The Voice of a Fiddler
I keep talking wild theory, but it keeps somehow coming out stuff everybody
knows, folklore. This Quality, this feeling for the work is something known in
—Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of
Motorcycle Maintenance, 256
The voice of the emcee is clear on the videotape of the 1992 Florida Folk Festival that Richard has recorded and sent to me.1 She is off-camera, but the video frame shows the amphitheater's stage setup. Shading a brick floor, this wooden pavilion is the main stage at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. Since its inception in 1953, the festival has been held on the banks of the Suwannee River, and it is coordinated each year during Memorial Day weekend in the small north-central town of White Springs. As Richard steps up to the microphone, which is being adjusted by a member of the sound crew, the emcee's expression becomes upbeat as she shifts from announcing that there is a lost child at the festival to introducing Richard Seaman's band.
She exclaims, “You’re in for a treat now. This tall fellow in the black hat here is Richard Seaman, and I understand he's been known to tell a story or two from time to time. This could be one of those times.” She laughs and continues, “And he's accompanied by Jack Piccalo—he plays fine guitar—and also by Frank Farley on bass at this moment.”
Carrying his Martin D-28 guitar, Jack steps into the video frame. He walks out with Frank, who positions his string bass to the left of Richard, who is talking with the soundman who is adjusting their microphones and setting up the plug-in for Frank's upright bass.
The announcer continues her introduction to key the performance. “Now