Biography:Oscar & Doc Harper

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Oscar & Doc Harper

 Given name:     Oscar
 Middle name:     
 Family name:     Harper
 Place of birth:     
 Place of death:     
 Year of birth:     
 Year of death:     
 Profile:     Musician
 Source of information:     

Biographical notes

Fiddler Oscar Harper recorded in Dallas, Texas, in November, 1929, accompanied by his nephew Doc Harper on guitar. They also performed on local radio stations and venues, often in blackface, with their neighboring fiddler, Prince Albert Hunt, who, like the Harpers, was an OKeh Records recording artist. All hailed from the town of Terrell, east Texas, due east of Dallas. According to a cousin-once-removed of Prince Albert's, Budford Hunt, Oscar Harper would play the waltzes, while Prince Albert would front the breakdowns. He was particularly known for his recording of ""Kelly Waltz." H.E. Harper, Doc Harper's son, recalled:

My father grew up, seconding him on the guitar, after my grandfather. And later on, why, he and my uncle would play at different dances. It was usually an occasion of some kind they would have a dance. Get the word out to all the neighborhoods they was going to have a dance on a certain night, and they’d furnish the musicians for everybody to come, and then usually they’d get there; why, they have to stack all the furniture out in the yard, and they’d dance then in the house.

And, like I say, it was usually the square dances, or something like that, where there is group participation. It got to be quite a crowd in some of the small rural homes then. Sometimes they would last all night, according to the mood that the people were in, you know. If everybody was having a good time, and no kind of interruption or friction amongst the clan, why it would last all night; they’d still be dancing when the sun come up.[1]

Oscar Harper developed a notable reputation as a fiddler in East Texas, and was recorded by John A. Lomax in 1942 for the Library of Congress along with the Dallas Square Dance Club. Harper also fronted his own band, Oscar Harper's Texas String Band, and he was a formidable contestant in fiddle contests. He earned his living as a barber in Terrell.

  1. Quoted from a transcription of a film entitled "Memories of Prince Albert Hunt" [1].