John Henry (1)

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X:1 T:John Henry N:From the playing of Welzie Chrisawn (Burnsville, Yancey County, N:northwestern N.C.), recorded in the field in 1989 by Bruce Greene. M:C L:1/8 D:https://dla.acaweb.org/digital/collection/berea/id/4084/rec/42 D:https://soundarchives.berea.edu/items/show/1410 Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:C [C4G4]A2|[G2c2][G4c4]ed|[G4c4]AG3|A2G2-G2 ED|[M:3/2]C6 [C4G4]A2| [M:C][G2c2][G4c4]ed|[G3c43]AG2cA|[M:3/2]G6 G4A2|[M:C][G2c2][G4c4]ed| [G4c4]AG3|A2G2-G2 ED|C4 C3E|A2G2-G2ED| C2A,>A, (G,A,C2)|[M:3/2]+slide+E4 E3-D C3E|[M:C]A2G2-G2ED|C2A,2 (G,A,C2)| [M:3/2]C6C C3[GA]-|[M:C][A2A2]G2-G2 E-D|C2A,-C (G,A,)C2|[M:3/2]+slide+E4 E3-D C3E| [M:C]A2G2-G2ED|C2A,2 (G,A,C2)|[M:3/2]C6||



JOHN HENRY [1]. American, Reel (cut time). USA; western North Carolina & Virginia. A Mixolydian. AEae tuning (Tommy Jarrell) or Standard (Van Kidwell) {fiddle}. AABB. The tune, based on the folksong "John Henry", is widespread throughout the upland south region, but has been particularly popular with Galax, Virginia/Mt. Airy, N.C., musicians (so much so, that it is thought of as a 'regional tune'). The melody has been rendered in numerous variations, some more blues tinged or modal that others, with various tempos. Fiddle tunes also vary. Tennessee fiddler Joe Birchfield play it in standard fiddle tuning, down a step (FCgd), Tommy Jarrell and James Carse (Ky.) played it in AEae, while African-American fiddler Joe Thompson played a "John Henry" in GDgd tuning, similar to Kyle Creed and Fred Cockerham's version. North Georia fiddler Earl Johnson recorded an irregular version of the tune under the title "John Henry Blues."


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Tommy Jarrell (Mt. Airy, N.C.) [Milliner & Koken]; Van Kidwell [Milliner & Koken].

Printed sources : - Milliner & Koken (Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes), 2011; pp. 342-343.

Recorded sources : - Copper Creek CCCD 0193, Bill and Libby Hicks - "South of Nowhere." Fretless FR 160, The Double Decker String Band - "Sentimental Songs and Old Time Melodies" (1981. Learned from the Williamson Brothers and Curry, and the Skillet Lickers). Heritage 044, Tommy Jarrell - "Joke on the Puppy" (1992). Rounder CD0421, Bruce Molsky - "Big Hoedown" (1997. Learned from Fred Cockerham of Low Gap, North Carolina).

See also listing at :
Hear Tommy Jarrell's version at Slippery Hill [1] Hear W.L. Gregory and Clyde Davenport (Wayne County, Ky.) 1975 field recording at Berea Digital Content [2]



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