Yellow Gals

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YELLOW GAL(S). Old Time, Breakdown. A Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Yellow is a term applied to light-skinned African Americans or those with mulatto coloring, and "Yellow Gal" is a phrase that dates back to at least the mid-19th century where it appears in black-face minstrel songs. There is apparently a tune by this name (not printed in Phillips) that is cognate with "Buffalo Gals (1)," popularized by Eugene Edwards. The title appears in a list of traditional Ozarks Mountains fiddle tunes compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, published in 1954. It is perhaps the “Yeller Gal” tune that was in the repertoire of fiddler and Confederate veteran Arnold A. Parrish (Willow Springs, Wake County, N.C.), as recorded by the old Raleigh News and Observer. Parrish was a contestant at fiddler’s conventions held in Raleigh prior to World War I. While there are several tunes and songs called "Yellow Gal," the fiddle tune most often associated with the name comes from Missouri fiddler Ron Hughey.

Source for notated version: Pete Sutherland (Vt.) [Phillips]; Ron Hughey (1914-1973, South Greenfield, Missouri) [Beisswenger & McCann].

Printed sources: Beisswenger & McCann (Ozarks Fiddle Tunes), 2008; p. 192. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 262.

Recorded sources: Marimac 9054, The Ill-Mo Boys - "Fine As Frog Hair" (1995). Silver Circle 002, Doug Phillips & Hilary Dirlam - "Wagoner."

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]




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