Annotation:Walk along John (1)

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X:1 T:Walk Along John (Song version) C:J.P. Carter S:Songs of the Virginia Serenaders (Boston, 1844) M:2/4 L:1/8 K:G "Verse"A>B A>B|A>A AF|AA GG|DD FA/A/| A>B A>B|A>A AF|AA G G/G/|DD (FA)|| "Chorus"A/A/ B c>c|cA G2|BB G>B|DF G2|| "Instrumental fill"d/>B/G/>B/ d/>B/G/>B/|d/>B/G/>B/ d2|c/>A/F/>A/ c/>A/F/>A/|c/>A/F/>A/ c2| GABc|dcB z|c/>A/B/>G/ Ec|B/>G/A/>F/ G2||

WALK ALONG JOHN [1]. AKA and see “Come Along John,” "Johnny Walk along with Your Paper Collar on." American, Reel (cut time). USA; Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Thede): AABB (Christeson, Phillips): AA’BB’ (Beisswenger & McCann). The regionally very popular "Walk along John" appears to some to be a Mid West variant of "Stony Point (1)," although the resemblance seems strained at best to others. It 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 it was commercially recorded in the 78 RPM era by Luke Highnight and His Ozark Strutters (1928) and Bob Miller and his Hinky Dinkers (1929). “Walk Along John” is one of the ‘100 essential Missouri fiddle tunes’ according to Missouri fiddler Charlie Walden, although each fiddler seems to have his own variant. A minstrel song called “Walk Along John” or “Come Along, John,” was published in 1844 (music and words attributed to J.P. Carter of the Virginia Serenaders in their published songbook, although it also states it is “an Old Sourthern Refrain”), perhaps based on an African-American ‘corn (shucking) song’ called “Shock Along John.” It begins:

All de way from ole Car-li-na,
For to see my old Aunt Di-nah;
Says I ole lady how’s de goose,
De Jay bird jump on the Martin’s roost.

Walk Along John, the fifer’s son,
Ain’t you glad your day’s work’s done.

It was popular enough to be employed in the 1844 Presidential race between Henry Clay (Kentucky) and James K. Polk (Tennessee), with each side sculpting the lyric:

Walk along John, you can't stay,
The people's choice is Harry Clay ... [Whig]


Walk along John, you can't stay,
The people's choice is Jimmy K. ... [Democrat]

The music is reproduced in abc format below. According to Beisswenger & McCann (2008) this song was absorbed into play-party tradition (collected in Indiana [Wolford, 1919]), and in the Ozarks in 1942 (where it had been learned in the 1880’s), although it was not musically related to the old-time breakdown called “Walk along John.” However, a second song that developed in tradition, called “Walk along John with your paper collar on,” which does have a melody that is similar to the breakdown “Walk along John (1).” It has the lyric:

Johnny walk along with your paper collar on,
Ain’t you mighty glad your day’s work’s done.

See also the related first stain of Kentucky fiddler Emma Lee Dickerson's "Texas John."

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - African American fiddler Bill Driver (Miller County, Missouri) [Christeson]; W.S. Collins (Pottawatomie County,Oklahoma) [Thede]; Tony Thomas and Bruce Molsky with Bob Carlin [Phillips]; Lee Stoneking (1907–1992, originally from Henry County, Missouri) [Beisswenger & McCann]; Ellis Cowan (Missouri & Lynden, Washington) [Williams].

Printed sources : - Beisswenger & McCann (Ozarks Fiddle Music), 2008; p. 145. Thomas Briggs ((Instructions for the Banjo), 1855; p. 18. R.P. Christeson (Old Time Fiddler's Repertory, vol. 1), 1973; p. 91. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 251 (two versions). Thede (The Fiddle Book), 1967; p. 135. Stuart Williams (Evergreen Fiddler vol. 2), 2006; p. 20.

Recorded sources : - Graphic Recording, Lee Stoneking – “Missouri Old Time Fiddlin’” (c. 1970’s). Heritage 060, Bud Hunt – "Music of the Ozarks" (Brandywine, 1984). Library of Congress AFS 05378 A03, Lon Jordan (1941). Rounder 0157, Art Galbraith (Springfield, Mo.) – "Simple Pleasures." Rounder 0197, Bob Carlin – "Banging and Sawing" (1985. Learned from Tom Fuller {Okla.} via Brad Leftwich).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
See/hear the minstrel version played by the Camptown Shakers on [2]
Hear Arkansas fiddler Os Scholes field recording at Slippery Hill [3]
Hear Texas fiddler Thomas Jefferson "Duck" Wootan's 1958 home recording at Slippery Hill [4]
Hear Arkansas fiddler Lon Jordan's 1941 field recording at Slippery Hill [5]
Hear Missouri/Washington State fiddler Ellis Cowan's 1966 field recording at Slippery Hill [6]

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