Annotation:Shortnin' Bread (1)

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X:1 T:Shortnin' Bread [1] N:From the playing of John Riley Dykes (1868-1938, N:Hawkins County, Tennessee) M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel Q:"Quick" D:Brunswick 125 (78 RPM), Dykes Magic City Trio (1927) N:'Magic City' was Kingsport, Tennessee. D: Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:G g2 d2 edBB|g2gd e2de|gdgd edBG|A2 BB G2 (3def| g2gd edBd|gdgd e2d2|gdgd {ef}edBG|A2BBG2 || (G2|:SG2) dg edBB|[D2d2]dd {f}edBA|GABd edBG|1A-BAG [G,2G2](3DEF:|2 A-BAG G2 G2:|3 A2 BB G2|| G2-|GBAG EDE<G-|GAGE D2E<G-|G2G2 eeGB|AGBA G2G2-| GBAG EDE<G-|GAGE D3E-|G2G2 E2 GB-|AGBA G2G2-S||

SHORTNIN' BREAD [1]. American, Reel (cut time). USA; east Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, north Georgia, Arkansas. A Major (Krassen): D Major (Fuzzy Mountain String Band): G Major (Silberberg). Standard, ADad (Reaves White County Ramblers) or AEae tunings (fiddle). AABB. The melody has wide currency in the South as a vocal and instrumental tune and has been included in many traditional song collections starting with Perrow (1915). Perrow’s version was collected from East Tennessee white singers, and the melody has been called an "east Tennessee favorite" by musicologist Charles Wolfe. Mattie Cole Stanford, in her 1963 book Sourwood Tonic and Sassafras Tea, listed it as one of the tunes played at the turn of the century by fiddler George Cole of Etowah County, Alabama (Cauthen, 1990). It was one of the first tunes recorded by Kentucky fiddler Doc Roberts in the mid-1920's (for which see "Shortnin' Bread (2)" and it was recorded for the Library of Congress by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, from the playing of Ozarks Mountains fiddlers in the early 1940's.

African-American collector Thomas Talley, in his book Negro Folk Rhymes (1922, a new edition 1991 edited by Charles Wolfe), prints a unique version of the song with the title “Salt Rising Bread,” which goes:

I loves saltin’, saltin’ bread,
I loves saltin’, saltin’ bread.
Put on dat skillet, nev’ mind de lead,
Caze I’se gwinter cook dat saltin’ bread;
Yes, ever since my mammy’s been dead,
I’se been makin’ an’ cookin’ dat saltin’ bread.

‘Saltin’ bread’ seems to refer to bread made from water-ground corn meal, remarks Charles Wolfe, while the more common ‘shortenin’ bread’ is bread mixed with bacon bits or bacon gravy, sometimes called ‘cracklin’ bread.’ See also related tune "Three Little N.....s Layin' in Bed" (Pa.).

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Alan Jabbour, after Henry Reed (western Va.) [Silberberg]; Frank Blevins (N.C.) [Devil's Box]

Printed sources : - Stephen F. Davils (Devil's Box), vol. 32, No. 2, Summer 1998 (p. 18). Krassen (Appalachian Fiddle), 1973; p. 15. Reiner (Anthology of Fiddle Styles), 1979; p. 12. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Taven), 2002; p. 144.

Recorded sources : - Brunswick 125 (78 RPM), Dykes Magic City Trio (1927). County 519, Reaves White County Ramblers - "Echoes of the Ozarks, vol. 2." County 526, "The Skillet Lickers, vol. 2" (1973). Gennett 6529 (78 RPM), 1928, Tweedy Brothers (W.Va. brothers Henry, Charles and George playing two fiddles and a piano). Mountain 310, Tommy Jarrell - "Joke on the Puppy" (1976. Learned from his father). Old Homestead OHCSS 191, "Dykes Magic City Trio" (east Tenn.). Rounder 0035, Fuzzy Mountain String Band - "Summer Oaks and Porch" (1973. Learned from Dan Tate, Fancy Gap, Va.). Rounder 0057, Fred Clifton - "Old Originals, vol. 1" (1978). Rounder 0089, Oscar & Eugene Wright - "Old Time Fiddle and Guitar Music from West Virginia." Rounder 0320, Bob Carlin & John Hartford - "The Fun of Open Discussion." Voyager VRLP 328 S, "Kenny Hall and the Long Haul String Band" (learned from a Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers recording).

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