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Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900

Lighter 20 Aug 18 - 12:37 PM
leeneia 21 Aug 18 - 01:10 PM
Lighter 19 Apr 20 - 10:50 AM
cnd 19 Apr 20 - 12:16 PM
Lighter 19 Apr 20 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 19 Apr 20 - 03:50 PM
leeneia 19 Apr 20 - 04:20 PM
Tony Rees 19 Apr 20 - 06:19 PM
Lighter 19 Apr 20 - 06:31 PM
Lighter 19 Apr 20 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 20 Apr 20 - 06:30 AM
Lighter 20 Apr 20 - 08:02 AM
cnd 20 Apr 20 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 20 Apr 20 - 01:17 PM
Lighter 20 Apr 20 - 04:29 PM
Lighter 20 Apr 20 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 21 Apr 20 - 07:32 AM
Lighter 21 Apr 20 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 21 Apr 20 - 11:35 AM
Lighter 21 Apr 20 - 12:36 PM
Lighter 21 Apr 20 - 04:27 PM
Lighter 21 Apr 20 - 05:31 PM
Lighter 19 Jan 23 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 20 Jan 23 - 08:02 PM
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Subject: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Aug 18 - 12:37 PM

The Houston Daily Post of Feb. 11, 1900, reports on a nearby Old Fiddlers' Contest. No young fiddlers allowed!:

“The...tunes were as follows:

Black Jack Grove
Jennie on the Railroad
Jennie Put the Kettle On
Billy in the Low Ground
Nancy Roland
Arkansas Traveler
Tom and Jerry,
Leather Breeches
Irish Washwoman
Gray Eagle
Kitty is the Gal for Me
College Hornpipe
Sallie Hamilton
Miss. Sawyer
Sugar in Coffee
Sugar in the Gourd
Soldiers’ Joy
Pretty Polly Ann
Money Musk
Sally Gooden
Black Eyed Susie
Devilish Mary
Brindle Steer
Old Gray Horse
Methodist Preacher
Wagoner
Tailor in the Loft
Walk Along, John
Hop Light Ladies
Chicken in the Bread Tray
Cheatem
Campbells are Comin’
‘Killy Cranky
Ringtail Coon
Coonie on the Ground
Walk Along Jawbone
Stump Tail Deer
Cinda [sic], Fare You Well
Drunken Hiccough
Farewell Whisky
Bonapart’s [sic] Retreat
Downfall of Paris
Rye Straw
Lost Indian
Gal on the Log
One Eyed Riley
Two Eyed Jane
Old Muse and Pups
Buffalo Girls
Fuss in the Family
Hog-eyed Man
Eighth of January
Saddle Old Spike
Sally Johnson
Sandy Land
Natchez Under the Hill
Soap Suds Over the Fence
Dixie Land
Dan Tucker
Old Uncle Ned
Molly Hare
Get Up in the Cool
Pop Goes the Weasel
Catfish and Minnow,
Brannigan’s Pup
Devil’s Dream
Black Cat’s Foot
Bullfrog’s Eye
Bareback Davy
Possum Up the Gum Stump
Ryan’s Buck Scrap
Shoo Fly
Forked Ear [sic]
Fine Time at Our House
Getting Upstire [sic]
Young Gal So Deceiving
Give the Fiddler a Dram
Suwanee River
Massa’s in the Cold, Cold Ground
Cotton Eyed Joe
Clear the Track
Nigger in the Woodpile
Fisher’s Hornpipe
Ricker’s [sic] Hornpipe
Faulkey Dear [sic]
Black Satin
Green Brier
Rocky Road to Dublin
Liza Jane,
Old Hen Cackle
Old Straw Bonnet
Bonnie Blue Flag
Big Sis
Off to Georgia
Want to Go to Meetin’, But Got No Shoes
Little More Cider
John’s Got a New House
Walls of Jerico.

Whew!   Ninety-eight titles, a fair number of them unfamiliar (local? idiosyncratic? lost tunes?).

Any "old fiddler" over sixty would have learned most of his tunes before the Civil War.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: leeneia
Date: 21 Aug 18 - 01:10 PM

Thanks, Lighter. That's interesting. Of the 98, I am familiar with 23. I think that speaks to the value of a good tune.

