Phoebe Ice

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PHOEBE ICE. AKA and see "Up Jumped Jinny with Her Shirt Tail Torn." American; Air, Reel (4/4 time). USA; West Virginia, Maryland, southwestern Pa. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. A song air and fiddle tune associated with the Ice family of Marion County, West Virginia. There actually were a few woman named Phoebe in the family (one Pheobe Ice lived from 1800–1884) from successive generations. A few older West Virginia fiddlers played the tune as an instrumental (e.g. Joe Cole), and it goes by a variety of names, including "Hang Out" and "Old Hang On." There is some indication the melody was regionally widespread and perhaps predated the "Phoebe Ice" lyric given below.

Bayard (1981) thinks the tune an American original, and could not trace it to Britain or Ireland. He thinks relatives may perhaps be "Hell Amongst the Yearlings (1)" and "Sugar in My Coffee(-O)." Bayard collected the following nonsense rhyme fragment associated with the tune:

Now Phoebe Ice has laid a plan:
For every woman she'll have a man, etc.

The full lyric was collected in West Virginia [1]

​​Old Phoebe Ice was strong as an ox
Quick as a wink and sly as a fox
There was never no trouble at the old Ice place
For she was a ruler of the human race

Old Phoebe Ice, she's darn near dead
Rearing and a tearing with a pain in her head
With her toes turned out and her eyes turned in
She's a darn good gal for the shape she's in

Old Phoebe Ice has laid a plan
That every woman should have a man
So don't be shy, step right in line
Go get yours, like I got mine

Old Phoebe Ice was out to late
She didn't get home 'til half past eight
She fiddled all night and the folks all said
Was the best darn dance in the wagon shed



Source for notated version: George Strosnider (elderly fiddler from Greene County, Pa., 1930's) [Bayard]; Loy Swiger (Massillon, Ohio) [Gifford].

Printed sources: Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 290C, p. 243. Gifford (The Hammered Dulcimer: A History), 2001; Ex. 15.14, p. 343.

Recorded sources: Page SLP 601, Russell Fluharty - "West Virginia Heritage" (197?)

See also listing at:
Hear the song sung by Patty Looman (W.Va.) on youtube.com [2]




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