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X:1 T:Groundhog N:From the playing of fiddler Fred Roe with Jack Reedy and His N:Walker Mountain String Band M:C| L:1/8 Q:"Quick" R:Reel and Song D: D:Brunswick 221 (78 RPM), Jack Reedy and His Walker Mountain String Band (1928) K:A ^G2-|A2A2G2G2|ABAG E3c|e2ec d2d2|efed B3d| cBAc B2G2|ABAG E4|E4 F2G2|A6:|]

GROUNDHOG. American, Reel and Song (whole or cut time). USA; North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. A well-known Appalachian folk song, nursery and fun song, with instrumental versions played on a variety of instruments. The Library of Congress recorded fourteen versions of the melody (sung and played) before 1940. Fiddler Marion Reece (1874-1939), of Zionville, western North Carolina, even recorded an instrumental version playing the fife, on the instrument his forbearers played[1]. Brown says, "Its appearance in the Ozarks is doubtless due to immigration from Kentucky. It has not been found in the northern states, nor is it a Negro song." The first two verses in Warner's Traditional American Folk Songs go:

Two in a stump and one in a log
Two in a stump and one in a log,
Don't I wish I had a dog

Yonder comes Sal with a great long pole,
Yonder comes Sal with a great long pole,
To punch that groundhog out of his hole,
Groundhog! (Warner)

Jack Reedy and His Walker Mountain String Band recorded "Groundhog" for Brunswick Records in February, 1928, at Ashland, Kentucky. The group consisted of fiddler Fred Roe, steel guitarist Frank Wilson, banjo player Jack Reedy, guitarists Henry Roe and Walter "Sparkplug" Hughes, and unidentified member.

Shoulder up your guns and call out your dog,
Shoulder up your guns and whistle up your dogs;
Goin' up the holler for to catch a groundhog,

Yonder come Sally with a ten-foot pole,
Run here Sally with a ten-foot pole;
Get this groundhog out of his hole,

Come here boys, come here quick,
Come here boys, come here quick;
This old groundhog thinks he's sick

Yonder come Molly with a smile and a grin,
Yonder come Molly with a smile and a grin;
Groundhog gravy all over her chin,

Yonder comes Jane, walkin' on a cane,
Yonder comes Betty, walkin' on a cane;
Before she'd eat those ground hog brains,

Come here boys, come here quick,
Come here boys, come here quick;
This old groundhog plenty slick,

There's old Molly with a ten-foot pole,
Here comes Molly with a ten-foot pole;
We'll get this ground hog out of his hole,

Jack Reedy, 1933, at the White Top Folk Festival.

Reedy (whose given name was Weldon, not 'Jack'), later recorded in 1930 as Jack Reedy & His River Boys, with many of the same personnel, and also recorded with the Hill Billies and with the Smyth County Ramblers[2]. Reedy was from Smyth County, Virginia, and was associated with central Blue Ridge musicians, including H.M. Barnes' Blue Ridge Ramblers, and Frank and Ed Blevins, in addition to the Hill Billies[3]. His finger-picked banjo style predated the popular bluegrass style by fifteen years, and he kept playing longer than many early country musicians, trying to sustain himself as a professional musician. Like many, he needed a day job to make ends meet, and he worked off an on in furniture factories. Reedy toured vaudeville circuits in the 1930's, and did radio work in Bristol, Tenn., and Bluefield, W.Va., and died of a heart attack in the latter town[4].

Marshall Wyatt researched Reedy for booklet notes to the Old Hat Enterprises CD "Music from the Lost Provinces" (1997), and remarked:

Jack Reedy joined forces with Frank and Edd Blevins soon after the brothers moved to Smyth County in 1929, forming a band that would last many years, though regrettably the trio never made records together. In 1933 they won top honors at the White Top Folk Festival, and performed in a special program for visiting First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, amidst a flood of publicity Paramount Newsreel footage, now lost, captured the Reedy-Blevins Band performing Johnson's Old Gray Mule and Cluck Old Hen as Mrs Roosevelt looked on. The group expanded in 1934 with the addition of guitarist Corwin Matthews, dubbing themselves the Southern Buccaneers. Led by Frank Blevins, the Southern Buccaneers reigned as the foremost stringband in southwest Virginia throughout the remaining 1930s, displaying a diversity that included popular country songs, harmony vocals, yodeling, dancing and comedy. But the Buccaneers never forgot their musical roots, and each show also featured a set of old-time mountain fiddle tunes.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - learned by Frank Proffitt (North Carolina) from his father [Warner].

Printed sources : - Warner (Traditional American Folk Songs), 1984; pp. 296-297.

Recorded sources : - Brunswick 332 (78 RPM), Jack Reedy and His Walker Mountain String Band (1928). County Records 504, Jack Reedy & His Walker Mountain String Band - "A Collection of Mountain Songs" (1965. Various artists). County 741, Jarrell, Cockerham & Jenkins - "Stay All Night" (1973). Flying Fish 102, New Lost City Ramblers - "Twenty Years/Concert Performances" (1978). Folkways FA 2360, Frank Proffitt. Heritage 054, Tommy Jarrell - "Brandywine 83: Music of French America" (1984). Library of Congress AFS 00837 A02, Marion Rees [sic] (1936). Marimac 9000, Dan Gellert & Shoofly - "Forked Deer" (1986). New World NW 226, Marion Reese - "That's My Rabbit, My Dog Caught it: Traditional Southern Instrumental Styles" (1978. Various artists). Rounder Cd0278, Mike Seegar - "Solo-Old Time Country Music" (1991). The Whistlepigs - "Out of Their Hole."

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
See the Ballad Index entry for "Ground Hog" [2]
Hear Jack Reedy and His Walker Mountain String Band's 1928 recording at Slippery Hill [3] and on [4]
Hear Tommy Jarrell's 1973 recording at Slippery Hill [5]
Hear Marion Reece's 1936 Library of Congress recording at Slippery Hill [6]

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  1. The fife was a prominent military instrument in the 19th century, but gradually disappeared from general community use in the first half of the 20th century.
  2. Tony Russell & Bob Pinson, Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942, p. 734.
  3. Marty Magee, Traditional Musicians of the Central Blue Ridge, 2016, p. 142.
  4. ibid