Rabbit in the Pea Patch (1)

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X:1 T:Rabbit in the Pea Patch [1] L:1/8 M:2/4 S:Kuntz – Ragged but Right K:D (3d/c/B/|[DA]a g>a|g/f/e/d/ e/d/c/B/|{^G}[A2A2] [A2A2]|A/B/A/G/ F/D/E/F/| [DA]a g>f|g/f/e/d/ e/d/c/B/|A/B/c/d/ e/A/g/A/|f/A/e/A/ d(3d/c/B/| [DA]<a g>a|g/f/e/d/ e/d/c/B/|{^G}[A2A2] [A2A2]|A/B/A/G/ F/D/E/F/| [DA]a g>f|g/f/e/d/ e/d/c/B/|A/B/c/d/ e/A/g/A/|f/A/e/A/ df/g/|| a>g ff|ee/g/ f/e/d|af af|e/d/e/e/ df/g/| af/g/ af|ee/g/ f/e/d|a/g/f/g/ af/f/|e/d/e/e/ d2|| |:[AA][A/A/][A/B/] [FA][FA]|[E/A/][D/A/][E/A/][G/A/] [F/A/][D/A/][DA]|[AA]>[AA] [FA][FA]|[E/A/][D/A/][E/A/][F/A/] [D2A2]:||



RABBIT IN THE PEA PATCH [1]. American, Reel (2/4 time). USA; Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC. Most modern versions are sourced to Tennessee entertainer Uncle Dave Macon [1] (1870-1952) who recorded the song/breakdown on 78 RPM in 1927 (with Kirk McGee and Maize Todd on fiddles). However, the piece may be older and may have had 19th century minstrel origins (still to be definitively traced). 'Rabbit in a pea patch' as a folk meme may have had and even older existence as an African-American folk tale, where 'pea patch' was a euphemism for a vegetable garden. Drew Besswenger (2008) notes that the title was connected to a play party game with a “Skip to My Lou” melody. It was recorded for the Library of Congress by Herbert Halpert in 1939 from the playing of Tishomingo County, Mississippi, fiddler W.E. Claunch. “Rabbit in the Pea Patch” is a standard tune in a square dance fiddler's repertoire, asserts A.B. Moore in his History of Alabama, 1934, and lending credence to this its being recorded in the Clarke County Democrat of May 6, 1926, as a definitive old-time piece played for a contest in Jackson, Clark County, Alabama.
Uncle Dave Macon

Get my gun, fetch old Rover,
Run that rabbit out of town.

I'm up on the hillside rakin' up hay,
Rabbit in the Pea Patch eatin' all day;
Dee-ca-dee-dee, dee-ca-dee-dee-doo,
Dee-ca-dee-dee-dee, dee-ca-dee-ca-doo.

I'm up on the hillside rakin' up leaves,
The Rabbit in the Pea Patch eatin' up all the peas.

I'm up on the hillside rakin' up grass,
The Rabbit in the Pea Patch sittin' on his ass. ....[Red Clay Ramblers, based on Uncle Dave Macon’s version]

The title is connected with an Appalachian play-party game. Other early recorded tunes by the name of "Rabbit in a Pea Patch" are from Vernon Dalhart (1931) and the Packard Family (Supertone/Brunswick 2071 {78 RPM} 1929), although they are songs and unrelated to Macon's breakdown tune. Guthrie Meade links Macon's melody to “Grey Cat on a Tennessee Farm,” “Spotted Pony (1),” and “Snow Shoes (2).”


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - The Red Clay Ramblers (North Carolina) [Kuntz].

Printed sources : - Kuntz (Ragged but Right), 1987; p. 350.

Recorded sources : - Bear Family Records BFX 15214, "Uncle Dave Macon at Home: His Last Recordings 1950" (1985). County 521, Uncle Dave Macon and the Fruit Jar Drinkers - "Original Recordings 1925-1935." Flying Fish 055, The Red Clay Ramblers - "Merchant's Lunch" (1977). Vocalion 5156 (78 RPM), Uncle Dave Macon (1927).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Hear Uncle Dave Macon's 1927 recording on youtube.com [3] [4] and at Slippery Hill [5]



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