Saturday, September 30, 2017

Alcyone, Dr. Bate' s ukulele-playing daughter

Terrific breakfast music...  making me wonder whether the steel resonator I recently saw on a picture of an old banjo ukulele could be used as a biscuit tin... or vice-versa.
Meanwhile, I have just been reading up on Dr. Humphrey Bate's daughter, Alcyone Bate Beasley, who played the ukulele (and piano) with Dr. Humphrey Bate & The Possum Hunters. I'm going back through YouTube videos made from their old records, trying to find some where I can actually hear her ukulele.
  I don't hear one on this recording, but I'm playing along on my own banjo-uke here at the breakfast table, so maybe I'm drowning her out. For anyone else who wants to play along, the tune is in C, a great key for the uke in clawhammer banjo style!
(This blog post is actually copied from a series of Facebook posts I made this morning, gradually becoming aware that I'm spending a lot of time writing things that get lost in the great Facebook Empire instead of being out here on the open web supported by applications and hosting services like Blogger and WordPress.)
Anyone have any suggestions of records where you can actually hear Alcyone's four-string?
Here's what All music says about Ms. Bate, who was part of the show at the age of 13.
"Bate’s daughter, Alcyone (b. 1912, Nashville, Tennessee, USA, d. 14 October 1982, Nashville, Tennessee, USA), first sang with his band as a four-year-old and by 1926, at the age of 13, she was the regular pianist who could also play ukulele. She is reckoned to be the first woman both to appear on and sing on the Grand Ole Opry."
Maybe my ukulele playing friends Marcy A. Marxer or Terri McMurray or Lightnin Wells will see this on Facebook and know the answer!
Speaking of Dr. Humphrey Bate & The Possum Hunters, I have two questions about this YouTube posting.
First, I think I actually might hear a ukulele in the background, but it's hard to separate out from the banjo.
Second, the picture accompanying this clip includes a gentleman in a cowboy hat holding what looks to be a tiple, my favorite 10 string member of the ukulele family, or perhaps a taropatch, the eight string version.
It's  too nice outside to stay online searching for a higher quality copy of the photo and some written histories of the band, but maybe I will get back to this.