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Jan 24, 2021 - 7:14:03 AM
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355 posts since 7/31/2018

This week's tune is Jack of Diamonds from the playing of Owens Greenvile "Snake" Chapman (20 July 1919--30 October 2003) of Pike County, KY. He was the son of George Washington Chapman (1853-1952) and Pricy Blackburn (1871-1955). His ancestors on the Blackburn side came from North Yorkshire England and were in Virginia by 1742. He married Margaret Virginia Baldwin (1922-2007) on 29 May 1940.

Most sources state his first name as Owen, but public documents, as well as his gravestone, show his name was "Owens." Chapman grew up in an isolated hollow and began playing fiddle in the early 1930s. He learned many of his tunes from his father and paternal uncle, who were both excellent fiddlers. He worked in the coal mines from a young age and contracted black lung. He then moved to Michigan in 1966 to work in the auto industry. While there, Owens started a bluegrass band, but that did not last very long, and he moved back to his native Kentucky.

Snake Chapman's Jack of Diamonds is not the same tune that also goes by the name "Drunken Hiccoughs," nor is it the same tune that Marion Thede inclued in The Fiddle Book that she gave the alternate title "Fort Worth." According to Traditional Tune Archive, Chapman told John Hartford he had learned the tune from an old fiddler in Chicago. The tune may have a southwestern U.S. provenance.

I'm very glad to have friend Dan Krise on bass (Wellsboro, PA) joining mysef and Stephen Rapp on banjo (Kent, OH), Sean Fen on guitar (Wooster, OH).

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Jan 24, 2021 - 4:12:49 PM
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5012 posts since 9/26/2008

One of my favorite C tunes.

Jan 24, 2021 - 5:57:37 PM
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355 posts since 7/31/2018

Sure is a lot of fun to play, isn't it!

Jan 25, 2021 - 4:31:09 PM
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35 posts since 1/25/2021

Excellent, love it. Love the history that goes with it as well very interesting.

Edited by - Black on 01/25/2021 16:33:54

Jan 25, 2021 - 6:24:53 PM
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11700 posts since 9/23/2009

Cool tune, Paul! I was expecting the other Jack of Diamonds...didn't know about this one. Great job, guys! Thanks for sharing.

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