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From 1907, a homecoming tale for the holidays – Hickory Bill, by Len Spencer and banjoist Fred Van Epps.

Hickory Bill

Company Edison's National Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 8580
Category Talking & banjo
Title Hickory Bill
Performed by Len Spencer & Fred Van Epps
Circa November 1907
Announcement "Hickory Bill, by Len Spencer and Fred Van Epps.  Edison record."

A touching homecoming story – probably written by Len Spencer – with Spencer performing the speaking parts, and the great Fred Van Epps on banjo.  

When first released by Edison in January 1904, Parke Hunter performed the banjo part.   A popular selection, Hickory Bill remained in the Edison catalog for years.   By November 1907, however, the master molds were exhausted (from duplication) and the recording was made over – this time featuring Van Epps on the banjo.

To hear Hickory Bill   —

For help playing these sounds, click here.

    In No. 8580, "Hickory Bill," Len Spencer and Parke Turner [should have read Parke Hunter] have made an interesting Record which tells by means of a dialogue and banjo music how "Hickory Bill's" brother found him after years of separation.   No one could play the banjo like "Hickory Bill," and this led his brother to identify him.   A Record out of the ordinary.
— December 1903 Edison Phonograph Monthly [announcing the January 1904 first release of Hickory Bill]


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