Sugar Grove Blues

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X:1 T:Sugar Grove Blues N:From the playing of fiddler Gerry Milnes, from a 1974 Brandywine N:Festival fiddle contest tape. The tune is from the repertory N:of Pocahontas County, W.Va., fiddler Burl Hammons (1908-1993). N:Similar (but not cognate) with "Grey Eagle" L:1/8 R:Reel N:AEae tuning (fiddle) Q:"Moderate" D:Library of Congress AFS L65-L66, "Hammons Family: A Study of a West D:Virginia Family's Traditions" (1973) D:https://www.slippery-hill.com/recording/sugar-grove-blues Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:A ((3AcB|:A2)[EA]F ED-CD|E2 cA BAcB|A2[EA]F ED-CD|1EFAB A2cB:|2EFAB A2|| [Ae]-[Be]-|:[ce]+slide+[e3e3] [e4e4]|efec B-A[Ae]B|[ce]+slide+[e3e3] [e4e4]|efec- B2 AB| (c[e3e3]) +slide+ [e2e2] ((3efg|a)fec- B A3|([Be]-[c3e3] B)AFD|1 EFAB A2AB:|2EFAA {B}A2||



Burl Hammons

SUGAR GROVE BLUES. American, Reel (cut time). A Major. AEae tuning (fiddle). AA'BB'. According to Alan Jabbour, Pocahontas County, West Virginia, fiddler Burl Hammons (1908-1993) claimed to have composed the tune himself. However, musicologist Alan Jabbour[1] suspects that Hammons was influenced by hearing the reel "Grey Eagle" played over the radio. The latter tune is fairly popular among fiddler in the South, although it is not a standard in local Pocahontas County repertory. The tunes are not the same, and neither strain is cognate, notes Jabbour, "but both bear a general resemblance." He also finds the high strain similar to "Walking in the Parlor," a tune that was in Hammons' repertoire. Burl named his tune after a grove of sugar maples (which he called "sugars") on nearby Stony Creek. The word "Blues" in the title is something of a misnomer, although a deliberate insertion. "The 'blues' tag reflects the permeating influence of the blues (in titles like this, even when the tunes are not in the usual blues forms) on 20th-century Appalachian music"[2].

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : -

Recorded sources: - Library of Congress AFS L65-66, "The Hammons Family: A Study of a West Virginia Family's Traditions" (1973).



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  1. Carl Fleischhauer and Alan Jabbour, Booklet accompanying the Library of Congress recording "The Hammons Family: A Study of a West Virginia Family's Traditions" (AFS L65-66), 1973, pp. 49-50.
  2. ibid.