Annotation:Chicken Reel (1)

Find traditional instrumental music

X:1 T:Chicken Reel [1] N:From the playing of fiddler Arthur-Joseph (A.J.) Boulay (1883-1948), N:who was born in New Hampshire, but who spent much of his life in Quebec. M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel N:Play ABABC ABAC ABABC A D:Victor 216529-B (78 RPM), A.J. Boulay (1928) D: Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:D P:A e2-|fdAF D-F A2|AAB-A A2e2-|fdAF D-F A2|1Acd-c d2:|2Acd-c d4|| P:B |:fa-af d2fd|A-dfd =c(3B/c/B/ A2|fa-af d2 fd|1Acd-c d4:|2Acd-c d2|| P:C e-a-af e-gfe|e-a-af e2 fe|dd'-d'b- a2ba|dd'-d'b- a2ab| a^gab c'ba=g|f2 f2-f2 e2|dcde fedf|e2[c2e2][B2e2][A2e2]| e-a-af e-gfe|e-a-af e2 fe|dd'-d'b- a2ba|dd'-d'b- a2 (3abc'| .d'2.d'2.a2.a2|.b2.b2.f2z2|(=f2^f2) (=f2^f2)|z2 A2d2z2:|

CHICKEN REEL [1]. AKA - "Performer's Buck." American, Reel (cut time). USA, Widely known. D Major. Standard or ADae tunings (fiddle). AABB (Brody, Ford, Phillips, Ruth, Spadaro, Sweet, Thede): AABBC (Bayard {Ireland}): AABBAACC (Krassen {Higgins}): AABBCDDAABBC'C' (Krassen {Summers}). "Chicken Reel" was composed by nineteen-year-old Joseph M. Daly (1891-1968) as a piano composition, and published in Boston in 1910. It translated well to the fiddle (once moved to the key of 'D' from Daly's original key of 'C') and became a popular fiddler's piece. The long glissando followed by quick eight notes is imitative of the jerky movements of the fowl. Daly may have either adopted an existing folk melody or "composed" it from folk strains (Fuld, 1966, 1971). It was characterized as a "Performer's Buck" (i.e. buck dance). Regarding those folk strains, Bayard (1981) vaguely states that the tune may have been of Scottish or Irish in origin, and makes general reference to tunes in O'Neill without citing them. Though the tune is usually played in two parts several fiddlers have added variations. Miles Krassen states Indiana fiddler John Summers, whose roots were in the northern (US) tradition, had B and C parts which were probably composed by him and identifies the latter as a strain commonly found in hornpipes. Bayard collected another 'C' part from southwestern Pa. fiddler Walter Ireland and generally found the versions from that area of the country had little of the pronounced sliding that accompany the tune in the South. The melody was in the repertoire of Arizona fiddler Kenner C. Kartchner since the early 20th century and Bronner (1987) notes it was commonly played for dances in New York state at that time (often in combination with the tune "Black Cat"). It was also known to mid-20th century Pa. dance fiddler Harry Daddario (Buffalo Valley, Pa.) and was in the repertiore of African-American fiddler Cuje Bertram (Cumberland Plateau region, Ky.), recorded by him on a 1970 home recording, made for his family. The tune was recorded in the field from Ozark Mountain fiddlers by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph for the Library of Congress in the early 1940's. Bronner (1987) states that the tune was a favorite in New York because of its instant recognizability and by the fact that it was easily used in combination with other tunes for variety or added length for dance sets. Beside dance band sources, the tune was used by martial bands in Pennsylvania and brass bands in central New York. Melodic material from the first strain appears in the first parts of the Canadian "Reel Lindbergh" and the Arkansas "Searcy County Rag." Fiddler A.J. Boulay recorded "Chicken Reel" in 1928 in Montreal, playing the seldom-heard cakewalk-like third part.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Charlie Higgins (Grayson County, Va.) [Krassen]; John Summers (Indiana) [Krassen]; George Unger (Oklahoma County, Oklahoma) [Thede]; Hornellsville Hillbillies (New York State) [Bronner]; Walter Ireland, Hogg, Amasiah Thomas, Marion Yoders (southwestern Pa.) [Bayard].

Printed sources : - Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 327A-D, pp. 292-293. Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 66. Bronner (Old-Time Music Makers of New York State), 1987; No. 21, p. 91. Cazden (Dances from Woodland), 1945; p. 21. Cazden (Folk Songs of the Catskills), 1955; p. 37. Stephen F. Davis (Devil's Box), vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 1990; p. 17. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; p. 41. Krassen (Masters of Old Time Fiddling), 1983; pp. 39-40 and 133-136. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 48. Ruth (Pioneer Western Folk Tunes), 1948; No. 117, p. 39. Spadaro (10 Cents a Dance), 1980; p. 13. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p. 66. Thede (The Fiddle Book), 1967; p. 116.

Recorded sources : - American Heritage 19A, Loyd Wanzer- "Plain and Fancy Fiddlin.'" Champion 15921 (78 RPM), Doc Roberts (1930). County 538, Charlie Monroe- "On the Noonday Jamboree." Decca 5062 (78 RPM), Rustic Revelers (1934, backed with "Knickerbocker Reel"). Document DOCD 8043, "Doc Roberts vol. 2" (1999). Edison 50653 (78 RPM), Joseph Samuels (appears as 2nd tune of "Devil's Dream Medley"). Folkways FA 2381, "The Hammered Dulcimer Played by Chet Parker" (1966). Gennett 7110 (78 RPM), Doc Roberts. Gennett (78 RPM), Tweedy Brothers (W.Va., 1924). Kicking Mule 206, The Cental Park Sheiks- "Kicking Mule's Flat Picking Guitar Festival." Marimac 9017, Vesta Johnson (Mo.) - "Down Home Rag." Point Records P-229, J.O. La Madeleine - "Canadian Jigs and Reels." Rounder 0194, John W. Summers - "Indiana Fiddler" (1984). String 801, The Tune Wranglers- "Beer Parlor Jive." Supertone 9659 (78 RPM), Fiddlin' Jim Burke (1930. 'Jim Burke' is a pseudonym for Doc Roberts on the Supertone label).Victor 216529-B (78 RPM), A.J. Boulay (1928).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear Doc Roberts' 1930 recording on [2] and at Slippery Hill [3]

Back to Chicken Reel (1)

(0 votes)