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The Skillet Lickers

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The Skillet Lickers were an old-time band from Georgia, USA.

When Gid Tanner & Riley Puckett signed to Columbia in 1924, they created the label’s earliest so-called “hillbilly” recording. Gid Tanner formed The Skillet Lickers in 1926. The first line-up was Gid Tanner, Riley Puckett, Clayton McMichen and Fate Norris. Between 1926 and 1931 they recorded 88 sides for Columbia. Eighty-two of these were commercially issued. Later members were Lowe Stokes, Bert Layne, Hoke Rice, Arthur Tanner and Hoyt “Slim” Bryant. Their best-selling single was “Down Yonder”, a hillbilly breakdown, in 1934 on RCA Victor. They disbanded in 1931, but reformed for occasional recordings after a couple of years with a changing line-up. “Back Up and Push” was another well-known recording. The Skillet Lickers, together with fellow North Georgians Fiddlin’ John Carson and the Georgia Yellow Hammers, made Atlanta and North Georgia an early center of old-time stringband music, especially the hard-driving fiddle-based style employed by each of these performers.

Clayton McMichen (1900–1970) was the lead fiddler. He was known as “Mac”. At the age of 11 he learned to play the fiddle from his uncle and father. Two years later, in 1913, his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia where Mac made his living as an automobile mechanic.

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