Salt River (2)

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X:1 % T:Salt River [2] S:Kessinger Brothers (W.Va.) M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel D:Brunswick Records, The Kessinger Brothers (1929) Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:A E2A2 A2c2|ecec dfed|BcBA GABG|ABAG E2EC| EA2A- A2c2|ecec d2df|edef gedg|edBd A3F:| |:ea2a- a2-abag|eA3 A2-Abag|edef gedg|edef gedg| ea2e abag|ea2b a2 gf|edef gedg|edBd A4:|



SALT RIVER [2]. AKA and see "Salt Creek." Old-Time, Bluegrass; Breakdown. USA; West Virginia, Virginia, Texas. D Major {Krassen}: A Major/Mixolydian (Brody, Phillips, Silberberg). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Krassen, Silberberg): AABB (Brody, Lowinger): AABBAA'B'B' (Phillips). Popular in central and southern West Virginia (Krassen). Guthrie Meade thinks it reminiscent of an old tune called "Horny-knick-a-brino,” but is "probably derivative of some Irish air.” In the headnotes to “Salt River” in the volume Country Music Sources, Meade mentions a ‘distant relationship’ to Irish collector P.W. Joyce’s (1909) tune “Molly Maguire (1).” Charles Wolfe (1997) also believes the reel to be Irish in origin. Other writers have similar opinions: according to one source the West Virginia version bears a resemblance to "Red Haired Boy" (Gilderoy (2))—Gerry Milnes suggests that many tunes from that state (including “Jack o' Diamonds” by Melvin Wine, Sarah Singleton, and others; “Guilderoy” by John Johnson; “Soldier with a Wooden Leg” by Lee Tripplet and others) and the many variants of “Red Haired Boy” all stem from the same root tune. Bayard (1981) believes the tune to be associated with sets of the American/Irish tunes "Ducks on the Pond," the aforementioned "Molly Maguire (1)," "Mills are Grinding (1) (The)," "Pigeon on the Pies," "Paddy on the Turnpike (2)," "Flowers of Limerick," "Telephone (The)," and "Rainy Day (1) (A)." Hobart Smith called his variant by the name of “Pateroller,” although this is not the tune that usually goes by the name of “Pateroller,” “Pateroller Song (2),” or “Run Johnny Run (1)” and permutations of that latter title. Mike Yates (2002) believes Kentucky fiddler John M. Salyer’s “Lonesome John” to be related to this tune family. Kerry Blech finds an untitled tune by African-American fiddler Williams Adams (AKA Will Adam) to be a variant (Adams was recorded by Mike Seeger in the early 1950’s in Kengar {now Kensington}, Maryland).

An influential early recording was by Kanawha County, West Virginia, fiddler Clark Kessinger (1896-1975) as part of the Kessinger Brothers for the Brunswick Records in 1929 (issued on Brunswick's Vocalion label. Kessinger later re-recorded the tune). West Virginia natives Doc White, fiddle, and Currance Hammonds on the banjo (played in a modal tuning) both had versions. Another West Virginian, Franklin George, said he learned the tune from northern Indiana fiddler John W. Summers, who told Joel Shimberg that he himself had learned it from an old friend, Judge Dan White, also from northern Indiana. “Salt River” was later separately recorded by bluegrass musicians Bill Monroe and Don Stover under the title "Salt Creek."

Additional notes

Sources for notated versions: - Doc White (Clay County, West Virginia) [Krassen, 1983]; Frank George (W.Va.) [Krassen, 1973]; Kenny Baker and Benny Thomasson (Texas) [Phillips].

Printed sources : - Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; p. 249. Krassen (Appalachian Fiddle), 1973; p. 37. Krassen (Masters of Old Time Fiddling), 1983; p. 71. Lowinger (Bluegrass Fiddle), 1974; p. 15 (appears as "Salt Creek"). Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes vol. 1), 1994; p. 212. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 139.

Recorded sources: - County 527, Clark Kessinger - "Old-Time Fiddle Classics, vol. 2." County 733, Clark Kessinger - "The Legend of Clark Kessinger." Decca 31596, Bill Monroe. Document DOCD-8055, The Kessinger Brothers (reissue). Front Hall 017, Michael and McCreesh - "Dance Like a Wave of the Sea" (appears as "Salt Creek"). Rounder 0087, Tony Trishka - "Banjoland" (appears as "Salt Creek"). Rounder CD 0418, Snake Chapman. Vanguard VSD 9/10, Doc Watson - "On Stage." Vocalion 5481 (78 RPM), The Kessinger Brothers (1929). Voyager 309, Benny and Jerry Thomasson - "The Weiser Reunion: A Jam Session" (1993).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]



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