Keller's Waltz

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KELLER'S WALTZ. AKA and see "Brown Kelly Waltz," "Brown's Kelly Waltz," "Kelly Waltz," "Kellytown Waltz." Old-Time, Waltz. USA; Texas, Oklahoma. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABCC (Christeson): ABCDD' (Phillips). A popular waltz among western-style fiddle players in the United States. It was apparently originally named after a fiddler named Keller, though the name has come down in oral tradition as Kelly, and the "Kelly Waltz" is the title by which it is perhaps best-known today. Regionally influential Texas fiddler Matt Brown, who died in 1915, added a part starting on the IV chord, and his variant of the tune is referred to as the "Brown Kelly Waltz." R.P. Christeson notes: "[His source] Uncle Joe Morrow claimed he knew Keller, who for a time was a fiddler for a travelling medicine wagon. According to Mr. Morrow, Keller was in debt to a saloon in Mangum, Oklahoma, and offered to compose a waltz and play it for customers to settle the bill. The saloonkeeper agreed, and this purportedly is the waltz Keller composed." Texas fiddler Bryant Houston, reputedly the composer of "Lime Rock," is also said by some to have composed this melody. The tune was recorded in 1928 by Texas barber and fiddler Oscar Harper (an associate of Prince Albert Hunt) for Okeh Records (Wolfe, 1997). Woody Guthrie played a tune (in the key of 'D') called the "Cowboy Waltz," which was a simplification of the "Kelly Waltz" melody.

Source for notated version: Uncle Joe Morrow (Texas) [Christeson].

Printed sources: R.P. Christeson (Old Time Fiddlers Repertory, vol. 1), 1973; p. 197. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 2), 1995; pp. 272-273 (appears as "Kelly Waltz").

Recorded sources: Victor 40334 (78 RPM), Eck Robertson (Texas) {1929}.

See also listing at:
Hear the waltz at Slippery Hill [1]




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