Massa Bill

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MASSA BILL. AKA and see "Never Get Your Money Back," "Mossy Bill." Old-Time, Breakdown. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDD. The tune is cognate with "Kansas City Rag." The "Massa Bill" title is from one of the cuts in the recording "I'm Old But I'm Awfully Tough" (1977), played by fiddler Frank Reed (1904-c. 1985) of Randolph County, north-central Missiouri. Reed also played the tune on his own album, "Old Tyme Fiddling" (1976), but there the title was given as "Mossy Bill." Commenting on Reed's having learned tunes from black fiddler Walt Dougherty of Higbee, Missouri, fiddler Howard Marshall (in liner notes to Voyager VRCD 344), says that that he was from an area of the state that was "once a slave-holding region culturally like bluegrass Kentucky or the Virginia and North Carolina tidewater and piedmont, [where] it was common for white and black musicians to play fiddle music together at house dances or fish fries, but this kind of interchange between black and white vanished in recent years."

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 150.

Recorded sources: - MFFA 1001, Frank Reed & Alva Lee Hendren – "I'm Old But I'm Awfully Tough" (1977. Various artists).



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