Sugar Foot Rag
X:1 T:Sugar Foot Rag T:Sugarfoot Rag N:From the playing of Sammy Walker (1910=1987, Nabob, Metcalfe N:County, south-central Ky.), recorded in the field by Bruce Greene in 1976 L:1/8 R:Reel Q:"Moderately Quick" D:https://soundarchives.berea.edu/items/show/1242 Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:A (3efg|a2) ab a2e2|+slide+(=g^g)ga gec2|e2 ef e2 (c>A)|B-A[AA][GA] [A2A2](3efg| a2) ab a2e2|+slide+(=g^g)ga gec2|e2 ef e2 (c>A)|B-A[AA][GA] [A2A2]|| [=c2e2]-|[^c2e2][ce][ce] [c2e2](=c2|^c)BAc BAFF|A2Ac fecA|B-AAA A2[=c2e2]-| [^c2e2][ce][ce] [c2e2](=c2|^c)BAc BAFF|A2Ac fecA|B-A[AA][GA] [A2A2]||
SUGAR FOOT RAG.AKA - "Sugarfoot Rag." American, Reel (cut time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The title appears in a list of traditional Ozarks Mountains fiddle tunes compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, published in 1954, however it was at that time not a traditional tune but rather a newly composed one. In 1950, at age 19, Hank Garland (1930-2004) recorded his million-selling hit "Sugarfoot Rag", at tune that became so associated with the composer that he was sometimes identified as “Hank ‘Sugarfoot’ Garland”. Some, however, attribute the piece to Bernie B. Smith Jr., who had published two years earlier by M.M. Cole/BMI as "Bernie's Reel". An instrumental version of “Sugarfoot Rag” was the opening and closing theme for ABC-TV's "Ozark Jubilee" variety program from 1955-1960. Garland appeared on the "Jubilee" and on Eddy Arnold's network and syndicated television shows. In addition to his esteemed status in the Nashville country music industry, Garland was also a highly respected in the contemporary jazz community (he also played Rock-and-Roll in the 1950's). Later "Sugarfoot Rat" was adapted to the fiddle. Words were also written for it, and the song became a country hit for entertainer Red Foley. Kerry Blech remarks that tune was in the repertoire of North Carolina old-time fiddler Tommy Jarrell (“who people said solidified his repertoire prior to the advent of the 1920’s recording industry,” says Kerry, “and therefore was ‘more pure’ than others; the fact that he played and loved Sugarfoot Rag, a c.1950 composition, belies this notion to some degree.”). Jarrell played it in his own, older, style, and maintained (mistakenly in this case) that he had obtained his repertoire before the advent of radio. "Sugarfoot Rag" was also in the repertory of south-central Kentucky fiddler Sammie Walker (1910-1987).
Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers recorded a similar tune, “Pretty Little Widow],” in 1928 (Vocalion 02948A) that is similar, though perhaps not cognate, to Garland's tune. Skilltet Lickers fiddler Clayton McMichen claimed his father had composed the tune.