Peckerwood

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X:1 T:Peckerwood S:Clyde Daventport (b. 1921), M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel N:GDgd tuning (fiddle) D:Clyde Davenport - Puncheon Camps (1992) F:https://www.slippery-hill.com/recording/peckerwood Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:G DE|G2G2- GBAG|BAG2 E3D|E2G4 DE|G2 G2-GBAG| BAG2 E3D|E2G4||d2-|d2dd eded|ged2+slide+B3A | BAG2- GBAG|BAG2[G,3E3]D|E2G4d2-|d2dd eded| ged2+slide+B3A |BAG2- GBAG|BAG2[G,3E3]D|E2G4||



PECKERWOOD. Old-Time, Song and Breakdown. USA, Kentucky. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The song and tune were once-popular in the Cumberland Plateau region. Source Davenport (b. 1921) learned it from his father when he was a boy. A 'peckerwood' is a colloquial name for a woodpecker in the region, however the term has other applications. Bawdy lyrics are occasionally sung to the tune, in keeping with the meaning that the Urban Dictionary [1] explains:

Clyde Davenport

A peckerwood is a rural white southerner, usually poor, undereducated or otherwise ignorant and bigoted, the term gained popularity in the deep south during the early twentieth century and was meant to be derogatory. It is a reversal of the name of the red bellied woodpecker which had a patch of red on the back of it’s head and neck, therefore a peckerwood is a redneck, terms that describe similar groups of people are trailer trash or white trash but neither of those have the same effect or ring to them as peckerwood does.

While Davenport declined to give the lyrics (he claimed not to know them, but said his brother (who was deceased) did), they may have been similar to those collected by folklorist Vance Randolph and published in his Unprintable Ozark Folksongs and Folklore: Roll Me in Your Arms ( No. 40, p. 40) under the title "The Schoolhouse Door."

A peckerwood pecked on the schoolhouse door,
Pecked and pecked till his pecker got sore.
Then he flew to the church-house bell,
And pecked and pecked till his pecker got well.

Then he flew to the grocery store,
Where he pecked and pecked, and pecked some more.
He shit on the coffee and he shit on the tea,
If I hadn't moved over, he'd of shit on me.

Davenport's melody sounds like a relative of the "Frog and Mouse" AKA "Frogie went a-courtin'" tune family.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Clyde Davenport (Monticello, Wayne County, Ky.) [Titon].

Printed sources : - Titon (Old Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes), 2001; No. 122, p. 149.

Recorded sources: -Berea College Appalachian Center AC002, Clyde Davenport – “Puncheon Camps” (1992). Field Recorders Collective FRC-104, "Clyde Davenport, vol. 2."

See also listing at:
Hear Clyde Davenport's 1992 recording at Slippery Hill [2]
Hear John Harrod's 1981 field recording of Davenport playing the tune at the Digital Library of Appalachia [3] and Berea Sound Archives [4]



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