Bob Larkan Collection

Fiddlin’ Bob Larkan (full name Robert William Larkan, sometimes misspelled as Larkin) was born in New York City in 1867. His family moved to Missouri in 1870. Larkan and his wife moved to Arkansas in 1891. He farmed and fiddled for radio stations, including one owned by a “Dr.” John Brinkley, a quack whose snake-oil remedies included “one for restoring the flagging male sex drive by surgically implanting slices of goat glands” (Tony Russell, Country Music Originals: The Legends and the Lost). After losing his medical license, Brinkley moved to Mexico and established a radio station across the border. Larkan and his band, the Music Makers, followed Brinkley for a time.

The transcriptions presented here are of tunes that Larkan and his Music Makers recorded in 1928. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, the Music Makers at this time consisted of Bob Larkan on fiddle, his son Forrest on piano, his daughter Alice and son-in-law William Sherbs on guitar.

Larkan passed away in 1942.

Note that Larkan liked to tune the fourth string down one step to F, playing in the odd FDAE tuning. This allowed him to get a low F drone, which he used to good effect in the flatted keys that he favored, such as Bb.

This collection is complete, as I have transcribed all 13 known Larkan recordings.  If you have access to any additional recording of Larkan, please do not hesitate to contact me.

13 tunes found in this collection.

Click on table headers to sort tunes.

Name Type Key Date Added Date Updated
Ain’t She Sweet Reel or Breakdown B flat 2015-06-26 2015-06-26
Arkansas Waltz Waltz D 2015-06-26 2015-06-26
Beautiful Belle Waltz B flat 2015-06-26 2015-06-26
Higher Up the Monkey Climbs, The (Seneca Squaredance) Reel or Breakdown B flat 2015-06-26 2015-06-26
Kansas City Reel Reel or Breakdown A 2015-06-26 2015-06-26
Little Nellie's Waltz Waltz G 2015-09-22 2015-09-22
McLeod’s Reel Reel or Breakdown G 2015-09-22 2015-09-22
Paddy, Won't You Drink Some Good Old Cider? Reel or Breakdown A 2015-09-22 2015-09-22
Prairie County Waltz Waltz C 2015-09-22 2015-09-22
Saturday Night Waltz Waltz G 2015-09-22 2015-09-22
Silver Nail Reel or Breakdown G 2015-09-22 2015-09-22
Under the Double Eagle March B flat 2015-09-22 2015-09-22
Women Wear no Clothes at All, The Reel or Breakdown B flat 2015-09-22 2015-09-22