Fiddlin' Doc Roberts (April 26, 1897 - August 4, 1978) was an American Kentucky-style old-time fiddler.
Dock Philipine Roberts was born and raised on a farm in Madison County, Kentucky and learned to play the fiddle at an early age with some help from his older brother Liebert. Doc's and Liebert's musical mentor was the African-American fiddler Owen Walker.
After finishing his studies in Berea Roberts married in 1913. In 1925, a talent scout, Dennis Taylor, recruited Roberts along with Welby Toomey and Edgar Boaz as old time recording artists for Gennett Records. In early 1927, Roberts recorded with the string band, the "Booker Family". Together with Dick Parman and Ted Chestnut, he formed the Kentucky Thorobreds. They recorded in April 1927 for the
In the fall of 1927, he formed a duo with Asa Martin called Martin & Roberts. They made their recording debut in May 1928 for the Gennett label. Between 1927-1934, the duo performed at fiddler's conventions, in schoolhouses, on vaudeville stages, and on radio (WHAS in
). Martin & Roberts recorded altogether
more than 200 sides on 11 different labels. Later on, with the addition of Doc
Roberts' son James, the Fiddlin' Doc Roberts Trio was formed. In 1928, Roberts
was hired, through the agency of Bradley Kincaid, by the National Barn Dance
radio show in Louisville, Kentucky . He was paid $50 a week. After only
two weeks he quit the show and moved back to Chicago . The reason was that he was unable to
sleep due to the noise of the big city. The Doc Roberts Trio lasted until 1934
when Roberts retired as a recording artist. During the next 4 decades, he
continued to make personal appearances and occasional radio works. Kentucky
Recorded March 15, 1929.
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