LIMBER UP. American, Scottish; Reel. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Burchenal): AB (Kennedy): AAB (Cole): AA'BB' (Kerr). The provenance of the tune cannot be determined until Kerr's Merry Melodies vol. 2 can be accurately dated. As of now, it is not known whether the Scottish volume or the Boston-published Ryan's Mammoth were published first. It is also not know what 'limber up' refers to: it is a phrasal verb meaning 'loosen up', as in stretching or exercise, and it also means to attach something ('limber up the wagon'). However, it has had a slang meaning of 'answering one's name' in naval circles, as far back as 1916 [Partridge, Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English].
Source for notated version:
Burchanal (American Country Dances, vol. 1), 1918; pp. 52–53 (appears as "Trip to Nahant" ).
Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 51.
Kennedy (Fiddler's Tune-Book: Reels & Rants, Flings & Fancies), 1997; No. 102, p. 25.
Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 2), No. 249, p. 27.
Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 79.