Biography:Mack Blalock

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Mack Blalock

 Given name:     Mack
 Middle name:     
 Family name:     Blalock
 Place of birth:     
 Place of death:     Mentone, Alabama
 Year of birth:     1914
 Year of death:     1987
 Profile:     Musician
 Source of information:     

Biographical notes

MACK BLALOCK (1914-1987), of Mentone, Alabama, was a fiddler who influenced contemporary fiddler James Bryan (b. 1953), a neighbor in the Lookout Mountain region. In addition to his uncle Joe Blalock (b. 1854), Mack learned many tunes from his aunt Annie Blalock of Lookout Mountain, and uncles Alfred and Henry Blalock. The talent for fiddling in the family was generational: the Blalock families brought fiddles with them to Alabama in 1813[1]. The Dekalb County annual fiddler's convention, which ran from 1905, first under the sponsorship of William Van Jacoway, Sr. (b. 1873) gave one of its awards each year to the 'oldest fiddler'. In 1929 Jacoway wrote of Uncle Joe (not Jim, as sometimes is given):

During the past year the convention lost its oldest fiddler in the death of Uncle Bill Lyons. Taking the honor this year... was Uncle J.M Blalock...of Lookout Mountain, who first attended the convention twenty years ago when he was 55, and Monday night at the ripe old age of 75 as he deftly drew his bow over the fiddle in "Rye Straw" and "Sally Good-un." Although Uncle Jim's fingers, under the weight of 75 winters, have begun to lose some of their nimbleness and elasticity, he was able to catch the swing and rhythm of those old-time tunes that inspired the steps of the old-fashioned quadrille. [2]

Annue Blalock Cooper was one of the many fiddlers on Lookout Mountain, reported researcher and musician Joyce Cauthen, who said that Mack Blalock recalled that his aunt:

could get that bow too going...I never seen anybody who could use a fiddle bow like she did....She could beast us so bad.

He remembered, Cauthen wrote, that she won over well-known regional fiddlers, such as Joe Lee, at area fiddlers' conventions during the nineteen-twenties and thirties.[3].

Blalock called AEae tuning the "round key of A"[4].

See a photo of Mack Blalock on p. 38 of Alabama Arts, vol. XXIV, No. 1 (State Arts Awards Issue 2011), in the article on awardee James Bryan [1]

  1. Joyce Cauthen, With Fiddle and Well-Rosined Bow, 1989, p. 44.
  2. ibid, p. 189.
  3. ibid, p. 73
  4. ibid, p. 71