Annotation:Coleman's March (1)

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X:2 T:Coleman's March [1] M:C L:1/8 R:March S:Grey Larson N:ABC's from a transcription by John Lamancusa, by permission. See Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:D DEFA || d4 d4 | (c2 c)d cBAc | (B2 B)c dc B2 | (A4 A)GFG | (AB) d2 (c2 c)A | BcBA FE D2 | (E2 D)F GF TE2 |1 D2 DE DEFA :|2 D2 DF ABAG || |: F4 F4 | G4 G4 | (A2 A)B AFDF | (E4 E2) FG | AB d2 (c2 c)A | BcBA FE D2 | (E2 E)F GF TE2 |1 D2 DF ABAG :|2 D8 ||

COLEMAN'S MARCH [1]. AKA - "Joe Coleman's March." AKA and see "Coal Creek March." American, March (cut time). USA, south-central Kentucky. D Major. Standard or DDad tuning (fiddle). AA'BB: AA'BB' (Fiddler Magazine). D. K. Wilgus, in his article "The Hanged Fiddler Legend in Anglo-American Tradition," has extensively researched this tune and legend, a variant of the hanged-fiddler legend of "MacPherson's Farewell." Joe Coleman, a shoemaker, was accused of stabbing his wife to death near the town of Slate Fork, Adair County, Kentucky, as recorded in the Burkesville Herald Almanac for 1899. Convicted on circumstantial evidence and the testimony of his sister-in-law who was living with them at the time, Coleman was tried in nearby Cumberland County and sentenced to death. While being driven to the place of execution in a two-wheeled ox cart, Coleman sat on his coffin and played a tune that has come down as "Coleman's March." Coleman protested his innocence to the last, and there several stories exist of a man confessing, or of "an old lady confessing on her death-bed she had killed Coleman's wife." One account (in the Burkesville Almanac) gives that Coleman's relatives quickly recovered the body, somehow managed to revive him and put him on a steamboat down the Cumberland River to Nashville, from which point he disappeared into the West. Also attached to the tune is the legend that before Coleman was hanged he offered his fiddle to anyone who could play the tune as well as he, and at least one source identified a Kentucky fiddler named Franz Prewitt as the recipient. Prewitt's descendants remembered him as having been indeed a fine fiddler, although they did not remember any tales connected with his receiving a fiddle. Bruce Greene introduced the tune to old-time "revival" fiddlers in the 1970's, according to Seattle old-time music expert Kerry Blech who gives that Greene had the tune from an old Kentucky fiddler by the name of Gene Conner, who was recorded in January 1962 in Bowling Green, KY, probably by Lynwood Montell and Wilgus. Connor and played the tune in standard tuning, although Greene and Vermont fiddler Pete Sutherland play it in cross tuning (DDad). Sutherland's version has been particularly influential in popularizing the tune in modern times. Greene told Blech the tune was played both ways in western Kentucky. "Coal Creek March" is a related melody.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - popularized by Pete Sutherland (Vt.) [Phillips].

Printed sources : - Fiddler Magazine, vol. 8, No. 3, Summer, 2001; p. 24. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 2), 1995; p. 32.

Recorded sources : - BGR 1003, Don Pedi - "Mountain Magic: Fiddle Favorites for (Mountain) Dulcimer" (1990). Mary Custy & Eoin O'Neill - "With a lot of help from their friends." Marimac 9031, Pete Sutherland - "Eight Miles from Town" (1982).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]

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