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Roy Crawford
Born:  February 12, 1934
WRFS AlexanderCity, AL (1952)
WJHO Opelika, AL (1953)
WBAM Montgomery, AL (1954)

Roy Crawford Back in 1934, America saw the birth of a child named Roy Crawford in Clay County, Alabama, who would bcome one of its reknowned fiddle champions and master.

When he was just eighteen, he became part of a group called Tommy Farr and the Southern Flames. The group entertained the listening audiences of WRFS out of Alexander City, Alabama back in 1952.

Around 1953, Roy decided to join up with Peck Rowell and the Covered Wagon Boys. This group worked for radio station WJHO in Opelika, Alabama. Opelika is due east of Montgomery on today's Interstate 85 highway, close to the Alabama - Georgia stateline.

The year of 1954 saw Roy again join up with another group. This time it was Rebe Gosdin and the Sunny Valley Boys - a group he stayed with through 1955. The group did regular shows for WBAM in Montgomery, Alabama.

His fiddling talents led to numerous awards during his career. A partial listing of these include:

  • 1973 - Alabama state Champion, Birmingham Bell Auditorium
  • 1974 - Tennessee Valley Fiddle King, Athens College, Athens, Alabama
  • Numerous times - Tennessee Valley Senior Champion, Athens College, Athens, Alabama
  • Numerous times - Central Alabama Senior Champion, McFarland mall, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Numerous times - Georgia State Champion, certified by Georgia Legislature, Hiawassee, Georgia
  • 1997, 1998 - Mississippi Senior Champion, Jackson, Mississippi
  • And many others

Mr. Crawford has also performed for the Smithsonian Institute during the Bicentennial Celebration on Washington Mall via Worldwide Satelte TV.

Roy was selected along with four other fiddle players to represent the South during the American Folklife celebration in 1975.

In addition, Roy was an invited to participate in the Grand Masters National Championships at Opryland in Nashville Tennessee for several years. He placed in the Top Ten several times, finishing as high as fifth in the USA on one occasion.

In 1956, while Roy was with Rebe Gosdin's group, Cowboy Songs featured the act in their "Five Favorites" column. The group was being heard twice a day over WBAM in Montgomery, Alabama at 8:00am and 3:45pm and were said to have two sponsors, though no mention was made of who they were. Other members in the group at that time were Rebe Gosdin, the leader who played the mandolin; Chuck Franklin, guitar and steel guitar; Roy Crawford, fiddle and vocals; Vance Truell, five-string banjo and baritone vocals.

Roy left the music business in 1956 to pursue a career in Data Processing. It turned into a lifelong career, until he decided to retire in April of 1999.

On numerous occasions, we've read stories in articles or other books about the fiddling competitions, often thinking those would be a good movie idea. We asked Roy about what those fiddling competitions were like and he was kind enough to provide some insight from a competitor's insight.

"There was a great competitive spirit at those old contests, but there was also a great spirit of fellowship and appreciation for each other. Some of the greatest fiddlers in the nation would gather 'round for super jam sessions on the grounds or in the building where the contests were being held.

Roy Crawford with Rebe Gosin and his Sunny Valley Boys Huge crowds would gather around, some folks even had portable tape recorders to listen to and record the most spectacular fiddling you would ever hear.

Great fiddlers like Billy Mitchell of Mississippi, Jack weeks of Georgia, Frazier Moss of Tennessee, and J.T. Perkins of Alabama (and Roy Crawford of Ala. would join in with all his heart), would get out their fiddles and perform their best tunes, joining together for "twin" fiddle tunes.

On occasion we would be visted by the great fiddlers from Texas, Oklahoma, and other far off places.

Fiddle competition is still alive, although it is not as common as it once was.

The southeastern style of fiddling like we used to hear on the Grand Ole Opry is being crowded out by the newer "progressive" style and the Texas "longbow" style.

People who never got to attend one of the old time conventions will never know what they missed."

He pursued fiddling part-time with various bands and entering various fiddling competitions.

He currently plays primarily bluegrass music with Roy Crawford and the Cullman County Bluegrass band and continues to participate in fiddling competitions.

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to thank Roy Crawford, Jr. for contacting the site and getting information from his father about Roy Crawford Sr.'s career and the photos accompanying the writeup.
  • Cowboy Songs; Issue No. 44; January 1956; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT

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