Annotation:Wagoner (1)

Find traditional instrumental music

Back to Wagoner (1)

X:1 T:Wagner T:Wagoner [1] M:2/4 L:1/16 R:Reel N:Tune directly above “Wagner” is “Grey Eagle.” S:G. McMillan music manuscript collection (1843) S: Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:C G2|[Ec]>[Ec][E2c2] [Ec]>[Ec][E2c2]|[E2c2] c'b agfe|[Ge]>[Gd][G2d2] [Gd]>[Gd][G2d2]|[G2d2] ed cBAG| [Ec]>[Ec][E2c2] [Ec]>[Ec][E2c2]|z ceg c'2g2|a3^ga3c' =g3fe3d|c2 [E2c2][E2c2]:| |:g3f|e3cg3c| e3cg3c|e3de3f g2 f3e|f3da3d f3da3d|f3ef3g a2g3f| e3cg3c e3cg3c|e3de3f g2g2|a3^ga3c' =g3fe3d|c2 [E2c2][E2c2]:|]

WAGONER [1]. AKA and see “French Jig,” "Hero (The)," "Jolly Wagoner Reel," "Miss Brown’s Reel (1)," "Northeast Texas," "Tennessee Wagon," "Tennessee Wagoner (Wagoneer)," "Texas Wagoner," "Georgia Wagoner," “Oklahoma Wagoner,” "Wagner," "Wag'ner," "Wild Wagoner." American, Reel (cut time). USA, Widely known. C Major (most versions): G Major (Shaw). Standard tuning (fiddle). ABCDEFGHIJK (Reiner & Anick): AABB (Bayard, Brody, Christeson, Krassen, Ruth, Shaw, Titon): AA'BB' (Krassen): AABBAAB'B' (Phillips). This American melody is commonly played in the Midwest among fiddlers today, although it has been popular throughout the South and Midwest. It is thought by Bayard (1981) and Christeson (1973) to have been derived from the "Belle of Claremont Hornpipe," although Bayard, digging deeper, finds antecedents to "Claremont" as well (see note for "Annotation:Tennessee Wagoner"). The title is to be found in a number of variations, usually with a different place (state) name before "Wagoner," such as "Tennessee Wagoner," "Georgia Wagoner," "Texas Wagoner," etc. However, it also appears under non-Wagoner titles as, for example, "Hero (The)" in George P. Knauff's 1839 publication Virginia Reels, volume II (Baltimore), and in some later mid-nineteenth century publications where it can be found as "Miss Brown’s Reel (1)."

Samuel Bayard believed "Wagoner (1)" to be composite in nature and traceable to older tunes. The first part he thought derived from "Billy in the Lowland/Lowground," while the second is a strain from an old Scottish air "Gaberlunzie (The)" (the earliest version of which can be found in Thompson's Opheus Caledonius, 1725, p. 23). This second strain has an old and venerable history in folk process; the second half of both "Wagonner" and "Gaberlunzie" greatly resemble the Scots tune "Johnny Cope" and "Keep Off the Grass," stated Bayard. Even the second half of the well known "Mississippi Sawyer (1)" may be derived from this element. "Wagoner" was in repertoires of Uncle Jimmy Thompson 1848 1931 (Texas, Va.) under above title and as "Wagner," and the John Lusk Band (Black string band from the Cumberland Plateau region of Ky.) as "Rolling River." It was supposed to have been the first tune Uncle Jimmy played on Nashville’s WSM in November, 1923, in what was to become the very beginning of the Grand Old Opry (Wolfe, 1997).

Arizona fiddler Kenner C. Kartchner maintained that it was written "in honor of (Texas cattleman) Dan Wagner years earlier, maybe one hundred years ago," (suggesting the Texas appellation to the title was correct) though he acknowledged that "some call it 'Tennessee Wagonner,' reason not known" (Shumway, 1990). In fact, the title honors a Tennessee thoroughbred horse that competed in a hugely popular Louisville, Kentucky, horserace in 1839 (see note for “Annotation:Grey Eagle (1)”). See also additional information in the alternate titles given above.

"Wagoner" (along with "Wagoner in B Flat") was recorded for the Library of Congress by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph from the playing of Ozarks Mountains fiddlers in the early 1940's, and by Herbert Halpert in 1939 from the playing of Lee County, Mississippi, fiddler W.E. Claunch. “Wagoner” was Kentucky fiddler John M. Salyer’s (1882-1952) favorite tune, according to his son Grover. Guthrie Meade lists 24 early recordings of various “Wagoner”-titled tunes on 78 RPM, including Uncle Am Stuart (1924), Doc Roberts & Dick Parman (1927), Reaves’ White County Ramblers (1928), Jilson Setters (1928, performing as Blind Bill Day), Eck Robertson (1929), Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers (1930), and Fiddlin’ John Carson (1934).

