Gandy Dancer's Reel

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GANDY DANCER'S REEL. New England, Reel. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Gandy dancers performed necessary repair functions for railroads, such as replacing worn ties, tamping ballast between ties, and aligning and re-aligning rails. The implements they used-picks, shovels, forks and lining bars-- were often made by the Gandy Manufacturing Company of Chicago Illinois. Since manipulating heavy rails often took a coordinated effort by a team of men, songs or hollers helped to maintain a rhythm and give cues for effort. Often the 'push' on a rail came at the end of a sung line, with the men rising and lifting as one, leading to the term 'dancing'.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Miller & Perron (New England Fiddlers Repertoire), 1983; No. 142.

Recorded sources:




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