I'd like to know what Fuss in the Family sounds like.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Apr 20 - 10:50 AM

The previous day, the Dallas Morning News listed the following titles and variants to the list of tunes played at the same contest (at Bonhom, Tex.):

Hell Broke Loose in Georgia
Dog Eat a Rye Straw
Mollie Put the Kettle On
Cat Slept in the Shavings   
God Speed the Plow
Black Cat’s Foot
Bulldog’s Eye
Dat Gal is So Deceivin’
De Cackling Hen
All Jine Hands.

On July 14, 1900, the Grenada [Miss.] Sentinel noted that:

“The Old Time Fiddlers’ Contest will be a state event. The following tunes will be played…:

1. Gray Eagle
2. Forked Deer
3. Soap Suds Over de Fence
4. Leather Breeches
5. Devil’s Dream
6. Roundin’ Up de Corn
7. Run, Nigger, Run
8. Old Sally Goodin
9. Eighth of January
10. Mississippi Sawyer
11. Old Hen Cackle
12. Black Eyed Susie
13. Sugar in de Goad
14. Chicken in de Bread Tray   
15. Mollie Put de Kittle On
16. Arkansaw Traveler
17. Natchez Under de Hill
18. Cotton Eyed Joe
19. Old Mollie Hare
20. Possum Up de Gum Stump
21. Buffalo Gals
22. Fishers Hornpipe
23. Billie in de Low Groun’
24. Give de Fiddler a Dram
25. Puncheon Floor
26. The Girl I Left Behind Me.”


The form of some of the titles suggests the importance of African-American fiddlers to the tune tradition. (There are no "blues" in titles on any of these 1900 lists.)

Virtually every title on the Mississippi list is still well known, implying that they were chosen because, even 120 years ago, they were   widely played in the area - which, of course, is pretty far from the stereotypical "Appalachian" stomping grounds of these tunes.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: cnd
Date: 19 Apr 20 - 12:16 PM

It is impressive the 'staying power' of many of those songs; I recognize a great deal of them, even if in name only. I would assume many of the ones no one recognizes today are just localized titles of more well-known songs, but hard to tell.

As for fiddling being Appalachian, it's been my understanding that fiddling "got around" more than other traditional music styles in the US simply due to the prominent nature of fiddle playing in the US and its easily listenable format. While singing ballads (especially unaccompanied) and folk songs may have been predominantly Appalachian, fiddlers seemed to do a great deal of moving about, especially during the Civil War.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Apr 20 - 03:12 PM

You're right about fiddling "getting around." But it seems to me that recordings and general comments about it connect American folk fiddling predominantly to the Appalachians. (Texas and the Ozarks may be tied for third.)

As for unaccompanied ballad singing, published collections (from Maine to Florida to Utah, at the very least) indicate that the practice was very widespread.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 19 Apr 20 - 03:50 PM

Well. Neither Texas or Mississippi are in the Appalachians.

I am sure that the music is most often thought of as being Appalachian is that it is the region that the record companies went looking especially after the Bristol Sessions.

I am sure that there were fiddlers all over the US and Canada.

Re the number of tune titles "Wild Horse at Stony Point" for example has about five different names to my knowledge.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: leeneia
Date: 19 Apr 20 - 04:20 PM

I have a tape of old-time Missouri fiddle tunes that many people would assume are Appalachian. I don't feel like calculating the distance, but we are hundreds of miles from the Appalachians, if not a thousand.

Half the fiddlers on the tape are from Nebraska.
==========
Recently I was in Newfoundland, and the traditional music I heard there would be pronounced Appalachian too.

It's a jig or a reel.
It's played fast.
It uses double stops and ornaments sometimes.
It sounds like square dance music.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Tony Rees
Date: 19 Apr 20 - 06:19 PM

I quite like the idea of "Forked Ear" (sorry, levity intrudes...)


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Apr 20 - 06:31 PM

I was describing rather than endorsing.

