Davy Davy

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X:1 T:Davy Davy N:From the playing of Jon Bekoff, Jim Burns, Bill Dillof, Paula Bradley, at Black N:Creek, 2008 M:C| L:1/8 F:https://www.slippery-hill.com/recording/davy-davy Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:D f|a2fb a2fb|abaf ed-[df]f|a2 fe dABB|ABdf ed2f| a2fb a2fb|abaf ed-[df]f|af{a}fe dABB|ABdf ed2:| |:[de]-|[d2f2]fg {e}[d2f2]fe|defd ed2e|fafe dABB|ABd[df] ed2e-| [df][dg][df][de] [df][dg][df][de]|defd ed2e|fafe dABB|ABd[df] ed2:||



DAVY, DAVY. AKA - "Davy." AKA and see "Going Down the River," "Sailing down the River," "Paddy won't You Drink some Cider?," "Paddy Won't You Drink Some Good Old Cider." American, Song and Breakdown. A version of "Goin' Down the River," by Tennessee's Perry County based Weems String Band, one of whose (brother Jess) members played the cello. It was one of only two sides they commercially recorded. Richard Nevins (in R. Crumb's Heroes of Blues, Jazz and Country, 2006) remarks on the juxtaposition of the back-country band's primitive, archaic sound and the sophisticated techniques of position playing by the fiddlers on the record (one fiddle plays in 3rd, and one in 5th position), a contrast that he finds at the heart of the band's appeal. Unfortunately, the lyrics are a product of the blatantly racist culture prevalent in areas of the United States at the time, and inappropriate for performance today:
Weems String Band

A nought is a nought and a one is a finger,
Why can't a white man dance like a N.....?
He can't do the quickstep, he tends for to linger,
That's why he can't dance like a N.....

The words were quickly dashed off by the Weems brothers after they arrived in Memphis for their 1928 recording session for Columbia Records [1]. Their repertoire was instrumental tunes, but Columbia wanted lyrics and vocals, believing the recordings would sell better. The band quickly came up with a few couplets which Columbia found met their requirements, also singing:

Davy, Davy, where is Davy,
Down in the henhouse eating up the gravy;
Davy, Davy, where is Davy,
Down in the chicken-yard, sick on the gravy.

The simple melody has also attracted other floating verses. Despite its simple and repetitive melody and slapdash lyrics, musicologist Charles Wolfe remarked [2] the sole recording session produced "what many critics deem the finest two string band sides ever recorded, "Davy Davy" and "Green Back Dollar"'.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - New Lost City Ramblers (Old Time String Band Songbook), 1964.

Recorded sources : - Columbia 15300 (78 RPM), Weems String Band (1928, backed with "Greenback Dollar"). County Records - Weems String Band - "Echoes of the Ozarks, vol. 3" (1970). County Records, "Weems String Band." County Records 3511, Weems String Band et al. - "Rural String Bands of Tennessee 1927-1930." Rounder Records 0132, Bob Carlin - "Fiddle Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo" (1980. Learned from Ithica, N.Y., revival musicians Judy Hyman and Jeff Claus).

See also listing at :
Hear the Weems String Band recording at youtube.com [1]



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  1. as told by George Lineberry, spouse of a grand-niece of one of the original members.
  2. Charles K. Wolfe, Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net