Fiddlin' Doc Roberts is one of the more famous old-time musicians with a recorded work including more than 80 songs for threee different companies. Roberts was born in 1897 in Madison County, KY. When Doc was very young, his father died so he and his brothers had to take over the farm. As a child, Doc and his older brother learned from a black fiddler called Owen Walker to play the fiddle. In 1925, Roberts was invited by Dennis Taylor, also a farmer in the county and talent scout for Gennett, to record a session in Richmond, Indiana, with Welby Toomley and Edgar Boaz. These were the first commercial recordings by Fiddlin' Doc Roberts and in 1927, more sides followed for Paramount. Between 1927 and 1934, Roberts recorded for the American Record Corporation and Gennett countless other songs. His musical partner during these days was guitarist Asa Martin, also from Kentucky, with whom he also did personal appereances all around Kentucky and was heard over radio (mostly WLAP in Lexington). In 1928, Doc brought along his by then 10 year old son James to the studio - the Doc Roberts Trio was formed. Roberts later became known as James Carson and was a star on the WSB Barn Dance, along with his wife Martha Carson. Doc Roberts himself retired from the music business in 1934, returning to farming. In the 1960s, Roberts was rediscovered by the young folk music fans, but refused to perform. Finally, in 1974, he gave one reunion concert with Asa Martin and his son James at Berea College. Roberts died in 1978.
Here are three tunes by Roberts:
1. Cumberland Blues
2. Devil in Georgia