Kidd and the Bacon
X:1 T:Kidd and the Bacon N:From the playing of Wallace Thompson (Green N:County, central Kentucky). Recorded in the N:field in June, 1988, by Bruce Green. N:This is the air to a song by Thompson's great grandfather, to N:commemorate an uncollected debt and to mock the person N:who stiffed him. It was sung in the region, and, according to Thompson N:his great grandfather :was hauled into court over the it. Charges were N:dismissed. Wallace says he couldn't play it 'exactly like they played N:it in the old days' and came up with his own version. M:C| L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Slow" D:https://soundarchives.berea.edu/items/show/1071 Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:Ador e2e2^g2gg|a2^g2e4|[M:5/4]e2e2 ^g3g^d2|[M:C|]e8|e2e2^g2gg| a2^g2e2^cd|[M:7/8]e2e4d2c2-cc^G2|[M:C|]A8||A2A2c2cd| e2d2c3c|A2A2c2c2|E2^G2G4|A2A2c2cd| e2d2c2d2|e8-|e2d2c3c|^G2A6-|A8||
KIDD AND THE BACON. American, Air (irregular measures). A Dorain. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABB. "Kidd and the Bacon" is a slow air based on an old family song. It has similarities to Irish airs, in that it is modal and played in a more or less 'free' rhythm, according to the player's taste. In his spoken introduction to the tune, Wallace Thompson claims the tune was written by his great-great grandfather Wallace, and says:
He wrote this on the preacher Nixon Kidd, as a slur. It's called 'Kidd and the Bacon' because Mr. Kidd bought some hogs by a man named Berry over about Berry's Bridge and gave them a note for them...and Mr. Berry died, and he executed another note to the next man, and he died, and...he just never paid his bill. Never paid for the hogs. They lived near my great-great grandfather and the Wallaces were known to take a little drink of whiskey once in a while, and play the fiddle and dance, and Brother Kidd didn't think that was the way to live. He preached about it quite a bit. And they decided that well, since he was so high-and-mighty and righteous, and wouldn't pay his bill for the hogs, he'd just write a song about it. And the title of the song was 'Kidd and the Bacon', and it was the first folk-song, as far as we known, that was ever written in Green County. They had a feud over it and fought, any my great-great grandfather was taken into evidence in court over it. And the judge, there, asked him to play the tune, and he did, and he [ed. the judge] thought it was funny and dismissed the charges. Then my great-great grandfather William Wallace went out around the courthouse playing the fiddle and sang 'The Kidd and the Bacon', and they shot at him a few times. The holes were still in the building about twenty-five years ago...they've reworked the building now, some now, and they've taken the bullet holes out of it.
Then my great-great grandfather took his tobacco to Louisville once in hogsheads and when the buyers came around he got on the hogshead and played the fiddle and sang 'The Kidd and the Bacon' and told them the story of it. They gave him a hat with a gold band around it, or a gold-colored band anyway, with his name on it...told me, oh, about twenty years ago, my Uncle Dick was ninety-five then, tellin' me about it...he knew where the hat was, and at that time I wanted to get it, but I never could locate it. This is the 'Kidd and the Bacon'. I've changed it a little bit, changed the tune...I couldn't play it just like they played it, and I thought, well there's nobody here today that knows the difference anyway. The words were:
Nixon Kidd is a preachin' man, I know I'm not mistaken,
He preached all night, until daylight, and took it all in bacon.
Wallace Thompson was, the fiddler for a time for the group Uncle Henry and the Kentucky Mountaineers, replacing Casey Jones in 1947. The group formed in the mid-1930's around the nucleus of Jeff Henry Warred ('Uncle Henry'), his wife, Wava ('Sally the Mountain Girl'), and Uncle Henry's brother Grady ('Coon Hunter'), all of Green County, Ky. They played over WHAS in Louisville in an hour-long program called The Early Morning Frolic for many years. Unfortunately for Thompson, the group quit performing three months after he joined. Wallace Thompson was a relative of Green County fiddler Gusty Wallace (1890-1985), with whom he sometimes played. Both Wallace and Thompson families claimed to be descended from Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace, according to Bruce Greene.
- Barry R. Pritts, "Adair County Music," Grassroots Music in the Upper Cumberland, Ed.-William Lynwood Montrell, 2006, p. 4.
- Dwight Billings & Ann Kingsolver, Appalachia in Regional Context: Place Matters, 2006, notes Chapt. 9.