Ruth's Rag

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X:1 % T:Ruth's Rag S:Grinnel Giggers M:C| L:1/8 Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:Bb A|B2 b2 ab2a|babf gfdB-|BcdB c d2c|ddcd- dccB| AGAG AGAG|Ac2A G2F2-|F2GA B2cd|f3(3fga| b2 b2 ab2a|babf gfdB-|BcdB c d2c|ddcd- dccB| AGAG AGAG|Ac2A G2F2-|FG AB- BAc2|B6|| K:F A,B,|C4-CDE<F|A4 zA,B,=B,|CDE<F GFEC |B,4-B,CEF| G4-GFEF|G4-GG^FG|A2G2F2D2|C4-C2A,>B,| C4- CB,DB,|C2C2-CCDE|F2F2G2F2|d3 d3de| ffff f<ed>c|dddd d<cF2|GA2B {B}dcG<A|F6z|]

RUTH'S RAG. Old-Time, Country Rag. USA, Missouri. B Flat Major ('A' part) & F Major ('B' part). Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'B. The tune was composed by fiddler Ben Tinnon and named for his wife, (Ruth 1894–1982), who had a local reputation for her skill as a buck dancer and whom Tinnon married in 1910. It was recorded by his group, the Grinnell Giggers, for Victor records on Friday, May 30th, 1930, in a session in Memphis, Tennessee, and they went back to the studio in November of that year and cut another seven sides for Victor.

The group consisted of Tinnon (1891-1974) on fiddle, Melvin Paul (1905-1970) on banjo or mandolin, and Grover Grant (1897-1971) on guitar, and they hailed from Mississippi County, southern Missouri. Their name is explained in this passage (from, reprinted at

The Grinnell Giggers were from the area around the Missouri-Arkansas bootheel, near an inlet from the Mississippi River named Big Lake. In fact, the band took its name from a type of fishing done in the area; in the spring of the year, the river would flood, leaving large ponds of backwater. Locals would find in these pools a “trash fish” called grinnel, and they would catch them with old-time three-pronged forks — a practice known as gigging. The term “grinnel giggers” was thus a phrase that had about the same meaning as “Skillet Lickers.” It was not an image, though; most members of the band were cotton farmers and fishermen who had actually done such gigging.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Ben Tinnon with the Grinnell Giggers (Mo.) [Phillips].

Printed sources : - Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 2), 1995; p. 118.

Recorded sources: - Victor V40275 (78 RPM)/Bluebird B-5284 (78 RPM), Grinnell Giggers (1930).

See also listing at:
Hear the Grinnell Gigger's recording on [1], at the Internet Archive [2] and at Slippery Hill [3]

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