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Uncle Eck Dunford
Born:  May 30, 1875
Died:  June 24, 1953

About The Artist

Promo Ad - Victor Records - Uncle Eck Dunford - 1928 Alexander "Uncle Eck" Dunford was a native of Ballard's Branch, Virginia. This community later became part of the small independent city of Galax, along the Carroll-Grayson County line. Little is known of his youth, but he did develop into a quality fiddler and guitarist. Many viewed him as more educated than most of his neighbors.

In 1908, he married Callie Frost. Unfortunately, she died in 1921. Some of her relatives, Hattie, Irma and Bolen Frost, were into string music as well as Hattie's husband Ernest Stoneman whom she had married in 1918. From 1924, he began contacts with record companies which would lead to a musical career. In addition to his fiddle and guitar talents, Uncle Eck possessed what Tony Russell termed a unique and "matchless mountain brogue" which he would demonstrate on Stoneman-led "rural drama" skits, a few songs and monologues in 1927 and 1928.

Dunford songs included his fiddling and vocal on such numbers as "Old Shoes and Leggin'" and "Angeline, the Baker." Highlights of his four monologues included "My First Bicycle Ride" and "The Savingest Man on Earth." Although credited to the Stoneman Family, "Going Up the Mountain After Liquor" was almost all Uncle Eck and he also shone on "Possum Trot School Exhibition." In all, he appeared at the two Victor sessions in Bristol and another in Atlanta in 1927 and 1928.

After most of the Stonemans relocated to the Washington, D. C. area, Dunford formed a close association with the Ward family from Grayson County. He was part of the Bogtrotters band that recorded for the Library of Congress. On the side, he worked as a photographer and sold vegetables.

Eck resided in a one-room cabin in the Ballard's Branch section of Galax and was a familiar figure at the Fiddler's Convention in the early years. As age began to catch up with him, according to former Stoneman fiddler Kahle Brewer, he earned small amounts of money by selling pencils on the streets of Galax. His death at 78 was noted at the 1953 Galax Convention.

Credits & Sources

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  20880 A The Whippoorwill Song
  20880 B Credited to Ernest Stoneman
  20938 A Skip to My Lou, My Darling
  20938 B Barney McCoy (w/Ernest Stoneman)
  21131 A The Savingest Man on Earth
  21131 B My First Bicycle Ride
  21244 A Sleeping Late
  21244 B The Taffy Pulling Party
  21578 A Sweet Summer Has Gone Away (w/Ernest Stoneman)
  21578 B What Will I Do, for My Money's All Gone (w/Hattie Stoneman)
  40060 A Old Shoes & Leggings
  40060 B Angeline The Baker

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