Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

39
Fiddle Lovers Online


Is This the Ohio Old-Time Fiddle Repertoire? Probably Not ...

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
May 15, 2018 - 10:21:45 AM
likes this

Viper

USA

182 posts since 1/6/2011

Ever since I've been into playing old-time music, I've been drawn to the connections to my home state. Through the Field Recorders' Collective and other resources, I've slowly amassed a small music collection of influential Ohio fiddlers like Ward Jarvis, Jimmy Wheeler, Lonnie Seymour and others. I've always wondered if there was an "Ohio repertoire."

Most of the people I've asked this question to have said no, but that didn't stop me from compiling a list of 250-some tunes played by about a dozen fiddlers who lived at least a significant portion of their lives in Ohio and then cross-referencing that list to find the tunes that were common among them.

Here are the so-called common tunes:

  1. Arkansas Traveler 
  2. Birdie
  3. Cumberland Gap
  4. Durang’s Hornpipe
  5. Forked Deer
  6. Grey Eagle
  7. June Apple
  8. Leather Britches
  9. Mississippi Sawyer
  10. Raggedy Ann
  11. Turkey in the Straw
  12. Wild Horse

You can read a little bit more about this homespun research project at my blog, The Glory-Beaming Banjo. This was by no means a scientific study, and there are still more fiddlers I know about, but don't know what tunes they played. And I know there I will discover other fiddlers who should be on my list. That said, I'm curious what others think. Does my list have merit? Am I way off base? Has anyone else embarked on similar investigations?

May 16, 2018 - 10:56:42 AM
likes this

110 posts since 1/27/2018

I can’t say I know a ton about Ohio fiddling as a whole but down around Portsmouth old-time fiddling is pretty much like NE Kentucky. In central Ohio there’s a living legend named Kenny Sidle that plays a lot of slower tunes like waltzes and quadrilles. It might be worth it to look him up and at least check out his repertoire.

May 16, 2018 - 12:10:59 PM

Viper

USA

182 posts since 1/6/2011

Thank you for your input. In my estimation, there's a lot of influence from both NE Kentucky and West Virginia. I'm really interested in the fiddlers who could be considered from the Ohio River Valley.

As for Kenny Sidle, I was able to track down some of the tunes he played from some recordings and those were represented in my little "study."

May 16, 2018 - 12:12:01 PM
likes this

DougD

USA

8689 posts since 12/2/2007

Interesting project. Seems that what it shows so far is that certain tunes are very widely known.
I see that John Hutchison ("Three Thin Dimes") is on your to-do list. What about Fiddling Van Kidwell, or do you think of him as too much a Kentucky fiddler? Lots of him on a Field Recorders release (FRC412).

Edited by - DougD on 05/16/2018 12:14:19

May 17, 2018 - 6:35:20 AM

Viper

USA

182 posts since 1/6/2011

Doug, thank you for the response and suggestion. I don't much about Fiddling Van Kidwell. I'll add him to my list. I'm hoping to acquire some recordings of John Hutchison through an acquaintance.

It's definitely interesting to me to see what tunes were more widely played by the older generation compared to the tunes that I found when I first started attending jams. Tunes like "Angeline the Baker" and "Spotted Pony" don't appear anywhere on my big list of tunes, but are mainstays at certain local sessions. To be clear, I do recognize that my list isn't definitive, because I'm at the disadvantage of knowing only what tunes were recorded. That doesn't mean they weren't played.

Nevertheless, it gives me a little focus as to the tunes I might like to learn to play some day. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been working on the repertoire of Ward Jarvis, and I'll likely move on at some point to another Ohio fiddler's tunes.

May 17, 2018 - 7:53:51 AM
likes this

RobBob

USA

2540 posts since 6/26/2007

There are lots of good fiddlers today in Ohio. I know some around the Dayton area and elsewhere. Lots of sharing of styles with PA, WVA and KY fiddlers too. Nice article, names you don't see every day. Thanks for sharing.

