Biography:Hoyt Ming

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Hoyt Ming

 Given name:     Hoyt
 Middle name:     
 Family name:     Ming
 Place of birth:     Choctaw County, Mississippi
 Place of death:     Choctaw County, Mississippi
 Year of birth:     1902
 Year of death:     1985
 Profile:     Musician
 Source of information:     

Biographical notes

Hoyt Ming (1902-1985) was a potato farmer and fiddler from Choctaw, Mississippi, who recorded with his family band The Pep Steppers. Ming was one of seven brothers and one sister, at least four of whom played instruments, and began fiddling at the age of fifteen after his father invited a sting band to perform at a house pa rty. Victor talent scout Ralph Peer enlisted Ming (along with his wife, Rozelle {1902-1983} on guitar, brother Troy on mandolin, with caller A. D. Coggin) after they auditioned for him in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1928. Peer invited them to come to Memphis where he had a recording studio at the Peabody Hotel, and, their trip sponsored by the Troy Drug Company, the group cut four sides at their only 78 RPM-era session on 13 February, 1928. One of the sides was the “Indian War Whoop,” a tune that included Ming’s imitation of a Native American war cry. Ming impressed audiences by whooping along with the drawn-out final note of the phrase so closely that he could stop playing the fiddle without changing the sound at all. The illusion so impressed at least one man that he insisted that Ming put the fiddle into its case to prove it was not somehow still making the sound. Rozelle Ming tended to stomp her foot on the beats. Atypically, Ralph Peer not only chose to leave that sound in, but named the band the “Pep Steppers” after it. The record label proceeded to transcribe Hoyt’s name as “Floyd Ming,” leading to inevitable confusion later.

Ming continued to play local fairs and dances with a family band after the 78 RPM era, but had all but given up playing by the mid-1950's. He was 'rediscovered' (due to the efforts of Dave Freeman of County Records, who tracked Ming down in 1972) and the Ming band played the National Folk Festival in 1973 and the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife in 1974, as well as recorded an album in 1975 (including "Charleston No. 2").