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3. Flying Indian

There are at least two tunes by this name. One is from Knauff's Virginia Reels; not our current tune, but at least we know the name, perhaps a floating title, is early. There is, however an Indian legend (or perhaps a white man's legend masquerading as one) from Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Blowing Rock is a cliff above the Johns River Gorge where strong upwelling winds have spawned the story of a young “brave, “who, despondent over unrequited love, threw himself off the precipice. The maiden, having learned of this, prayed at the cliff edge until the wind carried him back “into her arms.” Interesting, but nothing to do with our tune. The late Ray Alden collected this tune from Clarice Blackard Shelor, who played it on piano, having learned it from an organist from Richmond. Clarice was so captivated by it, that she stayed up all night humming it so as not to forget. It was issued on the Heritage LP (XXII) “Eight Miles Apart – Old Time Music from Patrick and Carroll County, Virginia” featuring the 1975 recordings of the Kimble and Shelor families, including Clarice (piano),her nephew Bill (fiddle) and Jimmy (guitar). (Blech) Originally in the key of F, we play it in G relative tunings a half step low. We speculate that the “Flying Indian” was once a sailing ship (think Flying Dutchman or Flying Cloud) with a larger than life figurehead of some “Noble Savage” under the bowsprit. The ship Indian Princess sported a seven foot figurehead of its namesake over the cutwater and Delaware Chief Tamanend, friend to William Penn in the late 1600s, graced the bow of the USS Delaware in the1820s. And just to add to the mysteries of tune provenances, there is much speculation from those engage in that fine art, that the name is a corruption of “Flyin' Engine” rather than a vernacular “Flyin' Injin.” (Blech)

Chris' Strad F#C#G#D# (GDAE)
Mark's Minstrel Banjo f#C#F#A#C# (dGDGA)