Jack Webster | Bowing Down Home
Jack Webster was one of the best known fiddlers in the eastern half of PEI from the 1940s through the 1960s and 70s, remembered for his brilliant tone, inventive tune versions, and infectious rhythmic attack . He was in great demand at house parties, weddings, schoolhouse dances, and dance halls, and he was cited as a formative influence by nearly every fiddler from Central and South Kings County that we interviewed.
According to his sons Carl and Jackie, Jack generally played for dances five or six nights a week. He managed all this despite having had his left hand index finger so severely injured as a youngster, that he was unable to use it for playing. In order to play the note B on the first string, for example, he had to skip up with his entire left hand, then quickly skip back down again to obtain a lower note.
Jack’s family had made recordings of his music during the 1960s on reel-to-reel tapes and single-issue 78 rpm disks. Unfortunately, at some point cassette copies were made as souvenirs for family members and the originals seem to have been lost. Despite the low fidelity, the magic of his playing shines through.
He is accompanied on piano by Georgie Webster, one of the most gifted piano accompanists of her generation. Thanks to Jackie Webster and Harold Dockendorff for permitting cassettes in their possession to be digitally copied.