But you're doubtless right that the recording companies had a lot to do with it - also the popular notion that Appalachian "hillbillies" were colorful holdovers from the "Elizabethan" age, with music presumably to match.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Apr 20 - 08:01 PM

The Dallas Morning News was unusually interested in old-time fiddling in 1900. Reporting an old fiddlers' contest on April 10, 1900, the News provided a few more titles:

Culpepper
Gilroy [sic]
Black-Eyed Susie
Banko
Rory O'Moore
Melinda
Siege of Knoxville
Flowers of Edinburgh
Kingdom Come
Old George Booker
Old Black Joe
Drunkard's Lament
Home, Sweet Home

In announcing the contest (back on Feb. 25), more titles were given:

St. Patrick's Day in the Morning
Listen to the Mockingbird
Old Gray Horse Come Tearing out of the Wilderness
Sich a Gittin' Upstairs

The competition was sponsored by local members of the United Confederate Veterans, many of whom would have been in their '50s in 1900. To be "old-time," then, many of the tunes must have been played during or before the Civil War. (Newspaper mentions of titles before the post-1890s heyday of the "old fiddlers' contest" are very scarce.)

And on April 22, the News added

Pendleton's Reel

Conspicuously absent from any of these lists are today's favorites "Sourwood Mountain," "Cripple Creek," "Cumberland Gap," and "Old Joe Clark."


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 20 Apr 20 - 06:30 AM

Conspicuously absent from any of these lists are today's favorites "Sourwood Mountain," "Cripple Creek," "Cumberland Gap," and "Old Joe Clark."

Those titles may be absent but the tunes could quite easily be known and played under different names.

One title which you mention "Home Sweet Home" was not the name given by it's publisher.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Apr 20 - 08:02 AM

Maybe, maybe not. It's unknowable.

But as far as we can tell, were these four tunes ever known by other titles?


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: cnd
Date: 20 Apr 20 - 11:42 AM

I don't know of any alternate titles for Sourwood Mountain.

Cripple Creek has several, include Red Creek, Going Up Brushy Fork, Shooting Creek, Pig Town Fling, Warm Stuff, and possibly others.

I don't know of any significantly different names for Cumberland Gap. Bascom Lamar Lunsford recorded a song called Dogget's Gap which sounds a lot like Cumberland Gap rhythmically but isn't quite the same. It's also related to "Bonnie George Campbell" and "Big Stone Gap" according to Fresno State's ballad index but I've never heard those two before. Also, Riding a Buckin' Mule Through Cumberland Gap and Big Stone Gap

Other names for Old Joe Clark are Betsy Brown, Vee Latty's Breakdown in A, Fare You Well, and Old Ely Branch


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 20 Apr 20 - 01:17 PM

Well,

The tune The Old Grey Mare (she ain't what she used to be) also appears as "The Old Yellow Dog Went Running through the Meeting House".

And as I stated "Home Sweet Home" was not published under that name.

Listen to the Mockingbird I understand was published with that title.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Apr 20 - 04:29 PM

Of course tune titles are migratory and somewhat unpredictable. But they aren't totally anarchic: many stick.

The interesting question is why those now well-known tunes don't appear on the lists under any recognizable title.

Suggestion: they just weren't much played (if played at all) in Texas or Mississippi in 1900.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Apr 20 - 05:31 PM

Modern performance of "Campbell" to its usual tune:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG6WwBdWvQk


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 21 Apr 20 - 07:32 AM

Sorry but I can't hear a fiddle on this track.

Sounds like a trained concert singer and nothing to do with fiddle tunes passed down through the "folk" tradition.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Apr 20 - 09:13 AM

Relevantly, there *is* no traditionally titled "BGC" fiddle tune. And the singer's melody is the one now associated with the ballad. See Bronson.

YouTube has other performances that you may prefer.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 21 Apr 20 - 11:35 AM

So stupid of me of course to think that a post headed Texas Fiddle Tunes would only be about fiddle tunes.

Would that be Charles Bronson ?


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Apr 20 - 12:36 PM

Dallas Morning News (March 29, 1900) p.10:

"Old airs of fifty years ago were played, and as ‘Money Musk,’ ‘Billie in the Low Ground,’ ‘Arkansaw Traveler,’ ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me,’ ‘Dan Tucker,’ ‘Sugar in the Gourd,’ ‘Prettiest Little Girl in the County,’ ‘Black Jack Grove,’ ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe’ and similar pieces were played, the audience went wild.”

Presumably all of the above were known, in Texas, before the Civil War.



Wise County Messenger (Decatur, Tex.) (Apr. 13, 1900), p. 5:

“Among the numbers will be such as Cotton-eyed Joe, Suwanee River, Bonnie Blue Flag, Black Jack Grove, Fishers’ Hornpipe, Arkansaw Traveler, Gwine Back to Dixie, Possum up a Gum Stump, Sweet Taters in Sandy Land, Leather Breeches, etc.”

