Falls of Richmond

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FALLS OF RICHMOND. Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, West Virginia. A Aeolian or Dorian ('A'and 'B' parts) & A Major ('C' & 'D' parts). AEae (Brody, Phillips) or ADae tunings (Edden Hammons, Kuntz) {fiddle}. AABCB (Brody): AABBCCDDBB (Kuntz, Phillips, Songer). "Falls of Richmond" has been a popular piece among old-time revival musicians but its original associations apparently were solely with the Hammonds family of West Virginia. It is said that members of the family trace the tune back to "Old Uncle Pete" Hammons, born in 1845. Burl Hammonds called the tune "Falls of Richmond," in the plural. The title refers to the small waterfalls, or rapids, on the James River at Richmond, rather than, as some have supposed, the 1865 capitulation (or "fall") of Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy during the American Civil War (Allan Jabbour points out Richmond 'fell' not only in the Civil War, but in the Revolutionary War as well). The falls of the James mark the farthest navigable point on the river, leading to the development of Richmond. Phillips (1994) and Songer (1997) note the fourth part is credited to Marty Somberg of Dexter, Michigan.

Source for notated version: Ruthie Dornfeld (Seattle) [Phillips]; Edden Hammons (1874-1955, Pocahontas County, W.Va.) [Milliner & Koken].

Printed sources: Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 101. Milliner & Koken (Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes), 2011; pp. 190-191. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 1, 1994; p. 82. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 75.

Recorded sources: Bay 217, Any Old Time - "Ladies Choice." County 2730, Rafe Stefanini - "Glory on the Big String." PearlMae Muisc 004-2, Jim Taylor - "The Civil War Collection" (1996). Rounder 0035, Fuzzy Mountain String Band- "Summer Oaks and Porch" (1973. Learned from Burl Hammons, Marlinton, W.Va.). Rounder 0128, The Backwoods Band - "Jes' Fine" (1980. Version learned from Marty Somberg). Rounder 0132, Bob Carlin - "Fiddle Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo" (1980. Learned from the Fuzzy Mountain String Band's 1973 recording). West Virginia University Press, CD SA-1, "Edden Hammons Collection I" (1999). Reed Island Rounders - "Goin' Home" (2002).

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




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