Little Brown Jug

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X:1 T:Little Brown Jug M:2/4 L:1/8 S:Ruth - Pioneer Western Folk Tunes (1948) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:D F[F/A/][F/A/] [F/A/][F/A/][F/A/][F/A/]|G[GB][G2B2]|\ A[E/c/][E/c/] [E/c/][E/c/][E/c/][E/c/]|A[Fd] [d2f2]| F[F/A/][F/A/] [F/A/][F/A/][F/A/][F/A/]|G[GB][G2B2]|\ A[Ec] c/B/c/d/|e[Fd] [F2d2]|| f/g/a/f/ d2|fe g2|gc c/d/e/f/|ed f2| f/g/a/f/ d2|fe g2|{a/}bc c/d/e/f/|ed d2||



LITTLE BROWN JUG. AKA and see "Je veux m'marier." American; Jig, Schottische (2/4 time) and Song Tune. D Major ('A' part) & D Mixolydian ('B' part) [Cole]: D Major [Bayard, Ruth, Silberberg, Sweet]: C Major [Ford]: G Major [Phillips]. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Ruth, Silberberg): AA'B (Bayard): AABB (Phillips): AA'BB' (Sweet). The tune goes to a once-popular college song, but it appears to have originally been composed for the minstrel stage by one 'Eastburn', believed to be a pseudonym for Joseph E(astburn) Winner (1837-1918). Winner was born in Philadelphia in 1837 and operated a publishing business there from 1854 to 1907. He copyrighted "Little Brown Jug" in 1869. J.E. Winner, as the name on the copyright goes, of Philadelphia, was the younger brother of the composer and publisher Septimus Winner. He died in 1918. It has been suggested that the second strain of the "Jug" tune is a variant of the first strain of Irish melody "Tatter Jack Walsh."

Me and my wife, little black dog,
Crossed the creek on a hickory log;
She fell in, got stuck in the mud,
But I still hung to my little brown jug.

Despite its stage origins, the tune quickly entered traditional repertoire and appears to have been widely disseminated. "Little Brown Jug" was cited as having commonly been played at Orange County, New York, country dances in the 1930's (Lettie Osborn, New York Folklore Quarterly), and it was known at the same time at the other end of the country by Arizona fiddler Kenner C. Kartchner, who said, "many an amateur plays this simple old song" (Shumway). The tune was recorded for the Library of Congress by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph from Ozark Mountains fiddlers in the early 1940's. Mt. Airy, North Carolina, fiddler Tommy Jarrell learned the tune from his father, because the lyric "tickled" him. African-American fiddler Cuje Bertram (Ky.) recorded the tune in 1970 on a home recording made for his family. Another African-American fiddler, North Carolinian Joe Thompson, played the tune in FCGD tuning. It was recorded on a 78 RPM by Kanawha County, West Virginia fiddler Clark Kessinger (1896-1975).

"Little Brown Jug" was the second tune that Missouri fiddler Art Galbraith learned as a boy, who received instruction from his Uncle Mark (a three-fingered fiddler, the result of an accident chopping corncobs), his cousin and others. Art's father, no musician, was proud of his son's budding talent and was constantly prodding him to play for anyone who would listen, and this was well-known in the family. One day the young Galbraith attended a Fourth of July picnic on the James River that featured a square dance:

So most of the time while they were dancing, all I was doing was listening to the music. Dancing didn't interest me much. Then (his cousin) said, "Come here a minute. Take this fiddle and play. I want to dance one." And, oh, it just scared me to death to get up before all those hundreds of people. I knew nearly every one of them and they knew me, but that was the worst thing that could happen. But he kept on. He said, "Why, you can do it. I showed you how to play it. Play Little Brown Jug." So I got up there and the guitar player says, "Well, I'll play with you!" So I played for a square dance set. It scared me. I was just miserable. But I got through it and they danced, so I guess it was all right. And later on I played with him and others for dancing after I got to learning more tunes. (Bittersweet Magazine, 1981)

Phillip's version is only loosely based on the familiar song tune. See also Montreal fiddler J.O. LaMadeleine's version as "Je veux m'marier (2)."


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Wilbur Neal (elderly fiddler from Jefferson County, Pa., 1948) [Bayard]; Brian Hubbard [Phillips]; caller George Van Kleeck (Woodland Valley, Catskill Mtns., New York) [Cazden]; Mark Gaponoff [Silberberg].

Printed sources : - Adam (Old Time Fiddlers' Favorite Barn Dance Tunes), 1928; No. 7. Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 428, p. 406. Cazden (Dances from Woodland), 1945; p. 6. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; p. 33. Jarman (Square Dance Tunes), No. or p. 20. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 142. Ruth (Pioneer Western Folk Tunes), 1948; No. 12, p. 6. Silberberg (Fiddle Tunes I Learned at the Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 91. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p. 10.

Recorded sources : - Columbia 33427-F (78 RPM), James Morrison and His Orchestra (1929). County 778, Tommy Jarrell – "Pickin' on Tommy's Porch" (1984).

See also listing at :
Hear the tune played by Sligo fiddle James Morrison and His Orchestra, 1929 [1] (2nd tune in medley)



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