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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
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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

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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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