Five Miles to Town

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FIVE MILES TO TOWN. Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, Cumberland Plateau region of Ky./Tenn. D Major. Standard or ADae (if played in the key of D) tunings (fiddle). ABB'. A different tune than either the Missouri "Five Miles Out of Town," Thede's "Five Miles from Town," or Clyde Davenport's "Five Miles from Town." Source John Sharp (1894-1964) was originally from Wayne County, Kentucky, where he was born in one of the oldest log structures in the region. He lived in Sharp Place, northeast of Jamestown, Tennessee, and was a logger and farmer who only lived out of the region once in his life, a short stay in Iowa. Sharp and another neighbor, Virgil Anderson, a banjo player, formed the group the Kentucky Wildcats and toured coal camps during the Depression, later settling into a routine of local gigs at dances, reunions and rallies at Picket State Park [see W. Calvin Dickson, Rural Life and Culture in the Upper Cumberland, pp. 292-293]. He was recorded in the field on a home disc recorder in 1949 by his neighbor, World War I hero Sergeant Alvin York (who also recorded Sharp again in 1964, just before the fiddler died, on a tape recorder). Sharp had learned some of his music from his father.

Source for notated version: John Sharp (Sharp Place, Tennessee) [Milliner & Koken].

Printed sources: Milliner & Koken (Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes), 2011; p. 203.

Recorded sources: County 787, John Sharp Band (the Kentucky Wildcats) - "Five Miles Out of Town: Traditional Music from the Cumberland Plateau, vol. 2" (originally a home recording of 1949).




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