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2/4 IN G

 

1. Irish Trot played by Varsal Fales and Les Raber, accompanied by Bud Pierce, guitar, William White, dulcimer, and Paul Gifford, piano, Hastings, Michigan, January 14, 1981. The Irish Trot has an obscure history, but it was a contradance introduced probably during the late 19th century. It remained a fixture at some old-time dances in Michigan into the 1930s. One of its distinctive features was the "trot" step, which consisted of two short steps per beat, requiring a tune comparable to a British hornpipe, with a dotted rhythm. The tune here that Varsal and Les Raber play is a Scottish song called There's Nae Luck about the House (the same as an English song called Washing Day); Stewart Carmichael played Comin' Through the Rye for this dance.

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2. Nameless tune played by Elmer House, accompanied by Paul Gifford, guitar, Mackinac Island, Michigan, August 2, 1976. He says the tune is suitable for a first change of a square dance set.

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3. Nameless tune played by Elmer House, accompanied by Paul Gifford, guitar, Mackinac Island, Michigan, August 2, 1976. I think Kenneth Smith of Pickford also played a version of this.

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4. [Uncertain common name]. This is basically the same as an English tune, Girl With The Blue Dress On. Half of it is related to a Canadian tune, Loggerman's Breakdown (in B flat). George Pariseau, of Bad Axe, recorded the tune on an acetate blank in the 1940s, calling it a Hoppwaltz, which is, strangely enough, the Wisconsin Norwegian-American name for a polka. It is strange, too, because there were no Norwegians in the Thumb. This last term, though, could indicate a continental origin for the tune. I think it is basically the same tune that Chet Parker and Les Raber (who had learned it from his grandfather) played for the call "Right and Left Six." This might be regarded as a West Michigan version of the tune, as Parker and Raber were from Kent and Allegan Counties respectively.

a. Nameless tune played by Pete Keller, accompanied by Paul Gifford, tenor banjo, and Mrs. Keller, guitar, Cross Village, Michigan, January 30, 1977.

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b. Nameless tune played by Gale McAfee, accompanied by Paul Gifford, dulcimer, Manton, Michigan, April 15, 1976.

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5. Democrat Waltz played by Pete Keller, accompanied by Paul Gifford, piano, Cross Village, Michigan, September 7, 1976. Whoever gave this tune this name must have been a Republican!

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6. Shenanquet's Hornpipe played by Pete Keller, accompanied by Paul Gifford, piano, Cross Village, Michigan, September 7, 1976. He learned the tune from a local Indian named Shenanquet and so called the tune after him.

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7. Nameless tune in G and D played by Gale McAfee, accompanied by Paul Gifford, dulcimer, Manton, Michigan, April 15, 1976.

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8. Nameless tune played by Orin Miller, accompanied by Paul Gifford, dulcimer, Scottville, Michigan, September 8, 1977.

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9. Old Jens in G and D played by Merritt Olsen, accompanied by Paul Gifford, piano, Birmingham, Michigan, April 1976. He learned this from Jens Jensen, of Montcalm County, and named it after him.

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10. Drunken Hiccups played by Everett Snyder, accompanied by various instruments, including tenor banjo, piano, guitar, at a jamboree at Harrietta, Michigan, June 4, 1977. Snyder learned this tune from Henry Ford's fiddler, Jep Bisbee (1843-1935), of Paris, Michigan, who also taught Snyder to play and made the violin on which he is playing. Bayard discusses the title in some detail, but this tune has nothing to do with the Southern tune also known as Jack of Diamonds. I think it possibly relates to the Pennsylvania tune Oil City Quickstep (see Bayard, no. 180; recorded as Baker's March by Paul Van Arsdale and Garfield March by Clark Kessinger). It may be a version of an Illinois tune, Hoppin' Rabbit (Harrison, no. 105). But it may also relate to Jumping Toothache, which follows.

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11. Jumping Toothache played by Frank Stevens, accompanied by Paul Gifford, dulcimer, and Jon Blasius, guitar, Sand Lake, Michigan, October 1971. Frank had forgotten all the names of his tunes, but it seems probable that he once would have known this title. Jim Herald played an almost identical version of the tune, which he had learned from a fiddler in the town of Edmore, not far from Sand Lake. This tune, in very similar versions, was also played in northern Indiana and Ohio (see Paul Tyler's webpage for recordings of Francis Geels, of Decatur, Indiana, and Harold Zimmerman, originally of Van Wert County, Ohio, playing this). In the part with left-hand pizzicato, Stevens would alternately pluck the strings and quickly hold the fiddle vertically and bow the next note like a cello. Merritt Olsen played a closely related version of this tune in C (which he learned from Fen Watkins), and Gale McAfee played a C tune with this name that was unrelated.

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12. Nameless tune played by Wallace Tuttle, accompanied by Paul Gifford, dulcimer, and William White, guitar, Lansing, Michigan, February 1, 1977.

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13. Cub Berdan's Breakdown in G and C played by Wallace Tuttle, accompanied by Paul Gifford, dulcimer, and William White, guitar, Lansing, Michigan, February 1, 1977.

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