Breakin' Up Christmas

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X:1 T:Breaking Up Christmas N:From the playing of fiddler Tommy Jarrell N:(1901-1985, Mt. Airy, Surry County, western North Carolina) M:C| L:1/8 Q:"Quick" R:Reel N:AEae tuning (fiddle) N:Play AA'BBBBBBBB, with slight variations (particularly rhythmic) to the 'B' part each time. D:County 741, Jarrell, Cockerham & Jenkins - "Stay All Night" (1973) D:https://www.slippery-hill.com/recording/breaking-christmas Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:A +slide+[e2e2]-|[ee]fed c-dee|ef-ec A2 +slide+[e2e22]-|[ee]fed cAcA|B-AB-c A2+slide+[e2e2]-| [ee]fed c-dee|1ef-ec A2 ^g2-|aeae =g2fg |ecB-c A2:| |2e(fe)cA2a2-|a2a2-c'3f|ec-BA A2|| |:[A,2E2]-|[A,E][FA]-[A2A2] [A3A3] A|AcBA FE[FA]A|EF[A2A2] [A3A3]A|AcBA A2:|| P:2nd strain variations: |:[A,2E2]-|[A,E][FA]-[AA]A [A2A2] AA|AcBA FEAF|EFA[AA]- [A2A2]cB|Ac-BA A2:| |:[A,2E2]-|[A,E][FA][AA][AA] [AA]BcB|AcBA FEFF|EFAA ABcB|Ac-BA A2:|



BREAKING UP CHRISTMAS (See "Old Breaking Up Christmas"). American, Reel (cut time). USA; western North Carolina, western Va. A Major. AEae or DGdg tunings (fiddle). AABB. "A popular tune in the Galax/Meadows of Dan/Mt. Airy triangle," say Tom Carter and Blanton Owen (1978), who quote 82 yr. old Meadows of Dan fiddler Lawrence Bolt on the origin of the title:

Through this country here, they'd go from house to house almost - have a dance at one house, then go off to the next one the following night and all such as that. The week before Christmas and the week after, that's when the big time was. About a two-week period, usually winding up about New Year. I wasn't into any of this, but used to laugh about it. They'd play a tune called BREAKIN' UP CHRISTMAS, that was the last dance they'd have on Christmas, they'd have Wallace Spanger play BREAKIN' UP CHRISTMAS. There's an old feller by the name of Bozwell, he'd cry every time.

Mike Yates (2002) says that the tune is a Galax, Va., area tune, traditionally only played at dances held on January 6th, the date of 'old Christmas' (see note for "Old Christmas Morning (1)").

There are verses associated with the tune, which go:

Hoo-ray Jake and Hoo-ray John,
Breakin' Up Christmas all night long.

Way back yonder a long time ago
The old folks danced the do-si-do

Way down yonder alongside the creek
I seen Santy Claus washin' his feet.

Santa Claus come, done and gone,
Breaking up Chrismas right along.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - the Fuzzy Mountain String Band (N.C.) [Brody]; Tommy Jarrell (Mt. Airy, N.C.) [Milliner & Koken].

Printed sources : - Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 55. Clare Milliner & Walk Koken (Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes), 2011; pp. 76-77.

Recorded sources : - County 713, Tommy Jarrell. County 723, Cockerham, Jarrell and Jenkins- "Back Home in the Blue Ridge." County 790, Leftwich & Higginbotham - "No One to Bring Home Tonight" (1984). County CD 2702, "Tommy & Fred." Davis Unlimited 33002, Norman Edmonds (southwest Va.). Field Recorders Collective FRC 212, "Tommy Jarrell, vol. 2" (2009). Front Hall 017, Micheal and McCreesh- "Dance, Like a Wave of the Sea" (1978) {learned from Tommy Jarrell}. Kicking Mule 213, Fred Cockerham- "Southern Clawhammer Banjo." Rounder 0057, The Kimble Family- "Old Originals, Vol. I." Rounder 0035, The Fuzzy Mountain String Band- "Summer Oaks and Porch" (1973. Learned from Tommy Jarrell, Mt. Airy, N.C.). Rounder 0192, John McCutcheon- "Winter Solstice" (1984).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear fiddler Tommy Jarrell's 1973 recording at Slippery Hill [2]
Hear Benton Flippen and the Smokey Mountain Boys 2004 concert recording at Slippery Hill [3]



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