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fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'

Related threads:
fiddling fun (vid: CDB/Devil Went Down to Georgia) (5)
lyr/tune ADD: The Devil Went Down to Georgia (23)


Lighter 31 Mar 18 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 31 Mar 18 - 01:30 PM
Lighter 31 Mar 18 - 04:19 PM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 01 Apr 18 - 01:25 PM
Lighter 01 Apr 18 - 04:30 PM
Lighter 25 Apr 18 - 06:59 PM
Nigel Parsons 26 Apr 18 - 04:00 AM
Lighter 26 Apr 18 - 10:47 AM
leeneia 28 Apr 18 - 02:01 PM
Joe Offer 28 Apr 18 - 02:53 PM
Lighter 29 Apr 18 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 29 Apr 18 - 06:06 PM
leeneia 30 Apr 18 - 12:49 PM
Lighter 30 Apr 18 - 06:09 PM
leeneia 01 May 18 - 11:51 AM
Lighter 01 May 18 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 01 May 18 - 12:25 PM
Lighter 01 May 18 - 12:34 PM
Jeri 01 May 18 - 06:44 PM
Lighter 01 May 18 - 06:56 PM
Lighter 01 May 18 - 07:05 PM
leeneia 04 May 18 - 11:16 AM
Lighter 04 May 18 - 02:01 PM
leeneia 07 May 18 - 09:52 AM
Lighter 11 May 18 - 07:15 PM
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Subject: 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Lighter
Date: 31 Mar 18 - 12:22 PM

Kuntz & Pelliccioni's Traditional Tune Archive dates the common fiddle tune to the 1925 recording by Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers.

A recent performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1r_bnyr0HaM

No old printed version of the tune seems to exist.

There is, however, at least one other tune with the same title. This was recorded in 1925-26 by native Georgian Fiddlin' John Carson.

A recent performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sf1AjBOpP5o

(Carson's track is barely audible, but the above sounds to me like what he's playing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TXcam0HGQQ )

The earliest mention of a tune by this name appears to have been in a diary entry of Feb. 17, 1870, noted in Decatur, Ga., by Civil War veteran George W. Bailey. There are two much later but presumably reliable claims that "Hell Broke Loose in Georgia" was known during the Civil War.

I've always felt that the Skillet Lickers' tune sounds too modern to have been played in the 1860s. It has suggestions of the turn-of-century "Chicken Reel," plus a notable ragtime shuffle.

Carson's tune has the advantage of being, I think, a better fit for the words "Hell's broke loose in Georgia!"

So it may be more likely to be close to the "original" melody.

The Traditional Tune Archive gives a lot more information about both tunes.


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Subject: RE: 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 31 Mar 18 - 01:30 PM

Frank C Brown's Collection of North Carolina Folklore has a version of "Hell Broke Loose In Georgia" (1v with tune) from Bascom Lamar Lunsford (vol5 pp 496-497 - you can see it at archive.org). It looks as if it might have been recorded in 1935 (LOC).

Mick


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Subject: RE: 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Lighter
Date: 31 Mar 18 - 04:19 PM

Thanks, Mick. It rather resembles Carson's tune.

If Lunsford is right that his great-uncle sang it "more than 60 years ago," that would put it right around 1870.

Trad Tune Archive sugg. that the title orig. referred to the Georgia gold rush that began ca1830.

It has always seemed likely to me (and, I imagine, others) that it referred to Sherman's March (1864).

The phrase "Hell's broke loose in Georgia!" was often used to mean "All hell's broke loose!" It seems not to have appeared in print before 1869.

Which proves little, if anything.

"Ride Ol' Buck to Water" is similar:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0uI-TpDCqQ

The video's also worth watching for the utter lack of interest expressed by the shoppers.


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Subject: RE: 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 01 Apr 18 - 01:25 PM

I think the video's encouraging - it's nice to see somewhere where strolling players are so commonplace that people aren't surprised by them!

Mick


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Subject: RE: 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Apr 18 - 04:30 PM

Heh, heh.


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Subject: RE: 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Apr 18 - 06:59 PM

Here's an even earlier reference to the tune.

"The Galveston [Texas] Daily News" (Sept. 19, 1865) (pretty far from Georgia) mentions that one of Pres. Andrew Johnson's freedmen was noted for playing "the lively reel commonly known as 'Hell broke loose in Georgia.'"

The writer suggests that Sherman's march had inspired the title.


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Subject: RE: 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 26 Apr 18 - 04:00 AM

I read the title and expected a discussion on "The devil went down to Georgia" which includes this line.


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Subject: RE: 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Apr 18 - 10:47 AM

You young whippersnapper.


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Subject: RE: 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: leeneia
Date: 28 Apr 18 - 02:01 PM

A black man looks up and smiles and a blonde woman walke
s past and smiles; those are the only reactions. I think that's really weird.

I'm going to look up Casey and Minna and see if they have a CD.