Harry Smith (Folkways FA2951, 1952) writes regarding Jilson Setters’ recording: “The use of the guitar became widespread in this country about 1900; probably as a result of cultural exchange during the Spanish-American War. It is noticeable in this recording (and most performances of violin and guitar) that more extreme variations in the accenting and rhythm of the original theme occur than take place in violin-banjo combinations or unaccompanied violin performances. ‘Wagoner’ can be located in any standard volume of American country dance tunes. The biography of Jilson Setters, a blind Kentuckian who, his sight restored, went to England and played for George the Fifth, is found in The Singin’ Fiddler of Lost Hope Hollow by Jean Thoms (Dutton, 1938).”

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - The Dillards with Byron Berline [Brody]; Tony Gilmore (Jefferson City, Missouri) [Christeson]; Charlie Higgins (Galax, Va.) [Krassen, 1973]; Jilson Setters {AKA J.W. Day} (Ashland, Kentucky) [Krassen, 1983]; Uncle Am Stuart (Morristown, Tennessee) [Krassen, 1983]; S.A. McReynolds (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) [Thede]; Eddie Hulsey (Osage County, Oklahoma) [Thede]; Martin Thomas (Major County, Oklahoma) [Thede]; Marr (elderly fiddler from Missouri, 1949) [Bayard]; Mark O'Connor [Reiner & Anick]; Walter McNew (Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County, Ky., 1990) [Titon]; John M. Salyer (Salyersville, Magoffin County, Ky., 1941-42) [Titon]; Stuart Williams (Seattle) [Silberberg].

Printed sources : - E.F. Adam (Old Time Fiddlers Favorite Barn Dance Tunes), 1928, No. 38, p. 16. Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; Appendix No. 21, pp. 580 581. Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; p. 283. R.P. Christeson (Old Time Fiddlers Repertory, vol. 1), 1973; p. 40. Stephen F. Davis (Devil's Box), vol. 25, No. 1, Spring 1991; p. 19. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; p. 28 (two versions). Krassen (Appalachian Fiddle), 1973; p. 76. Krassen (Masters of Old-Time Fiddle), 1983; p. 26 and pp.17 18 (two versions). Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 250. Reiner & Anick (Old Time Fiddling Across America), 1989; pp. 144 146 (includes variations). Ruth (Pioneer Western Folk Tunes), 1948; No. 14, p. 7. Shaw (Cowboy Dances), 1943; p. 387. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 162. Susan Songer with Clyde Curley (Portland Collection vol. 3), 2015; 219. Thede (The Fiddle Book), 1967; pp. 34 35 (three versions). Titon (Old Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes), 2001; No. 163A & B, pp. 188-189.

Recorded sources : - Caney Mountain Records CEP 210 (privately issued extended play LP), Lonnie Robertson (Mo.), c. 1965 66. Conqueror 7975 (78 RPM), Doc Roberts (Ky.). County 202, “Eck Robertson: Famous Cowboy Fiddler” (1991). County 527, Eck Robertson (West Texas) "Old Time Fiddle Classics, vol. 2". County 707, Norman Soloman "Texas Fiddle Favorites." County 720, Joe Drye – “The Mountain Ramblers” (1969). Elektra EKS 7285, The Dillards with Byron Berline "Pickin' and Fiddlin.'" Field Recorder Collective FRC714, "Tom Fuller:Traditional Fiddling from Oklahoma and Texas" (2015). Folkways FA 2952, Jilson Setters - "American Folk Music." Marimac 9060, Jim Bowles – “Railroad Through the Rocky Mountains” (1994). Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers' Association 007, Charlie Walden - "Draggin' the Bow" (1985). Missouri StateOld Time Fiddlers' Association, Cyril Stinnett (1912-1986) - "Plain Old Time Fiddling." Paramount 3009 (78 RPM), Doc Roberts (1927). Rounder 0005, “Snuffy Jenkins and Pappy Sherril: Thirty Years of Pickin’ and Pluckin’” (1971). Rounder 0074, Highwoods String Band "No. 3 Special" (1976). Rounder 0137, Mark O'Connor "Soppin' the Gravy." Rounder 0157, Art Galbraith – “Simple Pleasures: Old Time Fiddling from the Ozarks” (c. 1986). Vetco 506, Fiddlin' Van Kidwell "Midnight Ride" (appears as "Tennessee Wagon"). Victor 21353 (78 RPM), Jilson Setters (as Blind Bill Day, b. 1860, Rowan County, Ky.), 1928. Voyager 309, Benny and Jerry Thomasson "The Weiser Reunion: A Jam Session" (1993). Vocalion 14840, Uncle Am Stuart (b. 1856, Morristown, Tenn.—recorded in 1924 as “Waggoner”). Edden Hammons Collection, Disc 2. In the repertoire of Uncle Jimmy Thompson, 1848 1931 (Texas, Tenn.).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
See Austin Rodgers' transcription of Eck Robertson's recording [2]
See/hear versions on [3] Hear Allen Sisson's recording at Slippery Hill [4]
Hear John Salyer's recording at Slippery Hill [5]
Hear Tom Fuller's 1973 field recording at Slippery Hill [6]

Back to Wagoner (1)

(0 votes)