3 play 4 5
previous track play sample next track tracklist

5. Give the Fiddler a Dram

It seems like every West Virginia and Kentucky fiddler has a tune by this name, probably in recognition that a well lubricated fiddler will be more energetic and play longer. That many of these tunes are different and unrelated is a good indication that many folks discovered this fact over some period of time. This one comes from Kentucky fiddler Luther Strong (1892-1963), who was recorded for the Library of Congress by Alan Lomax in 1937 in Hazard Kentucky. Bruce Greene relates the little known detail that Strong played with an extra long bow, “and he used every bit of it.” (Titon: 218) Luther played this tune in ADAE. However I unknowingly learned it in cross tuning and have kept it in that relative tuning. There is probably no way of knowing how old this, or any of the other “Dram” tunes, is except to conjecture that since fiddlers have been given drams of some spiritous liquor for centuries, it's a safe bet the floating title and at least some of the attached tunes were played on the frontier.

Chris' gut-strung fiddle F#C#F#C# (GDGD)