I: YouTube Videos of Tommy Malboeuf
Playing 15 Fiddle Tunes 149
Appendix II: Miscellaneous Jam and Performance
Recordings 151
Interviewees 153
Chapter Notes 171
Bibliography 209
Index 215