Barlow Knife (1)
X:1 T:Barlow Knife  M:C| L:1/8 S:Kuntz - Ragged But Right K:G ef|g2 gg fgaf|g2 g2 d2 (g2|g2) bg f2 af|efge d2ef| g2gg fgaf|g2g2d2(g2|g2) bg f2 af|efge d2 (3Bcd|| e2 d2 BABd|e2 dB G2 g2|efed BAGB|A2 G2 G2 (e2|e)fed BABd|e2 dB G2g2| efed BAGB|A2 G2 G2 (A2||A2) Ad BA G2|A2 d2 G2 (A2|A2) Ad BAGB| A2 G2 G2 (A2|A2) Ad BA G2|A2 d2 G2 (A2|A2) Ad BAGB|A2 G2 G2||
BARLOW KNIFE . AKA and see "Blue Goose (1)," "Cabin Creek (1)." Old-Time Breakdown and Song. USA, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi. G Major (most versions, but also played in the key of D). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Silberberg): AABB: AABBCC (Johnson, Phillips). A barlow knife is a type of folding pocket knife that features double or single blades that open at one end only. The knife-style bears the name of a man named Barlow of Sheffield, England, one of the earliest and most famous makers.
I been livin' here all my life,
All I got is a Barlow Knife;
Buck horn handle and a Barlow blade,
Best dang knife that ever was made.
I've been married all my life,
And all I've got is a Barlow knife.
Glen Lyn, Virginia, fiddler Henry Reed called the tune "Cabin Creek," and fiddle players have tended to use that title (banjo players more frequently refer to it as "Barlow Knife"). Jeff Titon (2001) says a variant of the tune is "I've Got a Grandpa," and Kentucky fiddler Buddy Thomas played another variant under the title "Blue Goose." Mark Wilson reports that it was called "Boatin' Up Sandy" (somewhat of a floating title-it has been attached to several tunes) in the Portsmouth, Ohio, region. Titon concludes that the tune was fairly widespread in the South under the "Barlow" title and variants. See also the related "Josie-O/Josie Girl".
Nigel Gatherer has found melodic strains similar to "Barlow Knife" in two old Scottish manuscripts. The earliest, the Straloch MS. (1627) contains a tune called "Old Man (The)," while the second, the Skene MS (c. 1640) has a more developed version under the title "Long Er Onie Old Man."
Sources for notated versions: music from Henry Reed (Glen Lyn, Va., who called the tune "Cabin Creek) and words from Oscar Wright (Appalachin, W.Va.) via the Fuzzy Mountain String Band (N.C.) [Kuntz]; Danny Gardella [Phillips]; home recordings of John Salyer (Salyersville, Magoffin County, Ky., 1941 or 1942) [Titon]; Mel Durham [Silberberg].
Printed sources: Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; pg. 35. S. Johnson (The Kitchen Musician No. 4: Collection of Fine Tunes), 1983 (revised 1991, 2001); p. 5. Krassen (Appalachian Fiddle), 1973; p. 25-26. Kuntz (Ragged but Right), 1987; pg. 297-298. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), 1994; p. 19. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 5. Spadaro (10 Cents a Dance), 1980; p. 30. Titon (Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes), 2001; No. 4, p. 35.
Recorded sources: Augusta Heritage AHR012, Ernie Carpenter - "Old Time Fiddling of Braxton County" (1992). Biograph 6007, Ebenezer- "Tell It to Me." Davis Unlimited DU-33002, Norman Edmonds - "Train on the Island." Kanawha 311, Alan Jabbour (appears as "Cabin Creek"). Roane RR104, Franklin George - "Reflections of the Past" (1995). Rounder Records 0035, The Fuzzy Mountain String Band- "Summer Oaks and Porch" (1973). Wildbeest WB004, Juggernaut String Band - "Greasy Coat" (198?).
See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources