Annotation:Kansas City Railroad Blues

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X:1 T:Kansas City Railroad Blues N:From the playing of fiddler George Walburn (1887-1940?) and guitarist N:Emmett Hethcox (1898-1968), of LaGrange, west Georgia. M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel Q:"Quick" D:OKeh 45178 (78 RPM), Walburn & Hethcox (1928) D: D: Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:C [d2e2]-|[e2e2]g2-g2e2|a3a (ag e2)|c4 +slide+[e4e4] |[M:3/2]a2ec- c2 +slide+[e2e2]- [e2e2]ed| [M:C|]cdcA cdcA|c2c2 AGEC-|C(_E- =E2-E)G E2|C6c2-| cdcA cdcA|c2c2 AGEC-|C(_E- =E2-E)G E2|C2A,2 CCD2-| E2G2-G2D2|A,4 D-E3|C8-|C2 z2 z2:|| z2B,4- B,G,|A,8-|A,8|z2(_E=E -E)GA,2|C8| z2B,4- B,G,|A,8-|A,6(_E2|=E3)D A,C|C8| z2G,2A,-C3|{D}E2G4E2|A,4 E4|C8-C6||

KANSAS CITY RAILROAD BLUES. American, Country Blues (cut time). C Major ('A' and 'C' parts) & F Major ('B' part). Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'BA"C. The tune was recorded in 1927 for Okeh Records 45178 (78 RPM) by George Walburn (1887-1940?) and Emmett Heathcox, a fiddle/guitar duo from Atlanta. It was also recorded by Buck Ryan. The piece was likely composed by Walburn. The duo recorded from 1925 to 1928 for OKeh records, then, when they added a banjo player and changed their name to George Walburn's Footscorchers, two sides for Columbia in October, 1931.

Blues researcher Joseph Scott uncovered some information about the duo [1]:

As of 1920, they were both cotton mill workers in LaGrange, Georgia. LaGrange is in Troup County, which is next to Randolph County,Alabama, and is southwest of Atlanta. By 1930, Walburn had moved to Hurricane, Georgia, and was working in a cotton mill there, whereas Hethcox was still in LaGrange, working as a waiter in a cafe. Walburn was born in Ohio on March 25, 1887. He was part of a large extended Walburn family who seem to have moved from Ohio to Alabama to LaGrange, passing (at least some of them) through the border town of Tallapoosa, Georgia on the way. George's father William died in Troup County in 1925; George's wife Mamie died in Troup County in 1934; and our George is probably the same George Walburn who, according to the Georgia Death Index, was 53 years old when he died in Troup County on June 13, 1940.

James Emmett Hethcox was born in Randolph County, AL on Jan. 9, 1898 and died in Troup County, GA on Jan. 16, 1968. According to one of his grandsons, there is a family story that a band that included Emmett once went up against a band that included Emmett's son Larry in a competition in Atlanta connected with WSB. Larry's band won, and Emmett wasn't very pleased with Larry for a while afterwards.

Emmett was a weaver, George was a carder. As of last year, many of 'Emmett's nine children were reportedly still living, in Georgia and Arkansas.

According to Hethcox's daughter, her father not only denied being in a band competition (as described above by Scott) and said that he had "never been in a band in his life."

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 2), 1995; p. 72.

Recorded sources : - OKeh 45178 (78 RPM), Walburn & Hethcox (1928). Voyager 332, Vivian Williams - "Tall Timber: Encore" (2005. Originally LP ca. 1986).

See also listing at :
Hear George Walbur's recording at Slippery Hill [2]

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