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Philip J. Kass

(b New York, NY, May 29, 1877; d Chicago, IL, May 9, 1955). American writer, publisher, and expert on violins. He studied violin and viola as a boy, and from 1893 to 1926 he worked for John Friedrich & Brother in New York as secretary, treasurer, purchaser, writer of catalogs, and publicity manager. From 1926 to 1937 he was with the Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., working first as assistant to the violin expert J.C. Freeman in New York and later as manager of the violin department in the Chicago store. He prepared catalogs for the company, including a famous one of 1931 that listed an enormous collection of violins and had a separate section devoted entirely to bows. In 1937 he opened his own shop in Evanston, Illinois, and began publishing a magazine, Violins. In 1941 his business was bought by the Chicago firm William Lewis & Son, with whom he worked as a salesman and magazine editor until his death....

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Charles K. Wolfe

(b nr West Monroe, LA, Aug 8, 1921; d Nashville, TN, Feb 24, 1991). American country-music singer, guitarist, songwriter, and publisher. He performed as a guitarist on radio station KMLB (Monroe, LA) before 1950, when he joined the “Louisiana hayride ” on KWKH (Shreveport, LA). Recording contracts with the local Pacemaker label (c1950), Four-Star, and Decca (1951) allowed him to resign his part-time job as a clerk at Sears, Roebuck and concentrate on music. After his initial hit, “Wondering” (1952), he gained national attention with “Back Street Affair” (1952), one of the first country songs to deal forthrightly with adultery. An equally important landmark was “There stands the glass” (1953), a classic drinking song and the first country hit to use the pedal steel guitar, played by Bud Isaacs. It became the favorite backup instrument in country music for the next two decades, and Pierce was the first of many country singers whose slurs, octave jumps, and use of dynamics complemented its sound. During his peak years (...