Robert Earl Johnson learned to play the fiddle from an early age, partly with some assistance from his father. When he was young, he used to practise together with his two brothers, Albert on banjo and Ester on guitar. Between 1920 and 1934, Johnson was a regular participant at the Atlanta Fiddlers’ Convention. In 1923, Albert and Ester were the victims of an epidemic.
Earl of Rockingham
The same year, Johnson joined Fiddlin’ John Carson’s Virginia Reelers and within two years, he made his first recordings earl of rockingham. Initially, he recorded with the “Dixie String Band” and Arthur Tanner. He became the Georgia state fiddle champion of 1926 in Atlanta. Johnson formed the “Dixie Entertainers with guitarist Byrd Moore and banjoist Emmett Bankston and they made their first recordings for Okeh Records on February 21, 1927. When Byrd Moore left, Johnson added guitarist Lee “Red” Henderson and formed “The Clodhoppers”. The new band became successful recording for Okeh in October 1927. Although he made his last recordings in 1931, he continued to perform on the radio and on fiddlers’ conventions for the remainder of his life. His last performance was on May 24, 1965 at the Stone Mountain Fiddlers’ Convention in Georgia. No less than a week later, he died of a heart attack. Biog details courtesy of Wikipedia
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