Big Mule (The)

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 Theme code Index    5L111 1565
 Also known as    Duck River
 Composer/Core Source    
 Region    United States
 Genre/Style    Old-Time
 Meter/Rhythm    Reel (single/double)
 Key/Tonic of    D
 Accidental    2 sharps
 Mode    Ionian (Major)
 Time signature    
 History    USA(Upland South)
 Structure    AA'BCC'
 Editor/Compiler    Jeff Titon
 Book/Manuscript title    Old Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes
 Tune and/or Page number    No. 6, p. 37
 Year of publication/Date of MS    2001
 Title of recording    
 Record label/Catalogue nr.    
 Year recorded    
 Score   ()   

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BIG MULE, THE. Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, Kentucky. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'BCC'. Jeff Titon (2001) identifies this melody as in the same family of tunes as "Old Dubuque" (that also includes the tunes "Duck River," "Fiddling Phil," "Five Miles From Town (2)," "General Lee," "Phiddlin' Phil" and "Sally in the Green Corn.") Tom Verdot believes this family may have been derived from an 1840's minstrel tune called "Coonie in the Holler" Titon says a less closely related tune is Milo Bigger's (Glasgow, Kentucky) "Scott's Return." "Big Mule" was also in the repertoire of Kentucky fiddler Street Butler, who said his source was a man named Charley Latham. The melody features a 'crooked' or irregularly measured 'B' part.

Source for notated version: a field recording by Bruce Greene of the playing of W. L. "Jake" Phelps (Elkton, Todd County, Ky., 1973) [Titon].

Printed source: Titon (Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes), 2001; No. 6, p. 37.