Lost Girl

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LOST GIRL. Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, Magoffin County, Kentucky. G Major (Silberberg, Titon): C Major (Phillips/McNew, Songer). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Silberberg): AABB (Songer, Titon): AA'BB (Phillips). The melody is nowadays known as a Magoffin County, Kentucky, melody, associated with the playing of John Salyer and Walter McNew (of neighboring Rockcastle County, Ky.). Jeff Titon (2001) writes that the tune is thought to have come to Kentucky from Virginia (an older Galax, Va., fiddler, Emmett Lundy, for example, played a version), but that it is not a common tune in Kentucky, although different versions exist. It was played at the Berea, Kentucky, fiddlers contests in 1919 and 1920 by H.F. Green and by Anderson Bowling, according to records of the events reviewed by Titon. Further afield, the title appears in a list of traditional Ozarks Mountain fiddle tunes compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, published in 1954 (although it is not known to what music this title was applied to in that region i.e. it may or may not be related to the Kentucky tune).

"Lost Girl" is usually played in G major (c.f. Emmett Lundy, John Salyer), although versions in C major are not uncommon (c.f. Walter McNew, and Oregon's Foghorn Stringband on their album "Weiser Sunrise", for example). See also the related "Old Beech Leaves," and John Salyer's own "Lost Boy, a variant or elaboration of "Lost Girl."

Source for notated version: Walter McNew (1912-1998, Rockcastle County, Kentucky) [Phillips, Songer]; John Salyer (1882-1952, Salyersville, Magoffin County, Kentucky) [Titon]; Greg Canote (Seattle) [Silberberg].

Printed sources: Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 2, 1995; p. 81. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 93. Songer (Portland Collection, vol. 2), 2005; p. 119. Titon (Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes), 2001; No. 96, p. 125.

Recorded sources: Appalachian Center AC003, "John M. Salyer: Home Recordings 1941-42, Vo. 1" (1993). Appalachian Center AC005, Walter McNew - "Blackjack Grove" (1993). Augusta Heritage Records AHR017, Burl Hammons - "Old-Time Music of Pocahontas County" (1995). Leatherwood (cassette), Bruce Greene - "Vintage Fiddle Tunes" (1987). Marimac 9009, Chad Crumm - "Old Time Friends" (1987. Key of D Major). Marimac 9009, Bill Christopherson - "Old Time Friends" (1987). Nettwerk Records, Foghorn Stringband - "Weiser Sunrise" (2005). Topic STR802, Emmett Lundy - "Fiddle Tunes from Grayson County, Virginia" (1977). Reed Island Rounders - "Wolves in the Wood" (1997).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear John Salyer's 1940-41 home recording at Berea Sound Archives [2]
Hear Walter McNew's 1990 field recording by Steve Green at Berea Digital Archives [3] [4]
Hear Alva Greene's 1973 field recording Kevin Delaney at Berea Digital Archives [5] [6]

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