Lexington on the Boom

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LEXINGTON ON THE BOOM. AKA - "Lexington on a Bum." Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, northwestern Alabama. In a 1963 interview by record collector Bob Pinson, Alabama fiddler Charlie Stripling said he learned the tune from his neighbor and mentor, 'Old Man' Pleas Carroll.

Well, I ordered a little toy fiddle from Roebuck for my nephew. It came in about four or five days before Christmas and I opened into it and set it up and tuned it up. The fiddle was about a foot long, a little tin fiddle, and the bow was about a foot long. And I tuned it up. I'd learnt how to tune one - there was an old man by the name of, they called him Old Uncle Pleas Carroll [pronounced "Plez"] that lived in our community. He played for dances and I'd been to-I was just a lad of a boy, but I'd been to a few dances and heard him play, and I remembered some of the tunes he played. And I got to sawing on that fiddle after I tuned it up and got to where I remembered one of the tunes he played was "Lexington on the Boom"; that's what he called it, and I remembered that tune and I got to where I could start it. After I gave my nephew the toy fiddle, that kind of got me interested. I decided if I could start a tune in that length of time, maybe I could learn to play. So I bought me a fiddle and bow it cost a dollar-from one of my neighbors.

However, Robert Fleder (1971) relates the story that Charlie was age 18 (or 15, as he later claimed) when he purchased a toy violin as a Christmas present for his nephew; the toy arrived early and Stripling, curious, began to pick out "Lexington on the Boom" on it. Sustained by his success, he bought a full-size violin soon after surrendering the gift on the holiday, and won his first fiddle contest 8 months later. "Lexington on the Boom" was one of the tunes listed in an article called "Fiddler's Jubilee," Fayette County, Alabama (Fayette Banner, January 2, 1908).

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