Hard up Big Kanawha

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X:1 T:Hard up Big Caney T:Hard up Big Kanawha S:Ed Haley (northeast Ky.) M:6/8 L:1/8 B:Devil's Box, vol. 32, No. 1, Spring 1998; p. 39 N:Transcribed by John Hartford Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:A A,3 Ace|f3 fec|f3 fec|ecA BAF| A,3 Ace|f3f fec|f2e dcB|A3-A2|| e3-e2a|c'3 c'2a|e2c e2c|B3-B3| e3-e2a|c'3 c'2a|e2c BcB|A3-A2||



HARD UP BIG KANAWHA. AKA - "Hard up Big Canoy," "Hard up Big Caney." American, March (6/8 time). USA, northeastern Kentucky. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. "Hard up Big Kanawha" was a 6/8 tune in the repertoire of blind northeast Kentucky fiddler Ed Haley, as remembered by people around Portsmouth, Ohio, where Northern and Southern fiddle traditions tended to mix. It was also played by northeast Ky. fiddler Morris Allen (South Shore, Ky.), from whom Roger Cooper learned the tune. Allen himself credited the tune to an older Ky. fiddler named Bob Mays.

Morris's accent when identifying the tune resulted in people hearing the "Big Kanawha" title as "Big Canoy," however, as Cooper explained, the tune was named for the Kanawha River, a large waterway that runs through St. Albans, West Virginia. Rounder Records' Mark Wilson points out that riverboats traffic helped to disseminate tunes regionally along the Ohio River from Charleston, W.Va., to Portsmouth, Ohio, and this was perhaps one such[1].


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - John Hartford [Devil's Box].

Printed sources : - Stephen F. Davis (Devil's Box), vol. 32, No. 1, Spring 1998; p. 39 (appears as "Hard up Big Caney").

Recorded sources : - Rounder CD 0533, Roger Cooper - "Essence of Old Kentucky" (2006).




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  1. Liner notes to Rounder 9533.