Joe Albert | Bowing Down Home

Joe Albert, 2006

Biography

Joe Albert is one of the best West Prince style fiddlers of his generation. He grew up in Western Prince County, where he was raised by his grandfather Little Joe Arsenault. His grandfather played fiddle and frequently hosted music parties, and once Joe also began to play the house became a major gathering place for fiddlers from the surrounding region. When Joe was growing up during the 1930s and 40s, his section of West Prince County was a major center for musical activities. There were many great fiddlers on the go, and locals gathered frequently for house parties and frolics, especially around the onset of Lent on the day following Mardi Gras. Since square dancing was forbidden during the forty days of Lent, Acadians compensated by holding a dance or two nearly every day in the weeks leading up to that holiday.

Joe learned by emulating his grandfather and other fiddlers in the immediate area. He would often awaken with tunes running through his mind, and found that he was most likely to remember them if he sat down with his fiddle and played before breakfast.

Joe has lived for much of his adult life in Summerside, where he plays regularly at benefit concerts and senior citizens' homes with the Joe Albert Band. In 2006, he was joined in the band by two of his brothers – Ivan Albert and Ron Albert on guitar – and by Don MacDougall on piano and Jack Darrach on bass. He plays many unusual tunes and variants, and has also composed a few tunes, including Summerside Reel and Northern Breakdown.

Tune Selections

Albert, Joe - Cotton-Eyed Joe / Mrs. McLeod of Rasay Accompanied by: Ivan Albert, gtr
West Prince
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Albert, Joe - Fiddle Fingers Accompanied by: Ivan Albert, gtr
West Prince
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Albert, Joe - Frost is All Over, The Accompanied by: unacc
West Prince
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Albert, Joe - Growling Old Man Accompanied by: Ivan Albert, gtr
West Prince
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Albert, Joe - High Level Hornpipe Accompanied by: Ivan Albert, gtr
West Prince
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Albert, Joe - Hurricane, The Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
West Prince
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Albert, Joe - Northern Breakdown Accompanied by: Ivan Albert, gtr
West Prince
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Albert, Joe - Ontario Swing Accompanied by: Ivan Albert, gtr
West Prince
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Albert, Joe - Paddy on the Turnpike, A-setting Accompanied by: Ivan Albert, gtr
West Prince
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Albert, Joe - Pigeon on the Gatepost Accompanied by: Ivan Albert, gtr
West Prince
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Albert, Joe - Princess Reel Accompanied by: Ivan Albert, gtr
West Prince
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Albert, Joe - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Ivan Albert, gtr
West Prince
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Albert, Joe - Summerside Reel Accompanied by: Ivan Albert, gtr
West Prince
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Oral Histories

Albert, Joe - Fiddlers' gatherings, frolics, Lent customs Joe grew up at grandfather's; 4-5 fiddlers came by to play every night; Mardi Gras customs; wood chopping frolics info and transcript
Albert, Joe - Tune-learning strategies Learn tunes before breakfast info and transcript
House parties around St. Edward General description; parties before lent; no amplification info and transcript
How Albert got started Emulated grandfather and other fiddlers; Peter Albert the champion stepdancer info and transcript

Video Clips