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Poetry: Hoosier fiddle poem, 1885

Lighter 26 Sep 19 - 10:12 PM
Jack Campin 27 Sep 19 - 02:08 AM
GUEST,Lighter 27 Sep 19 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,Starship 27 Sep 19 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,Starship 27 Sep 19 - 09:31 AM
Lighter 27 Sep 19 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Starship 27 Sep 19 - 10:22 AM
leeneia 27 Sep 19 - 12:12 PM
Lighter 20 Mar 23 - 09:37 PM
Lighter 20 Mar 23 - 09:43 PM
Lighter 20 Mar 23 - 09:48 PM
Lighter 04 Jul 24 - 05:09 PM
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Subject: Folklore: "The Hoosier Fiddle" (1885) ipoem, 1885
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 10:12 PM

From the Indiana State-Sentinel [Indianapolis] (July 29, 1885, p. 6):


                         The Hoosier Fiddle
                                  By Richard L. Dawson

Bring up the Hoosier fiddle,
And play me the rollicking reels,
That gave such joy to the country boy,
And shake the old farmer’s heels;
Put by the waltz and the schottische,
And the operatic airs.
And give me a whirl with the Hoosier girl,
To the tunes that lighten my cares!

Set the wild “Gray Eagle” screaming,
Let the “Rye Straw” tickle my ear,
And fully as rich as old “Leather Breeches”
Are “Burnt Woods” and “The Forked Deer.”
Chase the “Possum Up the Gum Stump,”
From “Natchez Under the Hill.”
Wave the “Mullen Stalk” from “Hanging Rock,”
O’er the “Sunk Lands” dark and still!
Then fiddle me down to “Clear Creek,”
To that “Nine-Mile Island” of yours,
While the current rolls o’er “Mussel Shoals,”
And into “Broad Ripple” pours.
Then stir up “Hell on the Wabash,”
Let us hear “Five Miles Out of Town,”
“The Jaybird,” when “The Cackling Hen”
“The Black Cat’s” wail shall drown!

In “The Awkward Reel” comes dancing
“Sally Goodin” and rough “Buck Horn,”
And “The Wagoner” passes by waving grasses
And the rustle of “Yaller Corn.”
With “Billy in the Low Grounds,”
The “Injun Creek” we ford.
Then “Jump Up, Joe,” for still, you know,
There’s “Sugar in the Gourd.”

Then tune for the rich fantasias,
“Big Piney” so plaintive and slow,
Let “The Wild Goose” call, and the echoes fall,
From the “Walls of Jericho;”
So come to the rare “Lost Injun,”
And play it again and again,
Let its golden streams flow on in my dreams
And play no other then.

I listen and dream of my boyhood
In the heart of the Hoosier hills,
And the old days rise before my eyes
When the fiddle my memory thrills;
I think of the farmer singing
While the dinner is on the fire,
And the strange wild calls the fiddler bawls,
While the dancers never tire.

Yes, bring up your resonant fiddle,
   And play for me far in the night,
Till the cares of the day are swept away
   And sorrow has taken flight;
For all the heaven of music
   No sweeter melody swells
Than the fiddle sings from bow and strings,
   Where the happy Hoosier dwells.

[About half the titles are unfamiliar. If Dawson is really recalling his own youth, the tunes were presumably current in Indiana in the 1860s or earlier.]


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Subject: RE: Poetry: Hoosier fiddle poem, 1885
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Sep 19 - 02:08 AM

That's a heck of a challenge. Are there any experts in the music of that time and place?


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Subject: RE: Poetry: Hoosier fiddle poem, 1885
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Sep 19 - 08:22 AM

Part of the challenge is that many of the familiar titles of tunes (and their variants) come from 20th century Appalachia and the Ozarks, which are far from 1860s Indiana.

I believe very little is known for sure about fiddle repertoire in the Midwest (and most other regions) in the 19th century.


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Subject: RE: Poetry: Hoosier fiddle poem, 1885
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 27 Sep 19 - 09:12 AM

This may be of some use to people who like fiddle tunes.

https://www.slippery-hill.com/collection/milliner-koken-collection-american-fiddle-tunes


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Subject: RE: Poetry: Hoosier fiddle poem, 1885
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 27 Sep 19 - 09:31 AM

Make special note of the

Home
About
Copyright
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bar located at the top of the opening page. It may make a few things faster for searches of particular tunes. Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes site is an excellent resource, imo.


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Subject: RE: Poetry: Hoosier fiddle poem, 1885
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Sep 19 - 09:58 AM

That site is quite something, Starship.

Thanks for the link!


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Subject: RE: Poetry: Hoosier fiddle poem, 1885
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 27 Sep 19 - 10:22 AM

Welcome. Thank you for the thread.


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Subject: RE: Poetry: Hoosier fiddle poem, 1885
From: leeneia
Date: 27 Sep 19 - 12:12 PM

Thanks for posting the poem, Lighter.


