Liner Notes

MIXED BAG: - Neil Johnston

VRCD 314

Neil grew up in Sutherland, Nebraska in a musical family at home with fiddling and other traditional music. His grandfathers, uncles and his father all played the fiddle. His earliest musical accomplishment was his singing.

At nine he began playing German style button accordion but at 14 he switched to fiddle. His enthusiasm drove him to spend 6 to 8 hours a day practicing and thereby dodging his chores. Soon he was entering amateur contests and was in demand to play at the house-parties that were popular along the Platte Valley in the mid 30's. From the mid 30's to the early 40's he played for dances.

December 7, 1941 found him playing fiddle, clarinet and piano with a small combo. Immediately he packed away his fiddle and taking his clarinet, he went off to enlist in the army. When the war was over, Neil settled in Washington, married and decided to go on to college. He again turned his talents to the stage and performed in or assistant directed almost every play put on by the drama department over a three year period.

He did not pick up his fiddle often over a twenty-five year span. Then one day he rosined his bow, changed the strings on his fiddle, limbered up his fingers and began playing again. The enthusiasm of his youth returned and he played the tunes that his grandfathers handed down, the tunes he played at the house-parties and dances, and he learned new ones.

Neil enjoyed teaching beginners to play and encouraging former musicians to get out their instruments and play even if they hadn't played in years. At shows and contests usually one or more of his accompanists are under 20 years of age.

In 1970 he organized the Tenino Oldtime Music Festival and was general Chairman of it for many years. The Festival, held on the 3rd full weekend in March, is sponsored by the Tenino Lions Club who uses the proceeds for sight conservation projects.

- Pat Johnston, 1974

Fiddle: Vivian Williams, Lyman Rogers, Bill Knox
Piano: Thelma Ashby, Mike McClellan, Vivian Williams
Guitar: Bob Ashby, Harold Buis, Alan Billingsley, Brion Lundgren, Debbie Lundgren, Henry Shanks, Phil Williams, Ralph Kissinger
Accordion: Ken Flaten
Bass: Mike Alger, Jim Calvert, Jr., Thane Mitchell, Vivian Williams
Produced by Phil & Vivian Williams
Engineering: Phil Williams, Darrel McMichael
Cover Design: Neal Art Service, Olympia, Washington

1. Goofus (King, Harold, Kahn) 1:02
2. One Rose (McIntire, Lyon) 1:57
3. Bride of the Wind 1:02
4. St. Louis Blues (W.C. Handy) 2:51
5. Goodnight Waltz 2:41
6. Turkey in the Cottonwoods 1:14
7. In the Garden (C. A. Miles) 2:20
8. Love Letters in the Sand (Kenny, Coots) 2:07
9. Darkness on the Delta (Levinson) 2:40
10. Forty Years Ago Waltz 2:34
11. Fishers Hornpipe :59
12. Martin's Waltz 1:26
13. Silver Threads Among the Gold (H.P. Danks) 2:29
14. When My Baby Smiles at Me (Von Tilzer, Munro) 1:14
15. Shamus O'Brien (W.S. Hays) 2:04
16. Old Rugged Cross (Bennard) 2:39
17. Cherokee Maiden (Walker) 2:52
18. Coquette (Gus Kahn) 1:52
19. Black Velvet Blues (Harold Allen) 3:09
20. Swingin' in Miami 2:24

c p 2005 Voyager Recordings
424 - 35th Avenue, Seattle WA 98122

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