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JULIANNE FLANAGAN. AKA and see "Cotton Baggin'." "Old Sharon," "Sharon," "Shear 'Em," "Shear the Sheep Bobbie," "Shear My Sheep Stephen." Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, north Georgia. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Recorded by Lowe Stokes and Riley Puckett (North Ga.) for Columbia in 1930, but the side (222 W151057) was not issued. It was recorded by one of Stokes' band, The Skillet Lickers, under the title "Cotton Baggin'", although that title may have been original with them. Kerry Blech finds a tune by the name of "Old Sharon," recorded by Sidney Robertson in 1936 for the Library of Congress from the playing of a Ligonier, (western) Pennsylvania, fiddler named Harry "Tink" Queer, is a close cognate. Fiddler Queer was one of Prof. Samuel Bayard's informants. Blech has also pieced together that another 1936 Library of Congress recording made in Florida by Margaret Valiant of the playing of fiddler Russell "Tiny" Wise (whom Blech thinks may have been the famous bluegrass fiddler "Chubby" Wise) is also a variant, with the title "Sharon." A variant of the latter title called "Shear 'Em" is the one by which the tune is known by older north Florida fiddlers. Gus Meade adds another tune to this family, called "Shear 'Em, a title echoed in "Shear My Sheep Stephen," a tune name that was recorded by the Troy Herald of July 6, 1926, as having been played at a fiddlers' convention at the Pike County (Alabama) Fairgrounds. "Shear the Sheep Bobbie" is another variant of that name. Mark Wilson believes the Tennessee reel "Smoke behind the Clouds" is a melodic relative.
The melody was also used as the vehicle for several songs. The Leake County Revelers song "Old Hat" (actually a version of "Lynchburg Town") is one variant, and Bob Wills' song "Take Me Back To Tulsa" also employs the melody.
Source for notated version: James Bryan (Alabama) [Phillips].
Printed sources: Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 129.
Recorded sources: Rounder 0215, James Bryan - "The First of May."