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Exploring Old Time Recordings and Artists 


Jess Young

Chattanooga Fiddler


Jess Young (1883-1938) was a well known fiddler from Whitwell, TN, just northwest of Chattanooga. A former miner, he was a champion contest fiddler back in the mid 1920’s when it was not unusual for hundreds of musicians to compete in regional contests that were attended by audiences in the thousands. And a typical $50 first prize would, in today’s value, be worth almost $1000. 


He formed an Old-time string band trio with his nephew Arthur Young on guitar, and Homer Davenport on banjo. They recorded eight sides for Gennett Records in April 1925 as Homer Davenport and Young Brothers, only five of which were ever issued. Later, Davenport got injured and C.C. Thomas took his place on banjo. 


The band recorded fourteen sides for Columbia between 1927 and 1929 as Jess Young’s Tennessee Band, with a Columbia singer Dan Hornsby providing vocals. Their best known release was a waltz called “Sweet Bunch Of Daisies” with "Fiddle Up", a take on an Irving Berlin tune, as a close second. They didn't record after the Columbia sessions, but did play regular stage shows and dances around Chattanooga from 1924 until December 31, 1938, when Jess Young died. Other band names associated with Jess Young are the Young Brothers Tennessee Band and The Three Howard Boys.


Joe DeCosimo, who has studied and written about Jess Young, shared this article he wrote for the Old Time Herald magazine in 2006 about Clint Kilgore, a Chattanooga area fiddler who grew up playing alongside Jess Young, who shared some memories of that time. 

Learn more about Jess Young and his tune, "Hy Patillion" in the Tune History section.

Fiddle UpJess Young
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