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Marion Sumner

b. 28 March 1920, Florida, USA, d. 17 August 1997, USA. Raised in Vicco, Kentucky, which is where his family moved when he was a baby, Sumner learned to play the violin as a child. He played with the Payroll Boys and became especially active in the 30s and 40s. In the late 30s he was with Cousin Emmy and during World War II worked with Molly O’Day, Lynn Davis, Eddie Hill, Johnnie Wright and others. Sumner became known as the ‘Fiddle King of the South’. Playing with flair and enthusiasm, Sumner lived up to his title and developed a following among fans of traditional country music. Among his recording sessions with other artists are those with country singers Preston Ward and Don Gibson and with banjo player Lee Sexton (b. 1927, Linefork, Kentucky, USA). On the latter date he was joined by banjo player Freddie Campbell, guitarist and vocalist Sonny Houston, and bass player Phil Sexton. He also recorded duo fiddle sets with Jesse McReynolds (of Jim And Jesse). Of the songs in Sumner’s repertoire, perhaps the best known is ‘Lost Indian’, which appears on a number of compilations of recordings by kindred artists. Records by Sumner are hard to find, but he can be heard on single tracks on compilations released by the American Folk Life Center and by Smithsonian Folkways.

In addition to his following among fans for his kind of music, Sumner also attracted academic attention. In 1996, Ronald Pen, an associate professor of musicology at the University of Kentucky School of Music, delivered a paper entitled Marion Sumner: Fiddle King Of The South at the International Country Music Conference, Meridian, Mississippi.
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Classic Mountain Songs From Smithsonian Folkways

1. Omie Wise

2. Sugar Baby

3. I Am A Poor Pilgrim Of Sorrow

4. Sixteen Tons

5. John Henry

6. Lost Indian

7. Southbound

8. High On A Mountain

9. Coal Creek March

10. Coal Miner's Blues

11. Railroad Blues

12. Cuckoo Bird

13. Conversation With Death (Oh Death)

14. Lone Prairie

15. Rain And Snow

16. I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground

17. Moonshiner

18. Wildwood Flower

19. Barbry Ellen (Barbara Allen)

20. Daniel Prayed

21. Wreck Of The Number Nine

22. Red Jacket Mine Explosion

23. Kingdom Come

24. Amazing Grace

x

Track List: Classic Old-Time Fiddle From Smithsonian Folkways

1. Pretty Little Girl With The Blue Dress On

2. Sugar Hill

3. Sally In The Garden

4. Sally In The Garden

5. Muddy Roads

6. Won't Come Until Morning

7. Wednesday Night Waltz

8. Dance All Night

10. Little Brown Jug

12. Snowbird

14. Cacklin' Hen

15. Old Joe

16. Old Man Below

17. Unnamed Tune

18. Beaumont Rag

19. Richmond Blues

20. Mississippi Sawyer

21. Bill Cheatham

22. Red Bird

23. Johnson Boys

24. Sally Goodin'

25. Unnamed Tune

26. Fine Times At Our House

28. Darling Corey

29. Blackberry Blossom

30. Kentucky Waltz

31. Lee Highway Blues

32. Piney Woods Gal

33. Jenny On The Railroad

34. Billy In The Lowground

35. Fisher's Hornpipe

36. Trombone Rag

37. Bonaparte's Retreat

38. Carroll County Blues

x

Track List: Mountain Music Of Kentucky

Disc 1

1. Old Age Pension Blues

2. Hook And Line

3. John Henry

4. Pretty Polly

5. Old Reuben

6. Spring Of '65

7. Sally In The Garden

8. Barbara Allen

9. When We Shall Meet

10. Amazing Grace

11. Across The Rocky Mountain

12. Graveyard Blues

13. Cripple Creek

14. True Love

15. Sally In The Garden

16. Lost Indian

17. Hollow Poplar

18. The Death Of The Blue Eagle

19. Little Birdie

20. Lost Indian

21. Jaw Bone

22. Bunker's Hill

23. Cacklin' Hen

24. Julie Ann

25. Born In Old Kentucky

26. Buck Creek Girls

27. Sweet Willie

28. Cluck Old Hen

29. Coney Island (Coney Isle)

30. Baby Let Your Hair Roll Down

31. Wayfaring Stranger

32. Stingy Woman

Disc 2

1. East Virginia

2. Single Girl

3. Black Eyed Suzy

4. Hills Of Mexico

5. Foreign Lander

6. Kitty Alone

7. Young And Tender Ladies

16. Wagoner's Lad

17. The Absentee

18. The Coo-Coo (Coo-Coo Bird)

19. Marthis Campbell

20. Sally Goodin'

21. Fiddler A Dram

22. Fox Chase

23. Old Joe Clark

24. Fire On The Mountain

25. Ways Of The World

26. Inch Along

27. Skip To My Lou

28. St. Louis Blues

29. Pretty Polly

30. Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss

31. Fox Chase

32. Ruby

33. No Letter In The Mail

34. Pretty Fair Miss In The Garden

35. John Henry

36. Rocky Island

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