Devil in the Strawsack

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DEVIL IN THE STRAWSTACK. Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, southwest Virginia, North Carolina. G Major (Jarrell): G Minor (Songer). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Jarrell): AABB (Songer). Learned by Mt. Airy, N.C., fiddler Tommy Jarrell from Zack Payne (or Paine), fiddler, fifer and Civil War veteran who lived near Lambsburg, Va., and who died around 1930. Jarrell called this one of the "Civil War tunes" he learned from Payne. It was one of the few tunes he rendered in standard tuning. Tom Carter and Hal Cannon recorded Jarrell playing it in his home in North Carolina in 1971. On the tape Jarrell introduces the tune:

I learned ... this one I'm going to play from old Zek Paine. He was a Civil War veteran. He set them fingers down on them strings and he was just as clear as a bell and that bow was just as smooth as a butterfly. No! Hell! He could use a fiddle bow any way he wanted to.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 60.

Recorded sources: County 756, Tommy Jarrell – "Sail Away Ladies" (1976). Marimac 9031, Pete Sutherland (Vt.) – "Eight Miles From Town" (set in the key of G Minor).

See also listing at Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index [1].




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