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Subject: RE: 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Apr 18 - 02:53 PM

I had the impression that in "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," Johnny was playing "Hell Broke Loose in Georgia" on his fiddle.
-Joe-


Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on "Hell Broke Loose in Georgia":

Hell Broke Loose in Georgia

DESCRIPTION: "Ain't no hell in Georgie (x4)." "Little Indian goes Georgie (x4)." "Ride old buck to water (x4)/"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1962 (BrownSchinhanV)
KEYWORDS: travel nonballad
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
BrownSchinhanV 775, "Hell Broke Losse in Georgia" (1 short text, 1 tune)
Roud #13955
RECORDINGS:
Fiddlin' John Carson, "Hell Broke Loose in Georgia" (Okeh 45018)
File: BrS5775

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Apr 18 - 05:06 PM

Carson's subsequent recording (now retitled "Hell Bound for Alabama") is a lot clearer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbTZF3yYt5Y

This time he sings some words. There are one or two I can't understand:

Ain’t no hell in Georgia!
Hell broke loose in Georgia!
[Two syllables inaudible] button in the old tin pan,
I’d get to hell just as soon as you can!

Goin’ to Alabama!
Goin’ to Alabama!
My name is Sam, I don’t give a damn,
I’d rather be a nigger than a poor white man!

Raccoon caught a possum!    [Twice]
Made ten bales of cotton!
[Two syllables inaudible] button in the old tin pan,
I’d get to hell just as soon as you can!

And a newer rendition:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TqHo_VwJ2s

Definitely a "lively reel"!


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 29 Apr 18 - 06:06 PM

I hear a few things differently, though I'm not certain of any of them (except the word mutton):

Never seen mutton in the old tin pan

A two-bit nigger is a poor/fool? white man

Racoon ploughed? a possum

Mick


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: leeneia
Date: 30 Apr 18 - 12:49 PM

I don't believe that 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia' has any connection to Sherman's depredation.

'March' is a euphemism, if you stop to think about it.

When something is truly terrible, there are few, if any, songs about it.


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Lighter
Date: 30 Apr 18 - 06:09 PM

Leeneia, I'm not convinced either that the tune title originated with Sherman's March (1864).

But according to the earliest printed reference we have (1865), a lot of people interpreted the title that way. Which is almost all we have to go on.

Mick, thanks for listening. I couldn't decide between "mutton" and "button." I still think it's "button," but admittedly "mutton" is likely to make more sense.

"Raccoon caught a possum" sounds pretty clear to me. Makes more sense than "ploughed," which would be kind of kinky. And the Southern diphthong in "caught" often approximates "oh" or "ow": it might fool you if you're not used to it.

"Rather be a nigger than a poor white man" is a floating verse that appears elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: leeneia
Date: 01 May 18 - 11:51 AM

Hi, Lighter. Yeah. For all a lot of people, Sherman's March is all they've ever heard of with respect to Georgia.

From what I have learned living around southerners, the "Hell" was more likely to have been a fight in a bar or an acrimonious debate over religion. If it was religious, the title would be tongue in cheek.

As for the "lyrics" above, I'd ignore them. Most good tunes have had careless rhymes slapped on them over the years to help musicians recall the tune. Clearly little thought or respect has gone into them.


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Lighter
Date: 01 May 18 - 12:09 PM

After further listening (thanks, Mick!) I'm convinced that it's

"Never seen (no) mutton in the old tin pan,
I can get to hell just as soon as you can."


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 01 May 18 - 12:25 PM

Lighter

I think he's actually singing:

  I('d) soon(er) be a nigger than a poor white man

(this was actually my first thought but I changes my mind!)

I still can't hear caught; to me the word seems to start with p (or possibly f) plied/played?. ?played possum?

And the second time I think it's:

 &nssp; There's been mutton in the old tin pan (?bean(s) 'n' mutton?)

Possible the same the first time, it's less clear.


Mick


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Lighter
Date: 01 May 18 - 12:34 PM

Nobody said this was easy - even with a pretty crisp recording!


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Jeri
Date: 01 May 18 - 06:44 PM

I'd as soon be a nigger as a poor white man. Can't figure out the button/mutton bit.


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Lighter
Date: 01 May 18 - 06:56 PM

If "caught" is wrong (not sure that it is), then "treed" might be the best alternative.


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Lighter
Date: 01 May 18 - 07:05 PM

Lunsford's words in the Brown Collection are:

Ain't no hell in Georgie.
Ain't no hell in Georgie.
Ain't no hell in Georgie.
Ain't no hell in Georgie.

Little Indian goes Georgie.
Little Indian goes Georgie.
Little Indian goes Georgie.
Little Indian goes Georgie.


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: leeneia
Date: 04 May 18 - 11:16 AM

I found the tune at ABC notation. com and decided it is rather boring. It also ends on a cheerful note which belies all these lyrics, Sherman's March or otherwise.

Why not get out an instrument and see what you think?


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Lighter
Date: 04 May 18 - 02:01 PM

The abc can't do it justice.

Try this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sf1AjBOpP5o


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: leeneia
Date: 07 May 18 - 09:52 AM

Thanks, Lighter.


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Subject: RE: fiddle tune 'Hell Broke Loose in Georgia'
From: Lighter
Date: 11 May 18 - 07:15 PM

Any time, leeneia.


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