A great tune to learn how to play that old time fiddle sound. Possum's Tail is Bare is in the key of D, standard tuning. David Bragger breaks down the tune a little slower and suggests bowing. Second video is David playing the tune at regular speed. Source: West Virginia tune played by Melvin Wine.
Possum's Tail is Bare at slower speed with bowing.
Brushy Run, (key of G) a popular fiddle tune in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. It was in the repertoires of Ed Haley, Art Stamper, Wilson Douglas and French Carpenter. Ed Haley was born in West Virginia and Brushy Run is a community located on U.S. Highway 220 in Pendleton County, West Virginia. Thanks to Ben for playing the tune at the April jam.
Here's a tune "Rochester Schottische" aka "Walkin' in the Parlor" that was recorded at the March 4th jam.
From The Fiddler's Companion: ROCHESTER SCHOTTISCHE . AKA and see "Patrick
County Blues," "Walking
in the Parlor ." Old‑Time, Breakdown. USA;
North Carolina, Virginia.
D Major. ADae or Standard tuning. AB (Silberberg): AABB (most versions).
Irregular parts (each has 10 measures rather than the usual eight), and it is
played as a breakdown. Tommy Jarrell's "Rochester Schottische" is not
a schottische at all, much less the "Rochester Schottishe" found in
older collections in North America (which even some
Southern fiddlers have occasionally picked up from these sources). Barry Poss
(1976) suggests that "Rochester Schottische" was played at one time
in the Round Peak (N.C.) area, but that the title became detached from the
melody, and, as a "floater," became attached to this tune. Similarly,
the alternate title, "Walkin' in the Parlor," can be found in the
South in numerous versions, though all seem dissimilar to this tune of Tommy
Here's a short clip taken at our February 2014 jam. Little Dutch Girl is the name of the tune, in the key of A.
I posted this tune on June 5th with a video of Rafe Stefanini playing. It's an old time breakdown with sources from Earl Collins and Bob Holt.I like the hypnotic rhythm of the tune and it's also very easy to pick up, sort of by osmosis. Give it a try!
Down Yonder: Old‑Time. USA;
C Major (Bayard): G Major (Phillips, Rosenbaum). Standard tuning. One part. One
of the most popular old‑time songs ever recorded.
was recorded in Atlanta by the
Scottdale String Band, named in honor of the mill village
of Scottdale, near Atlanta,
and home to the band members (Wayne W. Daniel, Pickin’ on Peachtree, 1990). Their first recording was made for the
OKeh studios on October 28, 1926,
and between that date and 1932 the group recorded nearly thirty sides (all but
two—released by Paramount—for
OKeh). Bill Rattray wrote about the group in Old Time Music magazine (“Scottdale Boys,” OTM, Summer, 1971) and
said the group’s records sold “well, or at least fairly well,” and that “their
instrumentation was profoundly different from that of the other, more
well-known Georgia bands like the Skillet-Lickers, and gave their music a more
sophisticated sound that that of the ‘rough North Georgia’ school.” The group’s
repertoire varied more than usual for string bands from the region, and
included “a wider range of material including tunes used chiefly by the jazz
bands…the more traditional breakdowns, songs and ballads are hardly featured at
all.” [quoted by Daniel]. The Scottdale String Band’s recording was quickly
followed by one by another north Georgia group, (Clayton) McMichen’s Melody
Men, on Nov. 6, 1926 (Columbia 15130-D).
Skillet Lickers recording was kept in print by RCA until 1960 and sold over a
million copies all told; it was the third best-selling country music record in
its initial release year (backed with "Back Up and Push"). Tony
Russell writes that Gordon Tanner, Gid Tanner's 17 year old son, played the
un-credited fiddle lead at the session. Written by L. Wolfe Gilbert in 1921
(Gilbert also wrote the words to "Waitin' for the Robert E. Lee"), it
was recorded by the Peerless Quartette that year. Rosenbaum speculates this may
have been the source for Clayton McMichen's 1926 version. "Fiddle tunes by
this name have been collected in Ligonier, Pa., and in Iuka, Miss.: see 'Check‑list
of recorded songs in the English language in the Archive of American Folk Song
to July, 1940' (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Mucis Division, 1942), I,
86" (Bayard). Art Rosenbaum (1989) relates a story about the name of the
tune from Georgian Uncle John Patterson. Patterson was unaware that the song
was popular before it was known as a fiddle tune. It seems that at a Fiddlers'
Convention held in Atlanta in the 1920's Patterson was with Gid Tanner, Fate
Norris, Lowe Stokes and others of the Skillet Lickers hangers on: "I was
there with the banjo, and I was very small. I just wanted to be around, play
with 'em. They'd say, 'Come on in, Uncle John.' I'd be sort of timid, and set
down, and you talk about banjo, fiddle, and guitar, we'd tear it apart! So I
broke a string. They'd been workin' on this fune for a long time, and nobody
knew what was playin'. And I broke a string, and I says, 'I got to go down
younder and get a string.' And they said, 'That's it, "Down Yonder"!
