Bonaparte Crossing the Rocky Mountains
BONAPARTE CROSSING THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. AKA and see "Battle of Waterloo," "Bonaparte Crossing the Alps," "Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine ," "Bonaparte's March ," "Caledonia March." Old-Time, Breakdown. A Aeolian (Am). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The title is perhaps comes from a garbled transmission of "Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine," or perhaps a deliberate Americanism. There's a story about this tune in Allen H. Eaton, Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands (1937, repr. Dover 1973). Tunes at a Knoxville fiddlers' convention included "Napolean Crossing the Rocky Mountains, which several contestants chose to render. This tune seemed to be a particular favorite and one which it was stated was local to that part of Tennessee. This, however, proved to be an error, for it was found to be also popular in parts of North Carolina and in Kentucky. Dean WIlliam Jesse Baird of Berea College heard it in Pine Mountain and tells this story about it: 'Uncle John' delighted in playing for visitors and sooner or later he would say, 'Now, I want to play you my favorite; I calls hit Napolean Crossing the Rocky Mountains.' One day a teacher at Pine Mountain said, 'Uncle John, you mean Napolean Crossing the Alps'. 'I don't know, maybe I do,' he replied. Sometime later he was playing for a visitor and at his usual point announced, 'Now I want to play you my favorite; I calls hit Napolean Crossing the Rockies. Some folks say Napolean never crossed the Rockies, that he crossed the Alps, but historians differ on that point'".
Printed source: Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 51.
Recorded source: Kicking Mule 209, Bob Carlin- "Melodic Clawhammer Banjo."
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Engraver Valerio M. Pelliccioni