West Fork Girls (1)

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WEST FORK GALS/GIRLS [1]. AKA - "Westfort Gals." Old Time, Breakdown. USA; West Virginia, Virginia. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Known as a (central) West Virginia tune. Perlman (1979) thinks it may be related to the Irish reel "The Wexford Lasses" (both title and music?). Clay County, West Virginia, fiddler Wilson Douglas identifies the location of the title as the West Fork of the Little Kanawha river, in West Virginia, and thinks that influential regional (eastern Ky., West Va.) fiddler Ed Haley learned the tune in Clay County, W. Va. The West Fork is where "they used to have their big dances when (his mentor, French Carpenter) was a young man, back when they were logging," states Douglas, who also said that French played the tune in the 1920's along with one Anderson Dawson, who knew Ed Haley. Gerry Milnes says the river flows through Calhoun County, W.Va., and that there is a large, traditional old-time music community in that area. Krassen (1973) notes the tune is popular with fiddlers in the Gilmer County, West Virginia, region.

Sources for notated versions: Fuzzy Mountain String Band (North Carolina) [Brody]; Danny Gardella [Phillips]; French Carpenter via Wilson Douglas (W.Va.) [Phillips].

Printed sources: Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; p. 288. Carlin (English Concertina), 1977; p. 24. Krassen (Appalachian Fiddle), 1973; p. 30. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 254 (two versions). Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 166.

Recorded sources: Fretless 119, Rodney and Randy Miller "Castles in the Air." Marimac AHS#1, Wilson Douglas. Rounder 0024, "Hollow Rock String Band" (1974. Learned from Lee Triplett, Clay County, W.Va.). Rounder 0035, Fuzzy Mountain String Band "Summer Oaks and Porch" (1973. Learned from Ira Mullins & Wilson Douglas, Clay County, W.Va.). Rounder 0047, Wilson Douglas - "The Right Hand Fork of Rush's Creek" (1975). Rounder CD 0392, John Hartford - “Wild Hog in the Red Brush and a Bunch of Others You Might Not Have Heard” (1996. Learned from Wilson Douglas). Shanachie Records 6040, Gerry Milnes & Lorriane Lee Hammond – “Hell Up Coal Holler” (1999). Tennvale 002, Roaring Ramblers "Galax 73."

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear fiddler Frank George's (Roane County, W.Va.) 1976 field recording at Berea Digital Archives [2]




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