X:1 T:Liberty  M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel K:D "D"f2A2 f2A2| fgfe d2ef|"G"g2B2 g2B2| gagf e2de| "D"f2A2 f2A2| fgfe d2ef| "G"gfed "A"cABc| "D"d2f2 d4:| |:"D"A2AB AGFE| DFAd f2d2| A2AB AGF2| "A"E3F E2FG| "D"A2AB AGFE| DFAd f2ef| "G"gfed "A"cABc| "D"d2f2 d4:|
LIBERTY . AKA - "New Liberty." AKA and see "Reel de Tí-Jean" (Canadian), "Tipsy Parson (1)," "Raccoon and the Possum (The)," "Spanish Polka," "Liberty Dance," "Liberty Two-Step," "Liberty Hornpipe." Old-Time, Bluegrass; Breakdown. USA, Widely known. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Silberberg): AABB (most versions). The first recording of the tune was by Texas fiddler Bob Wills in 1947 for Columbia records, and although there is no information on where he may have obtained the tune. He is known to have had some of his repertoire from his father, but it is only speculation that the tune was in the Wills family prior to Bob. It was quickly and widely disseminated in North America following Wills' recording. Tommy Jackson;s 1954 recording of "Liberty" for Dot Records may have helped popularize the tune among American fiddlers, and Don Messer's 1953 recording ("<incipit title="load:step" width=850 link="https://tunearch.org/wiki/Liberty Two-Step">Liberty Two-Step</incipit>") and Bob Hills & his Canadian Playboys ("<incipit title="load:ti-jean" width=850 link="https://tunearch.org/wiki/Reel de Tí-Jean">Reel de Tí-Jean</incipit>", 1955) were influential in Canada. Although assertions have been made for further antiquity, there is no evidence that has come to light for earlier origins. [Bob Wills signed with Liberty Records in 1959, but the tune in his recorded repertoire long predates this as being a source for the title].
Paul Tyler notes that "Liberty" seems to be the "hoedown" of choice among Cajun fiddlers, when asked to play one. "Liberty" is one of '100 essential Missouri tunes' listed by Missouri fiddler Charlie Walden. The reel is very popular among Ozarks fiddlers, according to Beisswegner & McCann, where it is often an introductory tune for beginning fiddlers (in simplified version), although the authors suspect it is a relatively recent addition to Ozarks fiddle repertoire. Indeed, "Liberty" has for some decades been an introductory tune for beginning old-time style fiddlers. In Martin Scorcese's period film The Gangs of New York (2002), a dulcimer player is briefly shown and heard playing the melody. Early 78 RPM recordings of tunes called "Liberty" by Georgia's Fiddlin' John Carson (1925), Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers (1928, "Liberty off a Corn Liquor Still"), the Tweedy Brothers and Herschel Brown (1928), are different melodies.
The French-Canadian Reel "<incipit title="load:ti-jean" width=850 link="https://tunearch.org/wiki/Reel de Tí-Jean">Reel de Tí-Jean</incipit>" as recorded by Bob Hill and his band is the same as "Liberty (1)," although the version of "Reel de Tí-Jean" printed by Miller & Perron (New England Fiddler's Repertory, 1983) differs in the second strain.