Rubber Dolly (1)

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X:1 % T:Rubber Dolly (1) M:4/4 L:1/8 R:Reel N:Drone 'a' and 'e' strings liberally K:A c/c/ c/B/A||c2 c2-cc/c/ c/B/A|F2 F2-Fc/c/ c/B/A/|E2 (E2 E)c/c/ c/B/A|[c2e2]B2- Bc/c/ c/B/A:|...



RUBBER DOLLY (BREAKDOWN) [1]. AKA - "Rubber Dolly Rag." AKA and see "Back Up and Push (1)," "Wubba Dolly." Bluegrass, Old-Time; Breakdown. USA; Texas, Arkansas, North Carlolina, Virginia, New York State. C Major (Phillips): A Major (Bronner). Standard or AEae tuning (fiddle). AA (Bronner): AA'BB' (Phillips). The popular melody variously called "Rubber Dolly" or "Back Up and Push" by old=time and bluegrass musicians was the product of composer Jens Bodwalt Lampe [1] (1869–1929), a Danish-born violinist, composer, arranger, performer and band-leader of ragtime and syncopated dance music. He was a child prodigy, and by the age of sixteen had secured a position as first chair violinist for the Minneapolis Symphony. Lampe married and moved to Buffalo, N.Y., in the 1890's where he led a dance band. and continued to compose and publish. His most famous composition is a piece called "Creole Belles," published in 1900, a year after the success of Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag". It is a rag or cakewalk (the sheet music says it is a "Ragtime march" or "March-two-step") that became the second major hit of ragtime that sold more than a million copies in sheet music, and was recorded by John Philip Sousa's band in 1902 and again four subsequent times in the decade 1902-1912). "Creole Belles" became a staple of brass and jazz bands and ragtime pianists, in part because the piece was versatile and could be employed as a march, two-step, and ragtime cakewalk.

"Creole Belles", in particular the lyrical second strain, was quickly absorbed into the repertoire of amateur musicians, including rural fiddlers and guitarists in the first two decades of the 20th century. It came into the repertoire of a number of string bands in the early 78 RPM recording era, and variants were recorded often, including versions by The Skillet Lickers, the Georgia Yellow Hammers (1929), Perry Bechtel and His Boys (1931), and others. A further adaptation of the "Creole Belles" was by Mississippi blues-man John Hurt, and became one of his most famous pieces. Hurt adapted the second strain, called it "Creole Belle" and sang these words to it:

My Creole Belle, I love her well
My darling baby, my Creole Belle
My Creole Belle, I love her well'
My darling baby, my Creole Belle.

When the stars shine, I'll call her mine
My darling baby, my Creole Belle
My Creole Belle, I love her well
My darling baby, my Creole Belle.

My Creole Belle, I love her well
My darling baby, my Creole Belle
When the stars shine, I'll call her mine
My darling baby, my Creole Belle.

Hurt is known to have played with white musicians as well as black in his home county, including Willie Narmour.
Versions of the tune were recorded twice in 1929 under the title "Back Up and Push," days apart; first, in Richmond, Indiana, by the Augusta Trio, and then in Atlanta by the Georgia Organ Grinders. The first recording of the tune under the "Rubber Dolly" title was by Gordon County, Georgia, banjo and fiddle player Uncle Bud Landress (1882-1966) with his group the Georgia Yellow Hammers, in Atlanta in November, 1929, as "Rubber Dolly Rag," with vocals:

My mama told me, If I'd be goody
That she would buy me, a rubber dolly
But if you tell her, I have a fellow
Then she won't buy me, no rubber dolly

My mama told me, If I'd be goody
That she would buy me, a rubber dolly
But if you tell her, I have a fellow
Then she won't buy me, no rubber dolly

The "Rubber Dolly" title appears in a list of traditional Ozarks Mountains fiddle tunes compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, published in 1954. According to Bronner (1987), "Rubber Dolly" was first collected as a Anglo-American children's game with the following words or variants which may have derived from a music-hall song of the 1890's (so far not traced). By the 1950's they were ensconced in British children's jump-rope play as "My Mummy Told Me":

My mummy told me, if I was goody,
That she would buy me a rubber dolly;
My aunty told her I kissed a soldier,
Now she won't buy me a rubber dolly.
Clap, clap, clap, clap.

Bronner also says the tune has a similarity to an older British Isles melody called "Lord Alexander's Reel/Hornpipe." It has been a favorite Texas or western swing piece in the 1930's and 40's, and has also been collected in the northeast. It is one of a handful of American old-time tunes in the Northern Cree fiddling tradition.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Charley Hughes (New York State, 1973) [Bronner].

Printed sources : - Bronner (Old-Time Music Makers of New York State), 1987; No. 40, pp. 146-147 (includes variations). Phillips (Fiddlecase Tunebook), 1989; p. 37.

Recorded sources: - CMH Country Classics 9027, Johnny Gimble - "Texas Fiddle Collection," 1981. Disc D110, Woody Guthrie - "Hard Travellin.'" Fort Worth 25318 (78 RPM), Light Crust Doughboys" (2939, as "Little Rubber Dolly," with vocals). Old-Timey LP-101, Uncle Bud Landress "Old Time Southern Dance Music: The Stringbands, vol. 2." Old-Timey LP-105, Harry Choates - "Western Swing." Ozit-Morpheus Records ‎BS-OZIT CD302, Georgia Yellow Hammers - "Gimme Dat Harp Boy! - Roots Of The Captain" (2002, various artists). Victor 17252 (78 RPM), Sousa's Band (1912).

See also listing at:
See/hear an excellent bluegrass learning version [2]
See Lampe's piano score fpr "Creole Belles" [3]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [4]
Hear the Georgia Yellow Hammer's 1929 recording on youtube.com [5]



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