Gordon Townsend 2015

     Gordon Townsend was born in Aransas Pass on October 24, 1953, to
Lilly Fay (Pat) and John Townsend. He has one sister, Rhonda Aldridge
that lives in Louisiana with her family. Ay a very young age, Gordon
acquired the nickname “Skull” from his dad, which most all of his
friends continue to use today.
     Taught by his father, Gordon started playing the fiddle in 1960 at the
age of seven. He learned to play the instrument very quickly and not
long after found himself standing in the front yard of Major Franklin;
waiting on him to get home from work. When Major got home, he
stepped out of his car, sat his lunch box on the ground and grabbed the
fiddles. That is where Gordon learned Forked Deer and then later that
night, everyone ended up at Omega Burden’s house for an all night jam
     Gordon’s first fiddle contest was in Deleon, Texas in 1962. Only three
years later in 1965, after many hours of practice, Gordon went on to
win the “World Champion” title in Crockett, Texas along with “Fiddler of
the Day”. The prize back in those days was a white sack filled with
twenty-five silver dollars. To this day, Gordon still owns a dozen of
them. The rest he has given away as tokens of friendship through the years. The next year he tried his luck in the
National Fiddle Contest in Weiser, Idaho where he got 3rd place with Byron Berlin winning the championship.
One of Gordon’s most memorable fiddling experiences was in 1968, when he was invited, along with E.J.
Hopkins, Louis Franklin, Larry Franklin, Dave Davison, A.R. Westmoreland, Buddy Weeks and many more to play
four days during the opening of the HemisFair in San Antonio, Texas. They also got the special opportunity to
play for Governor John Connolly at a banquet the night before the fair opened.
Gordon has had many great influences on his fiddling. Frank and Eddy Rose, along with Jake Glidewell have an
early influence. They were some of the musicians who lived most near his hometown. I know from being around
Gordon that a couple of his favorite fiddle players were Major Franklin and Terry Morris, just to mention a
     At the age of nineteen, Gordon started working the pipeline which took away time from his fiddle playing. In
1986 he went to work for the prison system in Huntsville, where he retired in 2006. Gordon was reunited with
old friends and started making many new friends in 1988 when his love for Texas breakdowns led him to pick up
his fiddle again. A turning point in his life happened in 1996 when Gordon became a Brother Mason which
continues to be a cornerstone in his life. In addition to music, he likes spending his time hunting, fishing and
being outdoors.
     Twenty years ago Gordon moved to Point Blank, Texas. His house is on six acres at the top of a hill with lots of
fruit trees, a workshop and a garden. It is a nice place to spend your time if you like the shaded outdoors.
Gordon is a most worthy and deserving inductee into the Texas Fiddlers Hall of Fame this year – and what a
great honor for him to be inducted with his dad, the person that got him started on the fiddle. Congratulations
my friend.

Carl Hopkins