Final Notes, Stranger Malone

Kasper “Stranger” Malone, one of the most remarkable musicians of the 20th Century, died May 30 at the age of 95. He started playing music at the age of three, in 1912, when his brother gave him a “beat up” cornet. He also played clarinet, flute, bass, and guitar during his long career. In the old-time universe Malone played and recorded with Clayton McMichen, Riley Puckett, Gid Tanner, and Lowe Stokes and the Melody Men. (Malone appears on the Tanner epic “A Day at the County Fair.”) He also played with swing musician Jack Tegarden, in silent film orchestras and radio bands, and he was on some of the first recordings ever made by Columbia Records. He also played orchestral bass, and was first chair of the Tucson Symphony for over ten years. According to friends, Malone got his striking nickname when, at the age of 15, he walked up to a group of musicians playing on the street in Armuchee, Georgia, and one of them said “Who's that little stranger with the big horn?” All will smile when they learn that he left life in typical Stranger style, in his sleep, with the book Life is Worth Living open on his lap.

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