Opie, Where've You Been?

Opie has been my friend for a few years. Carter Vintage Guitars in Nashville,TN was the last place Opie sat, wearing a price tag. Now, home with me, we spend hours together getting acquainted. 

Burnsville NC is the final resting place of someone that probably needed the rest, Leslie Riddle. Leslie spent years with A.P. Carter roaming hills and hollars collecting songs. Mr. Riddle is known to have been instrumental in developing and/or sharing what has come to be known as Carter style of guitar playing. Legend or truth, or enough both to make a great story. Leslie Riddle’s grave is marked with a beautiful stone, paid for by the Carter Family. A sad fact is that Leslie wasn’t allowed to perform in public with the Carters because of his race. (I used the word “sad,’ but “shameful” would have fit in there just as well.) 

Around town here, some places have a picture of Leslie and Brownie McGhee. I noticed a familiar looking instrument in the picture. There’s something odd about the picture, tho’ Both men are holding instruments backwards, (upside down.) Why, is a good question.  

Photography at that time produced a “mirror” image. In a photograph, it would look like the two men in the picture would “look” left handed. The photographer had Leslie and Brownie hold the instruments backwards when being photographed. The final photo appears like the subjects are holding instrument in what looks like the normal right-hand way. Except, the instruments have the smaller strings on top. Pretty darn smart, I’ll say. 


Instruments’ travels, 

All song filled, portals of souls. 

Spectors escaping.

Peace, Y'all!




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