Benny Thomasson, Champion Texas Fiddler (April 22, 1909 - 1983)

Benny Thomasson (April 22, 1909- died 1983)


Born on April 22, 1909 on a farm in Winters, Runnels County, Texas, about 41 miles (67 km.) south of Abilene,
Benny Thomasson was one of eleven children of Lucas ("Red Luke") and Sarah Elizabeth Wright Thomasson.
 Little Benny picked up the fiddle when he was only three years old.
Luke Thomasson was a gifted fiddler who composed the beautiful waltz "Midnight On The Water," possibly based on the old cowboy song "Old Paint."
The Thomassons were a very musical family, and their home was the scene of many fiddling sessions. The legendary Texas fiddler Eck Robertson was a family friend.


Benny entered his first fiddle contest when he was 14 years old.When he was 19, Benny competed in a major contest in Dallas.
Though he did not win that contest, he was inspired to develop a smooth, powerful, elaborate style that would make him one of the
most successful and influential fiddlers in the highly competitive Texas fiddle contest scene in later years.


Benny married Beatrice Hollander in Taos, New Mexico in 1928.
Benny and his brothers played on radio programs and even recorded for Okeh Records in 1929 but did not become full time country musicians.
 Benny and Bea Hollander moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area where they raised their family of four children.
Benny made his living doing automobile body work but kept up his fiddling, winning many major Texas fiddle contests during the 1950s and 60s.


In 1965, Benny began to develop a reputation outside Texas when he appeared on a County album issued in 1965.
When he retired, Benny and Bea Thomasson moved to the state of Washington in 1972 where their son Dale lived.
Benny quickly became active in the thriving Northwest fiddling scene; he was a major influence on young Mark O'Connor, who went on to a brilliant career as a contest fiddler and composer.
Benny began recording for Phil and Vivian William's Voyager Records and won the Senior Division at the National Old Time Fiddlers Contest in Weiser, Idaho in 1974.
He died in 1983 at the age of 74.


To read more about the life and music of Benny Thomasson, go to:
http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Benny-Thomasson

To see a google map showing where Benny Thomasson was born, raised and spent his life
as one of the most influential American fiddlers of the 20th century, go to:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=108456232374072017347.000468197b27992ec2f1f&ll=40.647304,-98.349609&spn=24.090258,57.128906&z=5

You can hear a sound clip of Benny and his son Jerry on guitar playing
"Don't Let The Deal Go Down" from their 1972 Voyager recording
Benny and Jerry Thomasson, The Weiser Reunion. CD 309 by going to:
http://www.voyagerrecords.com/mp3/30911B.mp3

To hear a sound clip of Benny Thomasson fiddling "Wild John" from his
Voyager record Benny Thomasson : Say Old Man Can You Play The Fiddle CD 345 go to: http://www.voyagerrecords.com/mp3/34518B.mp3

You can hear Benny Thomasson's version of "Old Bell Cow" from the same
Voyager CD by going to: http://www.voyagerrecords.com/mp3/34528B.mp3

To learn more about Voyager Records, go to: http://www.voyagerrecords.com/cd_cass.htm#L309

You can read an article about Benny Thomson at the National Old Time Fiddlers Contest in Weiser, Idaho
 originally published in the John Edwards Memorial Foundation Quarterly (JEMFQ) , Vol. 10, Part 3, No. 34 (Autumn 1974) go to:

http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:bF3y_t-dOqkJ:slidingscalemusic.com/articles/Benny%2520Thomasson/BT%2520Interview.pdf+%22Benny+Thomasson%22&cd=33&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us


To read a 1973 interview with Benny Thomasasson by Michael Mendelson,
"Benny Thomasson and the Texas Fiddling Tradition."
JEMF Quarterly. Vol. 10, Part 3, #35 (Autumn 1974) by going to:
http://slidingscalemusic.com/articles.htm

Sound Recordings and Video:

* Texas Hoedown (County 703) - 1965
* Country Fiddling From the Big State (County 724)~ 1970
* Dudley Hill - Guitar: From a Northern Family (Voyager CD 317) early 1970s, re-released 2002
* Oldtime Fiddling and Other Folk Music (Weiser, Idaho Chamber of Commerce) 1972
* Oldtime Fiddling and Other Folk Music (Weiser, Idaho) 1973
* A Jam Session With Benny and Jerry Thomasson (Voyager VRLP 309) ~1973
* Texas Fiddle Legends Benny Thomasson and Dick Barrett (Yazoo 517, VHS video) recorded early 1970s, released late 1990s
* Say Old Man Can You Play the Fiddle (Voyager VRCD 345) recorded informally on March 3, 1974, re-released 1999
* Tenino Old Time Music Festival: 1970 - 1978 Fiddle Tunes and Other Instrumentals (Voyager CD 367) - 2005
* Benny Thomasson Legendary Texas Fiddler County CO 2737 CD 2005 (originally released in 1966)


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