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GIL KIESECKER: BLUE MOUNTAIN MEMORIES
Gil Diesecker was born at Anatone, Washington, in 1916. "I grew up on a wheat farm, working in the fields at an early age, also tending cattle and wrangling horses on my parents' Grande Ronde RIver homestead ranch." His dad played fiddle, and taught Gil how to chord on the pump organ for dances. At age 10 he started playing fiddle, and in the 1930's played fiddle, guitar and Hawaiian guitar for dances in Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon. His repertoire included waltzes, foxtrots, polkas, schottisches, one-steps, two-steps, three-steps, the stomp, and the Charleston.
"I drove a team of horses hitched to a covered wagon or a sled to school all my four years of high school during the winter when the school bus could no longer travel - in those days we had no snow plows! I hauled about a dozen kids to school and back every day, and was responsible for getting them to school on time and home safely. It was about 15 miles each day. Sometimes we had four feet of snow with drifts 10 feet or more high. When the snow started melting in the spring, causing many bare spots to appear on the road, I'd have to switch from the bobsled to the wagon. This sometimes required as many as four horses to pull the wagon through the snowdrifts."
After high school he continued to work in the area, driving teams, trailing cattle, and tending sheep samps. He and his brother built an outdoor dance floor near Field Springs, Washington, and put on a dance every Saturday night. Gil's amily sold the farm after he joined the Army in 1940, so when he got out he worked in the grocery business in Seattle until retirement. He jointed the Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association in 1974, revived many of his old tunes and picked up new ones from other fiddlers.
1. Devil's Dream - "One of my earliest tunes I learned when I first
2. Sacramento Mountain Rag - From Junior Daugherty of New Mexico.
3. Ozark Moon - First learned from Monte Stephens at Weiser, Idaho, with added variations picked up from Joe Pancerzewski.
4. Hell Among the Yearlings - Learned from Champion fiddler Dick Barrett from Montana.
5. Spanish Two-Step - A Bob Wills tune, learned from fiddlers at Weiser.
6. Soldiers Joy - Played at square dances as a boy.
7. Dill Pickle Rag - This version is from Dick Barrett and various Idaho fiddlers.
8. Haste to the Wedding - First heard at the Weiser contest.
9. Pride of the Ball - From Ben Setran and Jim Calvert.
10. Billy in the Lowground - "I learned variations from several fiddlers, much of it my own."
11. Red River Cart Polka - A tune by Andy DeJarlis, learned from Joe Pancerzewski.
12. Rose of Sharon - "Not sure where I got this."
13. Mississippi Sawyer - "Played this as a boy."
14. I Only Want a Buddy - Learned from recordings.
15. Old Man & Old Woman - From fiddlers at Weiser, especially Loyd Wanzer.
16. West Coast Waltz - First learned from Monte Berg.
17. Johnny Green's Cake Walk - From Harry Johnson.
18. Woodchoppers Reel - Learned from Joe Pancerzewski.
19. Silver Wedding Waltz - From a recording of Joe Pancerzewski.
20. Green Stockings Jig - "I made it up!"
21. Rose o' My Heart - From a recording of Clark Kessinger.
22. Ricketts Hornpipe - Influenced by the style of Clark Kessinger.
23. Ingram's Two-Step - "A tune I picked up from Harry Johnson."
24. Soppin the Gravy - From recordings of fiddlers at Weiser.
Piano: Jean Levold. Guitar: Stuart Williams, Phil Williams, Bernie Keller. Bass: Phil Williams. Cover photo: Fritz Dent. Recorded 2001 - 2004 by Phil Williams.
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