Booth Shot Lincoln (1)

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X:1 T:Booth T:Booth Shot Lincoln [1] S:Marcus Martin (1881-1974, Swannanoa, N.C.) M:C| L:1/8 N:AEae tuning (fiddle) F: D:Library of Congress (1942) Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:A (3AGF|ECEF E3E|FA2B A3A-|ABcA AcBA|[A,3F3]{E}[A,3F3]AF| ECEF E3E|FA2B A3(f|e2)cA BcAF|A4A2:| AB|ce2f e3e|fa2b a3(f|e2)cB AcBA|[F3A3][F3A3][EA]B| e2f e3e|fa2b a3(f|e2)cB AcBG|(A[A2A2])(A [A2A2])AB| ce2f e3e|fa2b a3(f|e2)cB AcBA|[F3A3][F3A3]AF|| ECEF E3E|FA2B A3(f|e2)cA BcAF|A4A2||

BOOTH SHOT LINCOLN [1]. AKA - "Booth." American, Reel (cut time). USA; western N.C., Eastern Tenn. A Major. AEae, GDgd or Standard tunings (fiddle). AAB (Phillips): AABB (Johnson). The title commemorates the April 14th, 1865, assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by the actor and Southern sympathizer John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater, Washington, D.C., during a performance of a British comedy. The Booth name was instantly recognizable to patrons of the Civil War era stage, chiefly because of John's brother Edwin Booth, one of the foremost thespians of his day. The tune was in the repertoires of western North Carolina fiddlers Osey Helton and Marcus Martin (from the Black Mountain region). It was also in the repertoire of fiddler Tommy Magness (1911-1972), born in north Georgia near the southeastern Tennessee border. Bascom Lamar Lunsford (Bunscombe County, N.C.) learned his version ("Booth Killed Lincoln") from Martin, and both sang the song and played the same tune on the fiddle on his recording. On his 1949 Library of Congress recording, however, Lunsford introduces the seven-verse song: "The title of this ballad is 'Booth,' or 'Booth Killed Lincoln.' It's an old fiddle tune, and there are a few variants of the song. I heard my father hum it and sing a few of the stanzas when I was just a boy about six or ten years old." After he sings the song, he plays the fiddle tune, similar to Martin's version though less complex. The ballad air and the fiddle tune are related, with the fiddle tune being more ornate and elaborate. Most modern versions are based on Martin's slightly-crooked recorded versions of the tune (he was recorded several times in the 1940's by Library of Congress field personnel, including Alan Lomax in 1942), and Martin gave the title variously as "Booth" or "John Wilkes Booth." Lunsford's lyric goes:

There's treason, boys, in Washington.
John Wilkes Booth has fled.
Abe Lincoln's lyin' cold and dead
With a bullet in his head.
Bring the traitors in, boys,
Bring the traitors in.
Bring the traitors in, boys,
Bring the traitors in.

Scott DeLancey maintains that the "Booth" melody is a breakdown setting of the Irish jig "Market Town (The)."

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Marcus Martin (1881-1974, Buncombe County, North Carolina) [Phillips/1994].

Printed sources : - Johnson (The Kitchen Musician No. 2: Occasional Collection of Old-Timey Fiddle Tunes for Hammer Dulcimer, Fiddle, etc.), 1982 (revised 1988 & 2003); p. 11. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 34.

Recorded sources: -AFS L29, "Folk Music of the United States: Songs and Ballads of American History and of the Assassination of Presidents from the Archive of American Folk Song" (contains two 1949 recordings of Bascom Lamar Lunsford playing "Booth Killed Lincoln," collected by Duncan Emrich). Flying Fish FF 266, Malcolm Daglish & Grey Larsen - "Thunderhead" (1982). Library of Congress AAFS L29, Bascomb Lamar Lunsford (originally recorded 1949). Marimac 9000, Dan Gellert and Shoofly - "Forked Deer" (1986. Learned from Marc Gunther). Rounder 1509, Bascom Lamar Lumsford - "Songs and Ballads of American History and of the Assassination of Presidents" (originally issued in the early 1950's by the Library of Congress from the Archive of American Folksong). PearlMae Muisc 004-2, Jim Taylor - "The Civil War Collection" (1996. Bruce Greene, fiddle. Learned from Marcus Martin & Basom Lamar Lunsford, Guncombe County, N.C.). CD2001, "The Rough Deal Stringband."

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear Marcus Martin's recording at Slippery Hill [2]

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