Tom and Jerry (1)

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X:1 T:Tom and Jerry [1] N:From the playing of Clifford Murray (1894-1973?, Throckmorton, Texas) M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel D:Library of Congress AFS 00549 A02, Clifford Murray (1936) D: Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:A (A,B,|C2)E2C2E2|D2F2D2F2| E2 GA B2B2 |cABc A2A,B,| |C2)E2C2E2|D2F2D2F2 |E3 (E/F/G2) B2 |+slide+[A3A3][AA][A2A2]:| |:(3EFG|A2cB ABcB|A2c2 BABc|e2 fg afed|[M:3/2]cAcA +slide+[e6e6] (3EFG| [M:C|]A2cB ABcB|A2c2 BABc|e2 fg afed|cABc A2:|

TOM AND JERRY [1]. Ameridan, Reel. USA; Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona. A Major. AEae or Standard tunings (fiddle). AABB. The title has several associations. A ‘Tom and Jerry’ was a concoction whose ingredients are whiskey, hot water, sugar, nutmeg, and whipped whites of eggs; it is sometimes known as a seasonal (New Year’s) drink, served in a special bowl (Thede, 1967). Present-day fiddlers probably remember Tom and Jerry as the cat and mouse antagonists of Saturday morning cartoons. However, the first famous association of the two names together was in the early years of the 19thcentury in a book calledLife in London (1820-1821), by Pierce Egan (1772-1849). It features the characters of a young country squire, Jerry Hawthorne who is shown about town by his elegant cousin, Corinthian Tom, and Bob Logic, as rakes in Regency England who mis-adventured among upper-class society, especially at one of the most exclusive establishments of the fashionable Regency world: Almack’s Assembly Rooms in King Street, London. The book (which also had illustrations by George and Robert Cruikshank) was written in thick period slang and was enormously popular with the younger set of the era, although frowned upon by their elders. Due to the influence of the book, a ‘Tom and Jerry’ came to refer to a low drinking house in the Regency Period in England, and, further derived, referred to fighting, drinking and causing trouble (as in “we had a real Tom and Jerry that night”).

American versions of "Tom and Jerry" are wide-spread and vary from fiddler to fiddler. Arizona fiddler Kenner Kartchner said the tune was from the South, and difficult to play in standard tuning. However, it is known as a Missouri piece and, in fact, “appears to be associated more with states west of the Mississippi River than with the Appalachians and deep South, although it can be heard throughout the South” (Beisswenger & McCann). The tune was played at a fiddlers' convention at the Pike County (Alabama) Fairgrounds, according to an account in the Troy Herald of July 6, 1926. The tune was recorded for the Library of Congress by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph from the playing of Ozarks Mountains fiddlers in the early 1940's (including Lon Jordan in 1941), and by Herbert Halpert in 1939 from the playing of Mississippi fiddlers Stephen B. Tucker and John Hatcher. Missouri fiddler Pete McMahan said (to Gordon McCann) that part of the tune was derived from “Once Upon a Cheek,” and that part of the tune sounds like “Bull at the Wagon Tongue.” Meade (2002) lists early recordings by Uncle Dave Macon (1927) and the Log Cabin Fiddlers (1929). The melody has become a flashy and elaborate standard at fiddle contests in modern times (Drew Beisswenger points to the difference between Ozarks fiddlers Roger Fountain’s version and Lon Jordon’s AEae achaic-sounding version, for example).

With the assistance of Olaf J.S. Ellingson who succeeded Simmons as manager of the prison system, John Lomax returned to Huntsville in May 1939, assisted by his wife Ruby Terrill Lomax. By this time, inmates had their own radio show, “Thirty Minutes Behind the Walls” on WBAP, and the Lomaxes consulted with the program’s director before recording. William Longino, a professor at Sam Houston State Teachers College, assisted the Lomaxes at the prison. The team recorded at least nine performances including two instrumentals by inmate Pop Warner on fiddle and an imitation of a cat and dog fighting by convicted armed robber Lawrence Evans who later died in prison.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Ardell Christopher (El Paso, Texas) [Christeson]: Herman Johnson (Brody): J.S. Price (Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma) [Thede]: Roger Fountain (b. 1948, Pineville, Ark.) [Beisswenger & McCann]: Lon Jordan (early-mid 20th century, Farmington, Arkansas) [Beisswenger & McCann].

Printed sources : - Beisswenger & McCann ('Ozarks Fiddle Music), 2008; pp. 35 & 88. Christeson (Old Time Fiddlers Repertory, vol. 1), 1973; p. 23. Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; p. 278. Stephen F. Davis (The Devil's Box), vol. 30, No. 2, Summer 1996; pp. 13-14 (arranged by Jim Wood). Thede (The Fiddle Book), 1967; p. 50.

Recorded sources : - Library of Congress AFS 00549 A02, Clifford Murray (1936). Library of Congress AFS 02649a02, Pop Warner (performed at the State Penitentiary--"The Walls"--May, 1939). Library of Congress AFS 05314 A01, Lon Jordan (Oct. 1941, Farmington, Ark.)

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear Pop Warner's 1939 recording at the Library of Congress [2] and Slippery Hill [3]
Hear Lon Jordan's 1941 recording at Slippery Hill [4]
Hear Clifford Murray's 1936 recording at Slippery Hill [5]
Hear Texas fiddler Ardell Christopher's recording at Slippery Hill [6]
Hear Arkansas fiddler Roger Fountain's recording at Slippery Hill [7]

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