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Subject: RE: Poetry: Hoosier fiddle poem, 1885
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Mar 23 - 09:37 PM

From a few years later. Indianapolis Journal (Sept. 24, 1893):

“So far as is known, Indiana is the only State that has an Old Fiddlers’ Club. The object is to preserve in their original purity and uniqueness the old-fashioned fiddle tunes of early times … like ‘Leather Breeches,’ ‘Possum up a Gum Stump,’ ‘The Bell Cow,’ ‘The Calico,’ ‘Soldier’s Joy,’ ‘Forked Deer,’ ‘Chicken Pie,’ ‘The Linsey Waumus [sic],’ ‘The Rye Straw,’ ‘Run, N[...]r, Run,’ ‘The Gray Eagle,’ ‘Natchez-Under-the-Hill,’ ‘Snowbird on the Ashbank,’ ‘Fisher’s Hornpipe,’ ‘Sally Good’n,’ and others of the same class.”


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Subject: RE: Poetry: Hoosier fiddle poem, 1885
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Mar 23 - 09:43 PM

Indianapolis Journal (April 4, 1900):

“W. H. Newby [a Civil War veteran] also contributed to the spirit of the evening...with selections of [sic] the ‘fiddle,’ as ‘The Fisher’s Hornpipe,’ ‘Old Dan Tucker,’ ‘Money Musk,’ ‘The Arkansas Traveler,’ and ‘Johnnie Fill Up the Bowl.’”

The last is a once-familiar title for the melody of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" tricked out with other lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Poetry: Hoosier fiddle poem, 1885
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Mar 23 - 09:48 PM

Kansas City Star (May 13, 1914):

“In the dances before the Civil War, the repertoire of the [Indiana] country dance fiddler was made up of ‘Hell on the Wabash,’ ‘Old Zip Coon,’ ‘The Stump-Tailed Dog,’ ‘The Devil’s Dream,’ ‘One-Eyed Riley,’ and ‘Go to the Devil and Shake Yourself.’”


Indianapolis Sunday Star (Nov. 8, 1925)::

“‘Andy’ Will Hamblen [ca1845-1920, of Brown Co.]…one of the real old-time fiddlers….He could recall and play from memory 300… ‘tunes.’…includ[ing] Ricket’s, Durang’s, Fisher’s and Mountain hornpipes, Devil’s Dream, Arkansas Traveler, Leather Breeches, The Devil and the Bullfrog Dance, Miss McLeod’s Reel, Saint Patrick’s Day in the Morning, Indian Eat the Woodchuck, St. Louis Waltz, Bonaparte’s Retreat and Caledonian March.”


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Subject: RE: Poetry: Hoosier fiddle poem, 1885
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Jul 24 - 05:09 PM

Most, of the following 71 "pioneer" tunes must have been played in the 1880s in Indiana - and some a generation earlier.

Weekly Times (Columbus, Ind.), Dec. 13, 1895:

                         FIDDLIN' MATCH

The following pioneer tunes were handed the TIMES with a suggestion they be used in the approaching fiddlin' match:

Shipping Port
Arkansas Traveler
Bonapart's [sic] Retreat
Brickyard Joe
Black-eyed Susie
Big-footed Nigger
Buffalo Gals
Captain Jinks
Chippy Get Your Hair Cut
College Hornpipe
Darling Nell of Narangansett Bay
Detroit Schottisch
Dusty Morning
Evening Star Waltz
Fisher's Hornpipe
Fire on the Mountian [sic], Run, Boys, Run
Flying Indian
Goodbye 'Liza Jane
Grape Vine
Haste to the Wedding
Helter Skelter Gallop
Indiana Polka
Irish Washerwoman
Jawbone
Jim Crow
Jack went [sic] Fishing
Jennie Put the Kettle On
Kicking Mule in the Buckwheat Patch
Lanigan's Ball
Life on the Ocean Wave
Leiber [sic] Augustine
Leather Breetches [sic]
Lost Indian
Miss McCloud's Reel
Money Musk
Mississippi Sawyer
Natchez Under the Hill
Nellie Gray
Old Gray Horse Tearin' out of Wilderness [sic]
Old Mother Blair
Old Virginia Never Tire
Old Mother Flanagan
Old Virginia Reel
Old Zip Coon
Old Dan Tucker
Over the River to Charlie
O, Susannah
Paddy on the Turnpike
Perry's Victory
Rocky Road to Newbern
Rip Van Winkle
Rockback Davy
Run, Nigger, Run
Rye Straw
Rattling Down the Acorns
Rory O'Moore
Soap Suds Over the Fence
Such a Getting up Stairs I never did see [sic]
Sugar in the Gourd
Sailor's Hornpipe
Stony Point
Soldier's Joy
Silver Lake
The Campbells are Coming
The Gray Eagle
The Britishers are Coming
The Devil's Dream
The Girl I Left Behind Me
The Old Year Out and the New Year In
The Poor Old Slave
The Wild Horse

I'll speculate that the list is the repertoire of a single person or family. So extensive a list anywhere before 1900 is quite rare.


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