Johnny the Blacksmith

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JOHNNY THE BLACKSMITH. Bluegrass, Breakdown. USA. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Composed by bluegrass fiddle great Kenny Baker (1926-2011), who played with Bill Monroe's band in 1957. Fiddler and bluegrass historian Jim Moss was in Baker's living room, being tutored by the master fiddler in the finer points of "Johnny the Blacksmith," when Baker reflected that the first time he understood the impact of his tunes on the bluegrass scene was after he had composed and recorded the reel. "I was at a festival," remembered Baker, "and noticed that a lot of people where playing it. All over the grounds I could hear this tune being played...There is not much to that tune, but it just caught on."

Source for notated version: Kenny Baker [Phillips, Silberberg].

Printed sources: Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 149. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 1, 1994; p. 126. Silberberg (93 Fiddle Tunes I Didn't Learn at the Tractor Tavern), p. 23.

Recorded sources: County 730, Kenny Baker- "Baker's Dozen" (1971). Front Hall 010, Fennigs All Stars- "The Hammered Dulcimer Strikes Again" (1977).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear the reel played by Kentucky fiddler Buddy Thomas in a 1973 recording at Berea Digital Content [2]




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