And I went down on Decatur Street
and got a string to go on the banjo." It was recorded by Herbert Halpert
for the Library of Congress from the playing of Tishomingo
County, Mississippi, fiddler John
Hatcher in 1939. Commercial 78 RPM recordings include Shore's Southern Trio,
Hershal Brown and His Washboard Band, McMichen's Melody Men, Doc Roberts, The
Scottdale String Band, the latter-formation (1934) Skillet Lickers.The following lyrics were sung by the
railroad train, hurry some more,
Put a little steam on
just like never before;
Hustle on, bustle on,
I’ve got the blues,
Yearning for my Swanee
Brother if you only
You’d want to hurry up
Summer night, fields
of white, bright cotton moon,
My, but I feel glad,
I’m gonna’ see you all soon.
‘Lasses’ cakes, mammy
bakes, I taste them now.
I can hear the darkies
I’ll see my sweetie
There’s lots of
kissing in store.
Down yonder someone
beckons to me,
I seem to see a race
Between the Natchez
and the Robert E. Lee,
Swanee shore I miss
you more and more
Ev’ry day, my mammy
land, you’re simply grand.
Down yonder when the
folks get the news,
Don’t wonder at the
There’s daddy and
mammy, there’s Ephraim and Sammy,
Quote below from The Fiddler's Companion: "Old-time,
Breakdown. USA, Missouri. A Major (Beisswenger & McCann): G Major
(Phillips). Standard tuning. AB (Silberberg): AABB (Beissenger & McCann,
Phillips).According to Drew Beisswenger
(2008), both source Earl Collins and Missouri fiddler Bob Holt heard the tune
played in Douglas County, Mo., when they were young. This is the second “Little
Dutch Girl” tune associated with the Collins family; however, Marion Thede did
include this melody in The Fiddle Book (1967, collected from Oklahoma
fiddler Joe Wilsie) albeit under the title “Liza Jane No. 3,” perhaps because
these lyrics are associated with it:
I’ll go down the new cut road,
And Liza down the lane;
I’ll throw my hat in the corner
And scare poor Liza Jane.
Mike Compton and Joe Newberry with Rafe Stefanini - Little Dutch Girl
UPDATE: Yes, we're still on for today. Drive carefully!
Greetings to all! We are having a jam/family barn dance at The Sounding Board Coffeehouse, (at The Universalist Church) 433 Fern Street in West Hartford on Saturday, February 23rd.
will jam from 4 - 6 pm and then from 7 - 9 (or maybe (9:30) we'll play for an old fashioned family barn dance called by Patricia Campbell. It would be great if the musicians stay and play for the dance . . . or just dance!
some common tunes we'll play. Other tune suggestions are welcome, just
leave a comment below or send me an e-mail. We may play these as a set
or just use one, depending on the caller's preference. Check back as
I'll be updating this list.
Here's a link to the chords and notation if you must. Traditional tunes can be played many ways, with many variations, and different chords, so keep this in mind. Every tune can be simplified if you're a novice player, there's no reason why everyone can't join in. That's what this music is about; to be shared with friends and have fun playing it! I may not play these tunes exactly as written. (Please don't send me an e-mail saying "That's not how I learned it", "My teacher plays it differently", "I can't play the F#m chord", "I don't like this tune", etc. Send me money instead!)
Angeline the Baker (D) - Over the Waterfall (D)
Arkansas Traveler (D) –
Mississippi Sawyer (D)
Cold Frosty Morning (Am) –
Pretty Little Dog (A-modal)
Colored Aristocracy (G) -
Turkey in the Straw (G)
Devil Ate the Groundhog (G) -
Squirrel Heads & Gravy (G)
Fly Around My Pretty Little
Miss (D) - Grey Cat on a Tennessee Farm (D)
Goodby Girls I’m Going to
Boston (A) - Greasy Coat (A) - Cherokee Shuffle (A)
Grasshopper Sitting on a
Sweet Potato Vine (D) - West Fork Gals (D)
Horse & Buggy (A) - June
Apple (Amix) - Kitchen Girl (Amix/Adorian)
Liza Jane (A) - Sandy Boys (A)
Sadie at the Back Door (D) -
Rock the Cradle Joe (D)
Sandy (My Little Dog He Won't
Bite Me) (D) - Flop Eared Mule (D/A)
Seneca Square Dance (G) -
Possum's Tail is Bare (D)
Walkin' in My Sleep (G) -
Shove the Pigs Foot (G)
Cowboy Waltz (D), Midnight on the Water (D)
(caller's requests - Janet & I can play these and any other tunes that Patricia might need)
LaBastringue (D) (mixer dance)
Harvest Home (D) - Boys of Blue Hill (D)
Jenny Lind Polka (D) (heel and toe dance)
Grasshopper Sittin' on a Sweet Potato Vine is our slow jam tune for February. This old time tune in the key of D has an unusual name (don't they all?) and Virginia fiddler Luther Davis (1887-1986) is credited for many versions of the tune. I first heard GSSPV on Banging and Sawing, one of my favorite old time cd's. You can find Dan Levinson's fiddle and banjo version here. If you're looking for mountain dulcimer notation, here's a version from Doofus.