Eck Robertson can only be called the source of a hidden history of country music. Probably the first fiddler to record on record (and also probably the first country record commercially available), Robertson seems to be the pinnacle and the origin of the Fiddle Contest tradition, and at the very least, his records and contest appearances in Texas were an inspiration for a generation of fiddlers. Fiddlers were country music's first virtuosos, and that can largely be attributed to Robertson's deep and soulful playing. He swings before swing became institutionalized on record (his first record came a short two years after Mamie Smith's "Crazy Blues"), and his records became the standard by which fiddle players were (and are!) tested. His playing is ingenious and intuitive, the kind of work one would expect from the originator of style, rather than a follower of some folk tradition. His version of "Sallie Gooden" drones and saws its way to a powerful conclusion. Its power sounds timeless, and it feels as if it could last for 20 minutes, and one wishes that it would. Robertson's early recordings evoke a kind of forgotten age and some timeless futurity and, as such, is an essential part of any history of country music.