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Robby told me an amusing story of Jenkins. With Joe Venuti, one of America's "Hottest" violinists, and Murray Kellner, another versatile musician, they were making some records. Between times Venuti and Kellner had been amusing themselves and Robby and Jenkins by playing various selections.
"Hand me your fiddle," said Jenkins to Kellner, "I can do something with it that neither you nor Venuti can do."
He took the instrument and wielding the bow with his left hand ran through a number of tunes in expert fashion.
The two other accomplished violinists tried their hands —their left hands—at it, but failed miserably.
Robison can turn out songs that will stand up with the best of them. His I Love You So, for instance, is regarded as a neat bit of composing and lyric writing.
Now you must not get the impression that this man working in his New York office has his tongue in his musical cheek as he grinds out ballads for the simple folk. He is obviously sincere. He realizes that his work is lucrative and that it is not for the sophisticates. But he doesn't turn up his nose at his humble audiences.
The grubby little penciled notes that come to him from the mountains and mills carry warming words of encouragement and gratitude, and he is not blind to their significance.
He welcomes these notes and answers all of them. Frequently the correspondence is exchanged and extended over many months. Robison is on intimate terms with one family out in Oregon although he has never met any member of it. He hears the details of the children and their health, their lessons and their mischief. He knows them as well as if they lived next door to him. And every letter brings this family's comments on his newest records.
There was one friendly old soul who lived near the spot where the dirigible Shenandoah fell. She heard Robison's record retailing (sic) that tragedy and recently she sent him pieces of the inner and outer bags of the airship.
Fans write and tell of buying four or five copies of each record on their infrequent trips to towns where there are