BRIARPICKER BROWN. Old-Time, Breakdown. USA; Ky., Ohio. D Major. Standard or ADae tunings (fiddle). AABB. Presumably one picks briars as a consequence of hunting; either from oneself, or from any canines involved. It should be noted that 'briar' and 'briar-hopper' were a derogatory terms for whites from Kentucky and West Virginia (from the briar bushes found in Appalachian states) who came to look for work in the factories of Ohio. The melody is known as a Kentucky tune in modern times, largely due to an influential recording by fiddler Buddy Thomas (who died at age 39 in the mid-1970's). Thomas had the tune from an elderly Portsmouth, Ohio, fiddler named Morris Allen. The tune structurally resembles West Virginia fiddler Clark Kessinger's "Everyone to the Puncheon," and Allen was in fact a friend of Kessinger. Jeff Titon (2001) points out the low part of the tune is the same as that of the English country dance melody "Rose Tree (The)."
Sources for notated versions: Norman Blake (Ga.) [Brody]; Bill Christopherson (Conn.) [Phillips]; Buddy Thomas (Emerson, Lewis County, Ky.), 1974 [Titon].
Printed sources: Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 56. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 1, 1994; p. 36. Silberberg (Tunes I Leaned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 16. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; pg. 41. Titon (Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes), 2001; No. 16, p. 49.
Recorded sources: Flying Fish FF 266, Malcolm Dalglish & Grey Larsen- "Thunderhead" (1982). Rounder 0032, Buddy Thomas (Northeastern Ky.) - "Kitty Puss - Old Time Fiddle Music From Kentucky" (1976). Rounder 0122, Norman Blake- "The Rising Fawn String Ensemble." Rounder 0172, Bob Carlin - "Where Did You Get That Hat?" (1982).
See also listing at: Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources .
X:1 T:Briar Picker Brown M:C L:1/8 Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:D fe | d2B2A2F2 | ABAF E2 AB | d2 dd edeg | fedA BABc | d2B/d/BA2F2 | ABAF E2 FE | D2 dA Bded | [de] [d2f2] [de] [d2f2] :| |: de | f2 af a2 aa | beae fe d2 | f af a2 ff | eBdB ABde | f2 af a2 aa | beae fdBd | fgfe dBAB | e d2d [d2f2 ] :|
X:2 T:Briar Picker Brown M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel S:Buddy Thomas N:From a transcription by John Lamancusa, by permission. See http://www.mne.psu.edu/lamancusa/tunes.htm Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:D AB |: d2 (3BcB A2F2 | ABAF D2D2 | dcdf edea | fedA (3BcB AB | dABd A2 FG | ABAF DB,A,D | ABdf Bc d2 |1 e2 [(d2f2][d2)f2] AB :|2 e2 [(d2f2][d2)f2] fg ||: a2 ab a2f2 | bfaf eafg | a2 ab a2f2 | e2d2 BdAA | a2aba2f2 | abaf edge | fedB A2 Bd |1 e2 [(d2f2][d2)f2] fg :|2 e2 [(d2f2][d4)f4]||