Annotation:Forty Drops (2)

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X:1 T:Forty Drops [2] N:From the playing of African-American fiddlers Andrew (1869-1955) N:and son Jim (1898-1950) Baxter (Gordon County, northwest Georgia) M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel D: D:Victor V-38002B, Andrew & Jim Baxter (1928). D:Andrew & Jim Baxter - "Black Fiddlers 1929-1970" Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:F (3cde|f2 f2- fdA2|c2A2 c4|fgag fd3|c2cA- B3d| edee- edcA-|c2c2 A-Bd2-|dAdd- dc2A-|cdcA c2cc| z2f2-fecc|cdcA c3d-|dcAA- A2A((3B/A/G/) |F2D2D4| FDFF- FG2G|AGF2 C3C|D2D2 AC3|F6|| A,2-|C8|(A,CB,2) A,4-|A,2F2G3F|A8| C8|(A,CB,2) (A,4|[G,4G4]) [AA]G3|c6A,2-| C8|(A,CB,2) A,4-|A,2F2G3F|+slide+[A3A3]G [A4A4]| z2 FG- GF [G2A2]-|[A2A2]F2 C4|CDCD- DEC2|F8|| P:A' f-|ffff fdcA|c2c2d3c |c2f2- fdcA|c2c2B3[^de]-| [ee]g3 ggge|+slide+[ee][e2e2]+slide+[ee]- [ee]dcA|dcdd- dc2d-|dcAA- A4 |z2f2-fecc|cdcA c3d-|dcAA- A2A((3B/A/G/) |F2D2D4| FDFF- FG2G|AGF2 C3C|D2D2 AC3|F6||

Andrew Baxter (l), Jim Baxter (r) and unknown banjolin player (m).
FORTY DROPS [2]. American, Country Rag (cut time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Milliner & Koken), AA'AA'BB'BB' (Philips). AKA "Forty Drops of Rye", as recorded in 1928 in the 78 RPM era by African-American fiddler Andrew Baxter (1869-1955) of the Gordon County, northwest Georgia, duo The Baxters (not brothers: Andrew's son James (Jim, 1898-1950) played the guitar). The Striping Brothers' "Forty Drops (3)", recorded in 1936, is similar in character (although melodically different) and was categorized as a 'Foxtrot' by Decca Records.

Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff, in their book Out of sight: the rise of African American popular music, 1889-1895, discuss the origins of "Forty Drops" and conclude this "very early folk rag" came from African-American string band tradition prior to the mid-1890's. It was mentioned in the newspaper the Levenworth Herald in 1894, when editor B.K. Bruce Jr. "identified it with the irrepressible hammerings of eastern Kansas' black society girl pianists" (p. 449). It was not published, however, until 1898, in an arrangement for guitar and mandolin (no composer is credited, only the arrangers). Both the Baxters and the Striplings may both have played simplified versions of the original rag.

The Baxters associated 'forty drops' with alcohol, as their spoken introduction reveals:

"Now this is the 'Forty Drops'.
"Forty drops of what?"
"Forty drops of rye!"
"Who's gonna carry me home when the dance is over? 'Cause I'm gettin' about full of this rye!"

However, Abbott and Seroff note that 'forty drops' more likely referred to the drug laudanum or morphine, "popular recreational drugs of the 1890's, typically dispensed in drops."

Additional notes

Recorded sources : - Victor V-38002B, Andrew & Jim Baxter (1928).

See also listing at :

Hear the Baxters' 1928 recording on Slippery Hill [1]

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