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The Beautiful Music All Around UsField Recordings and the American Experience$
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Stephen Wade

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036880

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036880.001.0001

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Pete Steele

Pete Steele

It’s What Folks Do

(p.207) 8 Pete Steele
The Beautiful Music All Around Us

Stephen Wade

University of Illinois Press

This chapter describes the recordings of banjoist Pete Steele, who began as a coal miner and then became a carpenter in a southern Ohio paper plant. On March 29, 1938, at his company-owned home on Rhea Avenue a few blocks from the Champion paper mills, Pete Steele first recorded “Coal Creek March” along with twenty-six other songs and tunes. Pete's facility with multiple tunings, combined with his various right-hand picking styles, demonstrates a technical range unsurpassed on the Folk Archive's numerous other disc-era banjo recordings. Surrounded by his wife Lillie and their children, Pete applied these skills either solo or to accompany Lillie, who additionally sang four numbers by herself. Their son Craig joined them on three pieces, playing guitar and sometimes adding his voice to theirs.

Keywords:   banjoist, banjo, musicians, Pete Steele, Library of Congress recordings, Coal Creek March

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