Kitchen Girl

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KITCHEN GIRL. Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, West Virginia. A Mixolydian ('A' part) & A Minor or Dorian ('B' part). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Collected in 1966 from influential Glen Lyn, Virginia, fiddler Henry Reed [1] [2] by fiddler and folklorist Alan Jabbour, who popularized the melody along with the Hollow Rock String Band (through their 1967 recording). Reed's tune has become so wide-spread it is sometimes played in Europe as a representative American old-time tune. Fiddler Bill Hicks points out that "kitchen girl" was often a term used for a female slave who worked in the kitchen. Kitchen dances were a fixture of rural American life and may have been the inspiration for the title.

Henry & Josh Reed, c. 1903 (American Memory)
Kitchen Ball at White Sulphur Springs, Virginia" (1838), by Christian Mayr (1803-1851). North Carolina Museum of Art

Sources for notated versions: Henry Reed, recorded in 1966 by Alan Jabbour [Milliner & Koken]; Highwoods String Band (N.Y.) [Brody]; Alan Block [Phillips]; Stephanie Prausnitz [Silberberg].

Printed sources: Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 160-161. Johnson (Kitchen Musician No. 2: Old-Timey Fiddle Tunes), 1982 (revised 1988, 2003); p. 6. Milliner & Koken (Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes), 2011; p. 362. Phillips (Fiddle Case Tunebook: Old Time Southern), 1989; p. 26. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 132. Silberberg (Fiddle Tunes I Learned at the Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 84. Spadaro (10 Cents a Dance), 1980; p. 37.

Recorded sources: Flying Fish 053, "Cathy Fink & Duck Donald" (1978. Learned from Steve Proescher, Norfolk, Va., and Reed Martin, Kensington, Md.). Flying Fish FF247, "Fiddle Fever" (1981. Appears as part of "Daybreak in the Mountains"). June Appal 014, John McCutcheon – "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" (1977. Learned from Henry Reed). Kanawha 311, "The Hollow Rock String Band". Kicking Mule 206, David Bromberg – "Kicking Mule's Flat-Picking Guitar Festival". Philo 1051, Boys of the Lough (with fiddler Jay Ungar) – "Good Friends, Good Music" (1977). Rounder 0074, Highwoods String Band – "No. 3 Special" (1977. Learned from Bert Levy and fiddlers from Durham/Chapel Hill, N.C.). Rounder 0089, Oscar and Eugene Wright – "Old-Time Fiddle and Guitar Music from West Virginia" (learned from Henry Reed). Rounder Select 82161-0476-2, "The Wind That Shakes the Barley: Hammered Dulcimer Music" (reissues, orig. released 1977).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [3]
Hear Alan Jabbour's 1966 field recording of Henry Reed playing the tune [4]




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