May 17, 2018 - 12:20:36 PM
likes this

1453 posts since 10/22/2007

Could somebody direct me to some version of Wild Horse?

May 17, 2018 - 12:31:25 PM

Viper

USA

182 posts since 1/6/2011

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

Could somebody direct me to some version of Wild Horse?


According to my notes, Arnold Sharp, John Hannah and Estill Adams played this tune. 

Here's a link to the Field Recorders' Collective album of Arnold Sharp where that tune appears: https://fieldrecorder.org/product/arnold-sharp/

And to the John Hannah FRC album: https://fieldrecorder.org/product/john-hannah/

As for non-Ohio versions, here's Ed Haley's via Slippery-Hill: https://www.slippery-hill.com/recording/wild-horse

And John Salyer's version on Slippery-Hill: https://www.slippery-hill.com/recording/wild-horse-0

Hope that helps!

Edited by - Viper on 05/17/2018 12:32:13

May 17, 2018 - 1:27:48 PM

DougD

USA

8689 posts since 12/2/2007

Farmerjones - "Wild Horse" is also known as "Wild Horse at Stoney Point" or just "Stoney Point," "Pigtown Fling," "Old Dad," and others. A not uncommon tune, supposedly inspired by an incident in a Revolutionary War battle on the Hudson river. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle...ony_Point

Edited by - DougD on 05/17/2018 13:41:27

May 17, 2018 - 2:12:27 PM
like this

DougD

USA

8689 posts since 12/2/2007

Viper, I hope you check out the FRC disc of Van Kidwell. He had an interesting history. And I think the Hot Mud Family by themselves are an authentic representation of the old time and Bluegrass music in the Dayton area at that time - plus they were just a great band. I was sorry to see that the CD set of their Vetco records is now out of print. Fortunately I bought it as soon as I heard about it!
"Angelina Baker" and "Spotted Pony" are "revival jam session" tunes that were never widely known traditionally. No reflection on their musical quality, but they now have no more local association than your favorite McDonalds.

Edited by - DougD on 05/17/2018 14:13:55

May 17, 2018 - 2:39:32 PM

732 posts since 7/26/2015

Here's a name for it I bet most people haven't heard: Rubber-Tired Buggy. DougD, I wanted to say thanks for the compliment you gave me at the contest in Flag Pond.
quote:
Originally posted by DougD

Farmerjones - "Wild Horse" is also known as "Wild Horse at Stoney Point" or just "Stoney Point," "Pigtown Fling," "Old Dad," and others. A not uncommon tune, supposedly inspired by an incident in a Revolutionary War battle on the Hudson river. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle...ony_Point


Edited by - soppinthegravy on 05/17/2018 14:40:19

May 17, 2018 - 3:06:22 PM
likes this

732 posts since 7/26/2015

Good luck. Join the club, hoss.  I'm trying to determine the "Tennessee repertoire", myself. I've decided, if I limit it to tunes that are just local, it's hard to make a list. Those tunes are definitely not exclusive to Ohio, but they are part of the musicians' repertoires, nonetheless. I'm guessing June Apple probably came from revivalists. I tend to think of that as a North Carolina tune. It's a difficult question to answer. What is a "North Carolina tune", an "Ohio tune" or a "Texas tune"?
quote:
Originally posted by Viper

Ever since I've been into playing old-time music, I've been drawn to the connections to my home state. Through the Field Recorders' Collective and other resources, I've slowly amassed a small music collection of influential Ohio fiddlers like Ward Jarvis, Jimmy Wheeler, Lonnie Seymour and others. I've always wondered if there was an "Ohio repertoire."

Most of the people I've asked this question to have said no, but that didn't stop me from compiling a list of 250-some tunes played by about a dozen fiddlers who lived at least a significant portion of their lives in Ohio and then cross-referencing that list to find the tunes that were common among them.

