X:1 T:Laurel Lonesome N:From the playing of Bruce Greene (North Carolina) M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel Q:"Quick" N:AEac# tuning (fiddle) N:As usual with AEac# tunes, drones are frequent D:Hazeldog 125, Bruce Greene & Don Pedi - Stranger on D:a Mule (2011). D:https://www.slippery-hill.com/recording/laurel-lonesome Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:A c3B A2A2|cABc A2A2|cABc A2F2|A2 AB A4| c3B A2A2|cABA cee2|cBBA AFF2|E2[A,4E4]Bc-| cB-cB A3A|cABc A2A2|cABc A2F2|A2A2A3B-| c3B- cBA4|cABA ceee|cBcB AFFF|E2[A,4E4]|| |:[A,2E2]-|[A,2E2]FF A2AA|(F[AA])[AA][AA][A2A2]AF|E2 FF A2A2|FE2E E2[A,2E2]-| [A,2E2]FF A2AA|(F[AA])[AA][AA][A2A2]+slide+c2-|cecc B2A2|F2A2-AA:|]
LAUREL LONESOME. American, Reel (cut time). A Major. AEAc# tuning (fiddle). ABB. The tune is sourced to the great-uncle of Madison County, western North Carolina, fiddler, folklorist, lawyer and entrepreneur Bascom Lamar Lunsford (1882-1973). In a concert performance recorded in 1935 at Columbia University, Lunsford prefaced his playing with the following:
Laurel Lonesome, a fiddle tune. My great uncle Os Deaver, who lived at the Forks of Ivy--and there's Little Ivy and Big Ivy, in Madison County--when [he was] a young man lost a valuable horse. And he trailed it to Shelton Laurel, and he went over to find the horse...he failed to find it on Laurel...but he spent that night at a mountain home, and while he was playing "Laurel Lonesome", a drunken women raised up and said, 'Os, I want you to play the lonesome tune one time more.' So he always said he got a name for his fiddle tune which he had made. "Laurel Lonesome."
Shelton Laurel is the name of a creek and, in the mid-19th century, a small community (consisting of self-sufficient farm houses but no businesses) in Madison County (named for the Shelton family). It was the site of a massacre in 1863, when Confederate troops chasing raiding Union sympathizers (of which there were many in the area) captured a group of men and executed thirteen of them, including three boys ages 12, 14 and 17.