June Apple

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JUNE APPLE [1]. Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, Virginia. A Mixolydian. Standard or AEae (Tommy Jarrell) tunings (fiddle). AB (Silberberg): AABB (most versions). A June apple is an early ripening variety of apple, maturing in the spring in the southern United States. It tends to be smaller and more tart then later-ripening apples. Most versions of the tune are in the mixolydian mode, although Benton Flippen (b. 1920, Surry Country, N.C.) plays it in A major. The late Mt. Airy, North Carolina, fiddler Tommy Jarrell [1] (1901-1985) sang these words to the 'B' part:

Tommy Jarrell and Fred Cockerham

Wish I was a June Apple
Hanging on a tree
Every time my true love passed
She'd take a little bite of me

Going across the mountain
I'm Going in a swing
When I get on the other side
I'm gonna hear my woman sing

Don't you hear that banjo saying
I wish that gal was mine
Can't you hear that banjo saying
I wish that gal was mine

Charlie he's a nice young man
Charlie he's a dandy
Charlie he's a nice young
He feeds the gals on candy

Over the river to feed my sheep
Over the river Charlie
Over the river to feed my sheep
Feed them on barley

Wish I had some sticks and poles
Build my chimney higher
Ever time it rains or snows
Puts out all my fire

Joel Shimberg points out that the lyrics to "Train on the Island" scan for the "June Apple" melody and are sometimes sung to it as 'floating verses.'

Sources for notated versions: Red Clay Ramblers (N.C.) [Brody]; Uncle Charlie Higgins (Galax, Va.) [Krassen]; Allan Block and Andy May [Spadaro]; W.B. Reid/M. Gaponoff [Silberberg]; Carthy Sisco [Silberberg]; Benton Flippen (Surry Co., N.C.) via Jody Stecher [Fiddler Magazine]; Tommy Jarrell [Milliner & Koken].

Printed sources: Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 153. Fiddler Magazine, Winter 2008/09, vol. 15, No. 4; p. 8. Johnson (Kitchen Musician No. 2: Old-Timey Fiddle Tunes), 1982 (revised 1988, 2003); p. 6. Krassen (Appalachian Fiddle), 1973; pp. 34–35. Milliner & Koken (Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes), 2011; p. 352. Phillips (Fiddle Case Tunebook: Old Time Southern), 1989; p. 24. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 130. Silberberg (Fiddle Tunes I Learned at the Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 79 (two versions). Spadaro (10 Cents a Dance), 1980; p. 37.

Recorded sources: Chubby Dragon CD1008, Brad Leftwich, Bruce Molsky et al – "Mountairy.usa" (2001). County 713, Cockerham, Jarrell, and Jenkins – "Down to the Cider Mill" (Tommy Jarrell learned the tune from his father, Ben Jarrell). County CD 2735, Tommy Jarrell – "Stay All Night" (2004). Folkways FTS 331038, Roger Sprung and Hal Wylie – "Bluegrass Blast." Heritage 054, Smokey Valley Boys – "Brandywine '83: Music of French America" (1984). Marimac AHS #3, Glen Smith – "Say Old Man" (1990. Learned from Tommy Jarrell). Marimac 9000, Dan Gellert & Shoofly – "Forked Deer" (1986. Learned from Tommy Jarrell). Tennvale 002, Red Clay Ramblers – "Galax '73."

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Hear a 1999 recording of the Sim Top Ramblers at Berea Digital Content [3]
Hear banjo player Neal 'Pop' Collins (c. 1970's) at Digital Library of Appalachia [4]




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