Here are the so-called common tunes:

  1. Arkansas Traveler 
  2. Birdie
  3. Cumberland Gap
  4. Durang’s Hornpipe
  5. Forked Deer
  6. Grey Eagle
  7. June Apple
  8. Leather Britches
  9. Mississippi Sawyer
  10. Raggedy Ann
  11. Turkey in the Straw
  12. Wild Horse

You can read a little bit more about this homespun research project at my blog, The Glory-Beaming Banjo. This was by no means a scientific study, and there are still more fiddlers I know about, but don't know what tunes they played. And I know there I will discover other fiddlers who should be on my list. That said, I'm curious what others think. Does my list have merit? Am I way off base? Has anyone else embarked on similar investigations?


May 17, 2018 - 4:29:45 PM

732 posts since 7/26/2015

Bert Layne, listed on your site, was the name of one of the Skillet Lickers. If it's the same guy, he was originally from Georgia.

May 17, 2018 - 6:20:06 PM
like this

DougD

USA

8689 posts since 12/2/2007

I just checked and was surprised to find that Bert Layne was actually originally from Arkansas. In his later years he lived in the Cincinnati area, actually in Covington. Clayton McMichen lived in Louisville, so both of them were in the Ohio River valley.
Coming up with a specific regional repertoire is definitely not as easy as it might seem, but I think it can be done (and has been for some areas). At least you two realize there might be such a thing! Good luck.

May 18, 2018 - 6:32:23 AM

Viper

USA

182 posts since 1/6/2011

Bert Layne apparently spent quite a bit of time in Ohio. A friend told me he also used to work at the Ford plant in Brook Park, Ohio, which is a suburb of Cleveland. This biography I found on him seems to corroborate that story: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/bert-layne-biography.aspx

Between the automotive, steel and rubber factories in Northeast Ohio, lots of folks moved up this way for jobs -- even fiddlers! 

There was a man at a local festival earlier this year who was Lowe Stokes' grandson. 

May 27, 2018 - 6:07:46 AM
likes this

332 posts since 5/27/2014

Wow!  Fiddlin' in my home town?!  Just Kidding.  I was born and raised just south of Akron in East Franklin Township in the 1950's and 60's.  Manchester, now East Franklin, was still a farming community in those days.  Can't say I recall every hearing or seeing any sort of jam sessions, but about half the titles in the list are somehow associated with my childhood there.

Will be making a short stop in East Franklin sometime Thursday this week to visit passed family and friends resting in the cemetery.  First visit since 2011. Might even stop at Cope's Pharmacy for a nickel coke.

No button to follow your blog on the page, but I'd love to see results as they become available.  

May 29, 2018 - 12:42:38 PM

Viper

USA

182 posts since 1/6/2011

quote:
Originally posted by Duckinacup

Wow!  Fiddlin' in my home town?!  Just Kidding.  I was born and raised just south of Akron in East Franklin Township in the 1950's and 60's.  Manchester, now East Franklin, was still a farming community in those days.  Can't say I recall every hearing or seeing any sort of jam sessions, but about half the titles in the list are somehow associated with my childhood there.

Will be making a short stop in East Franklin sometime Thursday this week to visit passed family and friends resting in the cemetery.  First visit since 2011. Might even stop at Cope's Pharmacy for a nickel coke.

No button to follow your blog on the page, but I'd love to see results as they become available.  


Mike, thank you for the kind words. Just for you, I've added a the follow button to the bottom of the menu bar. Hit the three horizontal lines in the upper right corner and scroll down to the bottom of the sidebar. 

Nice to hear from a former local. I grew up in Kent, but have lived in Akron the last 15 years or so. I love the rural areas south of Akron. I hope you enjoy your visit. Though, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Cope's is closed: http://www.thesuburbanite.com/news/20180305/copes-pharmacy-in-new-franklin-closes-after-62-years

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.1894531