Joseph Doucette | Bowing Down Home

Joe Doucette with model ship he carved, 1992

Biography

Joseph Doucette grew up in a fiddling family; both his father Joe Doucette and his cousin Howard Doucette played. He also had ample opportunity to hear such other accomplished local fiddlers as Jerry and George Gaudet, Bert and Elmer Provost, and Ben Poirier.

Joseph started playing fiddle at age 6; his first tune was a hymn he had learned in church. His father gave him a few pointers, but basically he figured out how to play on his own.

At age 12, Doucette began playing for local house dances, which at that time were often held in association with work parties, or frolics. He played frequently for dances during his youth, but gave up the fiddle entirely when he began to raise a family. He didn’t start playing regularly again until after his retirement.

Doucette aptly notes, “All them old tunes die with the old people when they go. We didn't question them or find out from them, so we don't know our loss. A lot of these tunes that my father played, see, I never thought to learning them, and nobody else thought to learn them. That's a big mistake!”

Doucette himself has passed on many of his tunes to his youngest son, Victor Doucette. Another son is guitarist Vincent Doucette, who plays accompaniment here and also for both Dennis Pitre and his brother Victor.

Of special interest: Joseph Doucette dramatizes how the tune La Marmotteuse (Growling Old Man, Cackling Old Woman) might have originated.

Tune Selections

Doucette, Joseph - Buckley's Favorite Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Doucette, Joseph - Doucette's Dream Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Doucette, Joseph - Doucette's Reel Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Doucette, Joseph - Growling Old Man Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Doucette, Joseph - Irish Washerwoman / Ten Penny Bit Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Doucette, Joseph - Larry O'Gaff / Jimmy MacKinnon of Smelt Brook Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Doucette, Joseph - Lord MacDonald's Reel Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Doucette, Joseph - Miramichi Fire, The Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Doucette, Joseph - North Cape Reel Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Doucette, Joseph - Old Man & the Old Woman, The Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Doucette, Joseph - Paddy on the Turnpike Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Doucette, Joseph - Pride of the Ball Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Doucette, Joseph - West Point Reel Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Oral Histories

Doucette gets started Started at 5 or 6, hiding somewhere where your parents wouldn't get a headache info and transcript
Doucette, Joseph - La Marmotteuse dramatization Story of La Marmotteuse (Growling Old Man) info and transcript
Figures out how to play Watched where his father put fingers; father told him most of the music was how you handled the bow; it has to be loose. Once you have the air of it, try to place the fingers where they should go, and remember where that was info and transcript
Wood-chopping frolics And that night they'd have a dance. info and transcript

Video Clips