Uncle Tom’s Best
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UNCLE TOM’S BEST. American, Sand Jig (2/4 or 4/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABA (Cole/Ryan): AABB’ (Kerr). The melody is listed as a ‘jig’ in Ryan’s Mammoth Collection (1883), referring not to the familiar 6/8 time Irish jig, but rather to a type of syncopated, duple-time, 19th century banjo tunes often employed as the vehicles for a kind of clog dancing. They were sometimes called ‘straight’ or ‘sand’ jigs—the latter derived from the practice of strewing sand on the stage floor to reduce friction and facilitate foot movements.
The title is perhaps a loose reference to Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852).
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 83. Kerr (Merry Melodies), vol. 2, c. 1880's; No. 431, p. 49. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 117.