Mitton’s Breakdown

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MITTON'S BREAKDOWN. AKA – “Earl Mitton’s Breakdown.” Canadian, Reel. B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Hebert): AA’BBCC (Fiddler Magazine). Composed by Earl Mitton (1926-1991), born in Moncton, New Brunswick, although childhood years were spent in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia. After service in World War II, Mitton settled in Fredrickton, New Brunswick. He learned to fiddle as a child, and in the 1960’s played with his hoedown band (The Valley Rhythm Boys) on radio and television out of Saint John, New Brunswick. Mitton also played saxophone and clarinet and had another dance band that played modern dance music. He appeared on the Don Messer television show and recorded for several Canadian labels, and was a summer replacement for Messer on Canadian T.V. “Mitton’s Breakdown” is a rather difficult flat-key tune (it has been nicknamed “Bastard in B Flat”) with a shuffle (‘triple shuffle’) that has some currency, including in the playing of Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham. The third part is Mitton’s variation of the shuffle part, played an octave lower.

Earl Mitton



Source for notated version: Jerry Robichaud (Canada) [Hinds].

Printed sources: Fiddler Magazine, vol. 11, No. 3, Fall 2004; p. 55. Hinds/Hebert (Grumbling Old Woman), 1981; p. 15. Messer, 1950 Don Messer's Favorite Melodies (Canadian Music Sales, O/P).

Recorded sources: Condor 977 1489, "Graham & Eleanor Townsend Live at Barre, Vermont." Foot Stompin Records, Liz Doherty – “Last Orders” (2004). Mariposa 1364M, Rudy Meeks "Fiddles of Shelburne." Morris Music, “The Best of Earl Mitton.”




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