Devilish Mary

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DEVILISH MARY. Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, Missouri. A Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Beisswenger & McCann): AA'BB' (Thede). Actually, there are several versions of this tune in circulation, some derived from the air to a song called "Devilish Mary," and some rather distances. Modes for the tunes range from minor to mixolydian. See the related Illinois-collected "Jump in the Well, My Pretty Little Miss." An early recorded version of "Devilish Mary" was by the north Georgia duo of Gid Tanner and Riley Puckett in 1924. Thede's source gave the following lyric (sung to the first strain only):

The prettiest girl I ever saw
They called her Devilish Mary,
She says she's mine, and that's just fine,
And now we're going to marry.

We hadn't been married about six months
She got mean as the devil;
Ever' time I looked cross-eyed,
She'd hit me in the head with a shovel.

Source for notated version: Jubal Anderson (Pottawatomie County, Missour) [Thede]. Glenn Rickman (1901-1982, Hurley, Missouri), the first tune he learned to play [Beisswenger & McCann].

Printed sources: Beisswenger & McCann (Ozark Fiddle Music), 2008; p. 110. Thede (The Fiddle Book), 196, p. 101.

Recorded sources: Copper Creek CCCD-0196, Tom, Brad & Alice - "We'll Die in the Pig Pen Fighting."

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

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