Monday, August 09, 2010

* GIG 0910 * Edgar Lee Masters - "The Sangamon"

A lot harder to track down the tunes ...

John Armstrong renamed fiddle tunes, e.g. "Missouri Harmony" and Masters' account of the time they met in 1914 [something I read yesterday said 1916 but it is 1914, see Across Spoon River 330-31) leaves open the possibilty, shall we say, that Armstrong didn't mind telling a good story ... and I doubt it would have occurred to him that researchers a hundred years later would go crazy trying to straighten him out.

Why so many Irish tunes in Masters' list?

Here's an Edgar Lee Masters "Fiddler Jones" Poem animation [animations aren't my cup of tea, but the audio sounds like ELM reciting the poem ... complete text in the notes]

Rocky Road to Jordan [?] Fiddler's Companion
ROCKY ROAD TO JORDAN. Old-Time, Breakdown. D Major. From the playing of Dwight “Red” Lamb. “Rocky Road to Jordon” is one of ‘100 essential Missouri tunes’ listed by Missouri fiddler Charlie Walden.

Another possiblity is that it's related to "Rocky Road to Dublin."

Jordan Am a Hard Road to Travel ?

... Norman and Nancy Blake in 1988 ...

Way up Tar Creek

Foggy Mountain Top

Flatt + Scruggs + Maybelle Carter - Foggy Mountain Top ??

Hell Amongst the Yearlings

Alan Jabour Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier: The Henry Reed Collection ""Hell among the Yearlings" (sometimes known in bowdlerized forms such as "Rounding Up the Cattle") is a tune of the Upper South. It was recorded by West Virginian Clark Kessinger on an early hillbilly record with an irregular first strain that lingers on the high A and requires two extra beats. Nearly all current versions in bluegrass style or in contest fiddling circles perpetuate this irregularity, but Henry Reed's set has the normal number of bars and beats."

Andrew Kuntz Fiddler's Companion
HELL AMONG(ST) THE YEARLINGS [1]. AKA ‑ "Trouble Among the Yearlings," "Hell After the Yearlings," "Devil Among the Yearlings," "Round Up the Yearlings," "Hell Among the Indians." Old‑Time, Breakdowwn. USA; Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska. G Major (Ford, Thede): D Major (Bayard, Brody, Christeson, Fiddler Magazine, John Hatcher, Phillips): C Major (Christeson/1984, Songer). Standard tuning. AB (Christeson, 1984): AA'B (Bayard): AABB (Thede): AA'BB (Phillips): AA'BB' (Fiddler Magazine): AABBCCDD (Songer). Several unrelated tunes in various parts of the United States carry the name “Hell Among(st) the Yearlings,” so obviously a memorable title in rural communities. The title has itself aroused some speculation. It is thought by some to represent ‘trouble with the cattle’—yearlings being young cattle that are bred for the first time and quite rambunctious. Another interpretation hinges on ‘hell’ as a term for dense underbrush and thicketed country, with the title meaning that the yearlings are in the underbrush, thus making it quite a chore to round them up. Chicago musician Paul Tyler made the following comments (Fiddle-L, 5/10/04).

[quotes Masters with this headnote: "In 1939, Edgar Lee Masters (of Spoon River fame) published in Esquire an account of a visit he made with Theodore Dreiser to the home fiddler John Armstrong in Oakford, Illinois. The account reappeared in Masters’ book The Sangamon in the Rivers of America series.]"

Freight Hoppers playing "Hell Amongst the Yearlings" at a festival in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Chubby Wise

Little Drops of Brandy [?]

"Drops of Brandy." From The London LP (record) Andy Dejarlis And The Early Settlers. Dejarlis was a Canadian Metis player of the mid-20th century ...

Also an Irish 9/8 slip jig. Junior contestants of the Southern Maryland Celtic Festival harp competition, April 27 2008 playing an Irish slip jig, Drops of Brandy.

And by a Metis player in Dallas, Texas (long way from home) , who plays it very fast, almost as a reel ...

Kuntz has this. See especially the discussion of Canada:

DROPS OF BRANDY [1] (“Braona Brannda” or “Braoinini Brannda”). AKA and see “Cummilum,” "Drops of Whiskey," "A Drop of Whiskey," "New Drops of Brandy," "Oh, Mary Take My Advice." Irish (originally?), Scottish, English; Jig (9/8 time). England; Shropshire, Lancashire, Northumberland, Lincolnshire. G Major (most versions): A Major (Martin, Silberberg, Trim). Standard tuning. AB (O'Neill/1001, Silberberg): AAB (Tubridy): AABB (most versions). AABB’ (Martin). There are two main versions of this tune, an old and a new, the latter often known as "New Drops of Brandy." The older versions can be found in the English manuscripts of John Moore and William Vickers. Merryweather (1989) notes it bears some resemblance to Playford's "Scotland." The title appears in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes, which he published c. 1800 and also appears in the Scottish Drummond Castle Manuscript in the possession of the Earl of Ancaster at Drummond Castle. This latter MS is inscribed "A Collection of Country Dances written for the use of his Grace the Duke of Perth by Dav. Young, 1734" (and for this reason it is sometimes called the Duke of Perth MS). Editor Seattle (1987) says Vickers' version is a non-standard variation. There is some evidence a 17th century Scots jig called “Hey My Nannie” is ancestral to “Drops of Brandy.”


