Polk County Breakdown

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POLK COUNTY BREAKDOWN. American, Reel. USA, Missouri. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA’BB’. Composition of the tune has been credited to north Georgia fiddler Tommy Magness (1911-1972), who recorded it in 1949 while playing with Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys. In 1947 he had recorded the tune on a home disc recorder, albeit under the title “Death of Kilroy[1] Magness may have reworked an older tune however, for elsewhere he is only credited with being the arranger. “Polk County Breakdown” is one of ‘100 essential Missouri tunes’ listed by Missouri fiddler Charlie Walden, and has frequently been recorded by Missouri fiddlers, where it is a square dance workhorse. A version of the tune, which also has some resemblance to "Dance Around Molly" was even in the repertoire of Hamilton County, Adirondack Mountains, N.Y., fiddler Vic Kibler, who called it "Pole County Breakdown."


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Lee Stoneking (1907-1989, Henry County, Missouri) [Beisswenger & McCann].

Printed sources : - Beisswenger & McCann (Ozarks Fiddle Music), 2008; p. 144. Bohrer (Vic Kibler, Adirondack Fiddler), 1992; No. 30 (parts reversed from Beissenger & McCann).

Recorded sources : - Big K Studio, Lee Stoneking – “Echoes of the Ozarks” (c. 1970’s). Columbia 20561 (78 RPM), Roy Acuff (1949). Dot DEP 1041 (45 RPM), Tommy Jackson. Dot 1241 (78 RPM), Tommy Jackson (1955). Hallmark Records, Tommy Jackson - "Square Dance Tonight" (2009). Heritage 060, Art Galbraith - "Music of the Ozarks" (Brandywine, 1984). Rounder 11661-0133-2, "Art Galbraith, James River Fiddler: Dixie Blossoms" (2007, extended reissue).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
See/hear Charlie Walden (Mo.) & Co. play the tune on youtube.com [2]
Hear a (rather degraded) clip of a 1940's radio broadcast of fiddler Tommy Magness playing the tune at the Digital Library of Appalachia [3]



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  1. Jim Nelson.