O Dear Mother My Toes are Sore (1)

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O DEAR MOTHER MY TOES ARE SORE [1]. AKA - "Oh Mother it Hurts Me so." AKA and "Jinny O Jinny My Toes are Sore," "O Mother My Toes are Sore." American, March (6/8 time). USA; southwestern Pa., Michigan. A Dorian or Mixolydian: D Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Bayard (1981) is certain the tune is British Isles in origin even though it has the marks of considerable folk-processing in American tradition, yet he cannot trace it adequately to old country repertory. Speculating, he suggests the tune is a derivative of the "Welcome Home" or "Boyne Water (1)" families, or perhaps a crossing of the two. He says all three forms of the title tune in Pennsylvania have in common the following rhyme associated with them:

Dear oh, mother, my toes are sore,
Dancin' over your sandy floor. ...(or "...on this sandstone floor")
Its yesterday or the day before
''I've just come home from Baltimore.
I've danced today, and I'll dance no more...

As "Oh Mother it Hurts Me so", the tune was in the repertorie of Buffalo Valley, Pa., region mid-20th century dance fiddlers Ralph Sauers and Harry Daddario. Paul Gifford reports a southern Michigan title for the melody is "Sandy Floor," taken from the 2nd line of the above rhyme. Gale McAfee (1911-1983), of Montrose, Michigan, who learned it from his father, said that the story was that pioneers would invite neighbors to a new house and put sand on the floor. His words were:
Mother, oh, Mother, my toes are sore, From dancing so long on your sandy floor.

Source for notated version: Irvin Yaugher Jr. (Mt. Independence, Pa., 1943; learned from his great-uncle) [Bayard, 1944]: 9 southwestern Pa. fiddlers and fifers [Bayard, 1981].

Printed sources: Bayard (Hill Country Tunes), 1944; No. 6. Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 452A-I, pp. 434.

Recorded sources:




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