Annotation:Hamilton Iron Works

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X:1 T:Hamilton Ironworks N:From the playing of Missouri fiddler Roy Wooliver, from a N:c. 1950's field recording by John Hartford M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel Q:"Quick" D: Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:D A,2DD A,2DD|ABAF ED2F|ABde fdec|dBAF ED3| [D2A2]DD A,2DD|ABAF ED2F|ABde fdec|dBAF ED3|| ABde fafe|defd edBd|ABde fafe|dBAF ED3| ABde fafe|defd edBd|Ad-d=f- ^fafe|dBAF ED3||

HAMILTON IRON WORKS. AKA - "Hamilton Ironworks". American, Reel. USA, Missouri. D Major/Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Hartford/Devil's Box: AAAABBBBC. According to Missouri fiddler and writer Howard Marshall, John Hartford learned this tune from Missouri fiddlers Gene Goforth and Roy Wooliver in the late 1950's, although it had originally been in Wooliver's repertoire (the latter was Goforth's mentor). "John Harford always felt that Roy Wooliver probably authored this tune," writes Missouri fiddling researcher Howard Marshall, "But the feeling or the culture of fiddlers was that fiddlers who made up tunes generally attributed them to someone else, usually older fiddlers than themselves. So Wooliver never owned up to having composed it." Goforth himself said that he and brother Cecil Goforth, along with Clifford Hawthorne, learned it from Wooliver in the 1950's, but that the tune never spread from beyond their local region. John Hartford himself explained:

Gene and Cecil Goforth, Clifford Hawthorne and us learned this from Roy Wooliver in the 1950's and it never seemed to spread out of our area. We never figured out if Roy learned it somewhere or made it up himself. Roy worked for Cousin Emmy one time on KNOX but she fired him because he wouldn't wear socks. He was in the pen twice for stealing the same watch (so the story went). The warden at Jeff City, MO., loved fiddle music and was always glad to see Roy come and he would check him out on weekends and carry him around to fiddler's contests and then would lock him up during the week. Roy always played on borrowed instruments and made his rounds through the country side staying with a family for a week sleeping in the barn, cutting a little wood and playing for some dances[1].

For some time no one knew where the Hamilton Iron Works had been located, although Marshall believed it would have been in the upper eastern Ozarks and south or southwest of St. Louis. Drew Beisswenger (2008) finds that the Hamilton Iron Works was located near Sullivan, Missouri, in the present location of Meramec State Park, and dated to the 1880's. See also the similar "Piper's Lass (The)" in Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883). Hartford thought the tune was a distant cousin to "Cumberland Gap."

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - John Hartford [Phillips]; Cecil Goforth [Beisswenger & McCann].

Printed sources : - Beisswenger & McCann (Ozark Fiddle Music), 2008; p. 186. Stephen F. Davis (Devil's Box), vol. 26, No. 4, Winter 1992; p. 36. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 107.

Recorded sources : - Rounder CD-0388, Gene Goforth - "Emminence Breakdown" (1997). Rounder 0442, John Hartford - "Hamilton Ironworks" (2001). Rounder CD 0435, Cecil Goforth - "Fiddle Music of the Ozarks, vol. 1" (1999).

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  1. John Hartford, "Hamilton Iron Works," Devil's Box, vol. 26, No. 4, Winter 1992, p. 36.