X:0 T: No Score C: The Traditional Tune Archive M: K: x
NEWPORT BREAKDOWN. AKA - "Big Footed Nigger," "Virginia Reel (8)." American, Reel (cut time). USA, western North Carolina. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). In the repertoire of regionally influential fiddler Osey Helton, western North Carolina. The Helton bothers (Osey and Ernest) and J.D. Harris recorded the tune (and several others) probably at the studios of WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina, by Dr. Jan Phillip Schinhan (Cecil Hoskins and Lewis Elias: sound engineers), between 12/02/1939 and 03/16/1941, according to Bob Carlin's discography . The discs (archived at the Southern Folklife Collection/UNC-Chapel Hill) are mostly unlabeled, but some are by Osey (1879-1942) and Ernest Helton. "Newport Breakdown" was recorded as a solo fiddle piece, played by Osey, who also knew that it was played locally under the title "Virginia Reel." The Helton brothers also recorded the tune in 1941 for the Library of Congress (AFS 4806 A3) under the title "Big Footed Nigger."
North Carolina fiddler Manco Snead  (1885-1975, Cherokee, N.C.) also played a version of the reel, learned from Blind Wiley Laws, and can be heard on a field recording.