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X:1 T:Meriwether S:W.L. "Jake" Phelps (born 1882, Todd County, Ky.) M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel K:G BdBA GBAG|EGAB A3E|DEGA Bdef|gage dged| B2BA G2AG|EGAB A3E|DEGA B2d2-|dBAF G4:| |:egga gede|egga ge d2|ea- ab aged|egab a3 a| b2 ba ge d2|egga g2d2|efge dcBG|ABAF G4:|]

MERRIWEATHER. AKA - "Meriwether," "Weriwhether." Old-Time, Breakdown. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Known as a Kentucky tune, although Bobby Fulcher (1986) says the tune only rarely shows up in traditional Kentucky fiddlers' repertoires. Most modern version are modeled after the "Meriwether" of W.L. "Jake" Phelps of Todd County, Kentucky, recorded in the field in 1973 by fiddler Bruce Greene. Phelps was not originally from the Appalachian part of the state but rather from Purchase, on the western side. Although no one knows for certain what the title refers to, it is likely it refers to the name of a prominent 19th century Todd County family named Meriwether (note spelling). Kentucky fiddler Clyde Davenport recorded the tune for County Records in 1986, although it is likely he learned the tune from Greene. Titon (2001) finds the tune related to the Irish reels "<incipit title="load:tom" width=850 link=" Ward's Downfall">Tom Ward's Downfall</incipit>" and "<incipit title="load:mourne" width=850 link=" Mountains (1)">Mourne Mountains (1)</incipit>," and opines that it is a "rare, appealing, and well-constructed tune."

Additional notes

Sources for notated versions: - Ky. fiddler Bruce Greene (who learned it from Phelps in 1973) [Phillips]; W.L. "Jake" Phelps (b. 1882, Elkton, Todd County, Ky., 1973) [Titon].

Printed sources : - Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 151. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 133. Titon (Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes), 2001; No. 103, p. 132.

Recorded sources: -Berea College Appalachian Center AC001, Bruce Green - "Celebration! Old Time Music at Berea." County 786, Clyde Davenport (Monticello, Ky.) - "Clydeoscope: Rare and Beautiful Tunes from the Cumberland Plateau" (1986. Probably learned from Bruce Green, says Titon). June Appal JA 026, Malcolm Dalglish & Grey Larsen - "First of Autumn" (1978).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear a harmonica version on [2]
Hear W.L. "Jake" Phelps' version, recorded by Bruce Greene (1973) at Slippery Hill [3], and see/hear Bruce playing the tune at Berea Sound Archive [4]
Hear Clyde Davenport's 1981 field recording at Slippery Hill [5]

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X:1 M:C| L:1/8 K:G BGGA G2 ED|EAAB A2 GE|DEGA BABd|(3efg dB cBAG|

X:1 M:C| L:1/8 K:G BG~G2 GEDG|EDEG AEGA|DEGA ~B3d|ed~d2 egdc|