["I'se Gwine Back to Dixie" is a minstrel song by C. A. White, published (in Boston) in 1874.]



Nashville Tennessean (May 5, 1900), p. 5:

“Old Fiddlers’ Contest…[in] Tullahoma....:

Arkansaw Traveler
McCorton
Jordan Is a Hard Road to Travel
Whisky Joe
Sail Away, Ladies
Leather Breeches
The Soldier’s Joy
Sallie Booden [sic]
Kiss Me Sweetly
Lillie Dale
Injun Eat the Woodchuck
Cheatham
Eighth of January
Hornpipe,
Old Dan Tucker.




Daily Ardmoreite (Ardmore, Okla.) (June 28, 1900), p. 3:

“Old Fiddlers’ Contest…Programme:

1. The Girl I Left Behind Me.
2. Rye Straw.
3. Arkansaw Traveler.
4. Listen to the Mocking Bird.
5. Yankee Doodle.
6. Hell Broke Loose in Georgia.
7. Cotton-Eyed Joe.
8. Campbells Are Coming.
9. Black Jack Grove.
10. Billie in the Lowlands.
11. Moses in the Bullrushes.
12. Dixie.
13. Bonnie Blue Flag.
14. Suwannee River.
15. Home, Sweet Home.”


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Apr 20 - 04:27 PM

"Captain" M. J. Bonner (1847-1939) was a Confederate veteran and a prominent Texas fiddler on early radio. (Fifty-three in 1900, he may have attended one of those old fiddlers' contests reported above.)

In 1925 Bonner recorded four fiddle tunes for Victor (too bad he didn't do more!):

Dusty Miller
Ma Ferguson
Yearling's in the Canebrake
Gal on a Log (mentioned above, sounds much like "Paddy on the Hand Car")

"Ma Ferguson" was Bonner's topical title for a tune usually called "Old Dubuque." ("Ma" was the first woman governor of Texas, elected in 1925.)

It seems likely that Bonner had known all these tunes in 1900 and may well have learned them during or before the Civil War. If nothing else, his fiddling style should date back to ca1855-60.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Apr 20 - 05:31 PM

Oops. "Gal on a Log" is "Jennie on the Railroad," not "Paddy on the Hand Car."

But you get the idea.


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Jan 23 - 08:27 AM

Let's go back another twenty years or so.

According to Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie (Southwest Review, Apr. 1936) sez:

"[The old-time Texas fiddler of the 1880s] could play ‘Hog Eye’… ‘Hell Among the Yearlings,’ ‘Sally Goodin,’ ‘Nigger in the Woodpile,’ ‘Cotton Eyed Joe,’ ‘Leather Breeches,’ ‘Natchez Under the Hill,’ ‘Turkey in the Straw,’ ‘Soapsuds Under the Fence,’ ‘Hogs in the Corn,’ ‘Money in Both Pockets,’ ‘Kitty O’Neil,’ ‘Dinah Had a Wooden Leg,’ ‘Saddle Old Spike,’ ‘Mollie Put the Kettle On,’ ‘Little Black Bull Came Down the Mountain,’ ‘Eighth of January,’ ‘Sandy Land,’ ‘Money Musk,’ ‘Tommie, Don’t Go,’ … ‘Come into My Bower’…and about forty-‘leven others. But his favorite was ‘Blackjack Grove.’”

Again most are sill familiar. ("Dinah Had a Wooden Leg" is better known as "Sally Ann.")


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Subject: RE: Texas Fiddle Tunes, 1900
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 20 Jan 23 - 08:02 PM

Atlanta was the first city to have country music. WSB (Welcome South Brother).

It was the scene of the first major fiddle contest held at what is now
Georgia State University. "Fiddlin" John Carson would win most years.
I recommend a book "Pickin'On Peachtree" by Wayne Daniels.

Lowe Stokes won sometimes and was the subject of the poet
Vachel Lindsay in his "Mountain Whiporwill"

Eck Robertson was a well-known Texas fiddler.

Bobby Hicks, Johnny Gimble, and Johnny Frigo (Chicago Barn Dance).

All kinda' Texas (Southwestern swing style) players.
And Mark O'Connor.


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