West Virginia Girls

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WEST VIRGINIA GIRLS. AKA and see "Last Three Drops." American, Reel (cut time). USA, West Virginia. A Mixolydian/Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The tune was an un-named tune in Glen Lyn, Virginia, fiddler Henry Reed's (1886-1968) repertoire, named "West Virginia Gals" by the Hollow Rock String Band in 1974 for their recording. It may be related to a version of "Fire on the Mountain", said West Virginia fiddler Frank George, who thought it similar to a tune of that name played by his mentor, Jim Farthing. Krassen (1973) noted similarities to "Arkansas Sheik (The)," although the closeness of that resemblance is more marked in some versions of that tune than others, and said that in Pocahontas County, W.Va., the tune is called "Last Three Drops" (although this cannot be verified elsewhere). See also the similar "Hobart's Transformation."

The "West Virginia Gals" released on Brunswick 317 (78 RPM, 1929) by Al Hopkins & His Buckle Busters [1] is a moderately paced song based on an unrelated Irish air.

Source for notated version: Henry Reed (1886-1968, Glen Lyn, Va.) collected in 1966 by Alan Jabbour [Krassen]. Reed said he had no name for the tune, but musicologist Jabbour believes the high strain to be an instrumental version of an old Appalachian song called "If You Want to go a-Courtin'" (see Cecil Sharp's English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, vol. 2, 6, #75-A).

Printed sources: Krassen (Appalachian Fiddle), 1973; p. 39.

Recorded sources: Library of Congress, AFS 13037A08 (1967). Rounder 0024, "The Hollow Rock String Band" (1974).

See also listing at:
Hear Henry Reed's 1966 field recording by Alan Jabbour at Slippery Hill [1]
See Alan Jabbour's manuscript transcription of Henry Reed's unnamed version [2]




Back to West Virginia Girls[edit]

  1. Document 8041, "The Hill Billies/Al Hopkins and His Buckle Busters: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, vol. 3.”