Harvey Taylor

Oct. 1, 1894 - Feb. 11, 1987

In 1984, Harvey "Pappy" Taylor of Effingham was in his 90th year and suffered considerable pain from a bad hip. Despite this, he accepted an invitation to travel by car 250 miles north to Libertyville, Illinois and provide an evening of music in a concert setting.

Before the performance he was interviewed, during which he was asked how many pieces he knew. Over the time that we knew him, he had made a list of them, and the figure was around 2,000. Of course this included many songs, popular pieces, and fiddle "standards," in addition to the obscure traditional fiddle pieces for which he was best known among traditional fiddle music circles. In this video clip, he plays one such piece, "Devil in the Haystack." Faintly audible, following the performance, he jokingly comments, "That's one of the two thousand."

Later the same year, we celebrated his 90th birthday with him, and two more after that. On Valentine's Day, 1987, we were called upon to help carry him to his final resting place. He was an unforgettable character.

 


Pap's 90th birthday, a candle per decade


"That's one of the two thousand."

 

On video at Adler House, Libertyville, illinois

The 1984 performance took place at Adler House and was videotaped. The House sent us a copy of the tape a short time after the concert. More recently, Paul Tyler went one better and provided us with a copy on DVD. Thanks to the Adler House for taping the performance and to Paul for sending along the digital copy.

 

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