Drops of Brandy is also the name of a specific country dance known throughout the British Isles under two names. In Ireland, O’Neill (1913) tells us “a special dance was performed to the melody,” and indeed, “Drops of Brandy” is a favorite tune for solo step dancing competitions. A Scottish dance called Drops of Brandy was performed to a schottische, while the exact same figures were danced to a jig and known as the dance Strip the Willow, report Flett & Flett (1964). In fact, the R.S.C.D.S.’s “official” tune for the dance Strip the Willow is “Drops of Brandy,” although a variety of suitable jigs in 6/8 time are also employed on the ceilidh circuit. Emmerson (1972) states that the tune “Drops of Brandy” is often associated with the dance Strip the Willow, so much so that in England the dance is known by the title Drops of Brandy (although it is performed there to schottische-type tunes); “Today, Strip the Willow can be encountered danced to marches or to reels with Country Dance steps, or more often with unbridled abandon.” Martin (2002) also suggests the tune as a vehicle for the dance Strip the Willow (played in a medley with “Brose and Butter” and “I Hae a Wife of my Ain”). Compare also with untitled slip jig collected from Donegal fiddler John Doherty, printed in The Northern Fiddler (1979, pg. 61b), and with the related “Jaunting Car for Six.” “Drink of Brandy” is a similarly named, although unrelated slip jig.


Anne Lederman, in her entry on “Fiddling” in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada (1992), identifies “Drops of Brandy” as one of two important tunes in the ‘fur-trade’ repertoire of the 18th and 19th centuries in Canada (along with “La grande gigue simple” and cognates). It was the vehicle for the Scottish line dance (also called Drops of Brandy), and Lederman suggests the tune was derived from a Scottish 6/4 hornpipe (or ‘Old Hornpipe’ time). The tune also went by the titles “Le Brandy,” “The Hook Dance” and “La danse du crochet” as well as various titles in native languages, writes Lederman. See also the version in Ann Winnington’s music manuscript book (no. 19), c. 1810, wherein the frontispiece indicates she resided in New York.

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

Kuntz as follows:
WIND THAT SHAKES/SHOOK THE BARLEY [1], THE ("An Ghaoth a Bhogann," "An Ghaoth/Gaot a Chroitheann/Corruideann an Eorna" or "An Gaot A Biodgeas An T-Orna"). AKA and see "Duncan Davidson," “(An) Gaoth A Chroitheanna an Eorna,” "I Sat (with)in the Valley Green," "The Kerry Lasses [3],” "Rolling Down the Hill [2]." Irish, Scottish, Shetland, American, New England; Reel. D Major (most versions): G Major (Hardings): D Mixolydian (Carlin). Standard tuning. AB (Allan's, Breathnach, Cole, Harker/Rafferty, Honeyman, Mallinson, O'Neill/1850, Stanford/Petrie, Surenne, Sweet, Tubridy): AAB (Athole): AA'B (O'Neill/Krassen, 1915): AAB (Brody, Carlin, Flaherty, Hunter, S. Johnson, Kerr, Neil, Skye, Sumner): ABB (Phillips): AABB (Hardings, Miller & Perron). The Irish musicologist Father Henebry considered this tune originally Scottish (as did Breathnach), but Bayard (1981) finds almost no Scottish traditional forms; he found numerous versions in Irish and Irish‑American currency. Emmerson (1971), however, states the tune is "substantially a set of the 'Fairy Dance,'" which is definately Scottish and whose full title is "Largo's Fairy Dance," composed by Nathaniel Gow.


“The Wind that Shakes the Barley” was cited as having commonly been played for Orange County, New York, country dances in the 1930's (Lettie Osborn, New York Folklore Quarterly)./ "The (Provance) version...contains a feature common enough in old‑country reels, but seldom encountered in American variants: namely, the 'circular' construction, which provides for the tune's going on indefinitely without coming to a complete cadence. F.P. Provance stated that he learned this set 'among the Dutch' in eastern Fayette and western Somerset Counties‑‑an interesting evidence of how the German settlers have adopted the tradition of the Irish whom they encountered on their arrival in Pennyslvania" (Bayard, 1944). It was recorded on 78 RPM disc by Beaver Island, Michigan, fiddler Patrick Bonner, who had several Irish-style tunes in his repertoire. Beaver Island was settled by a number of immigrants from Arranmore island, off the coast of Donegal, and the Donegal fiddling tradition can be heard in Bonner’s playing (he was the youngest son of immigrants from Arranmore).


The title appears in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes ("The Northern Minstrel's Budget"), which he published c. 1800.

Here's from YouTube ... teachmeafiddletune February 04, 2009 ... Jamie Laval celtic fiddle workshop 1-10-09. "Wind that shakes the barley"

(see following post as well)

Good Mornin', Uncle Johnny, I've Fetched Your Wagon Home



What looks like a St. Patrick's day sing-along at a senior highrise singing "Irish Lullaby," the hit by Bing Crosby from the 1940s ...

It could be an early version of the same Tin Pan Alley song that Masters and Dreiser heard ... the Brobdingnagian Bards website says the words were by J.R. Shannon in the 1890s. Info on the bards:
The Brobdingnagian Bards (pronounced brob-din-nahg-EE-en) are The Original Celtic Renaissance music duo from Austin, Texas. Their unique brand of folk music on the autoharp, recorder, and mandolin has made them one of the most-popular Celtic music groups online where they give away thousands of free Celtic MP3 downloads daily.

Chaw Roast Beef

Probably this - notice it's a cakewalk, thus ultimately from the minstrel stage
Kuntz has this:
CHAW (THAT) ROAST BEEF. American, Cakewalk or "Walk Around." C Major. Standard tuning. ABC, Break. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; pg. 26. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; pg. 172.
And that's all I know about it.

The Missouri Harmony

Thomas Moore's "Legacy" - there's an archived copy of my Picayune article on the blog

Turkey in the Straw / Zip Coon

plenty on this

Miss McCall's Reel

Miss McLeod's Reel?

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