Old Time Music

Richmond Cotillion

Emmett Lundy (1864-1953) of Galax, VA spoke of his ancestors who emigrated from England in 1687. Whether there was fiddling among them is unclear, but in his late teens Emmett began hounding a local fiddler named Greenberry Leonard, born in the first decade of the 19th century. In a 1941 interview with Elizabeth Lomax for the Library of Congress, Emmett claims to have worked very hard “catching” tunes from Leonard. Near the end of Leonard’s life, he told Emmett that he was the only one of the fiddlers in the area who “tracked him down.” The effect this had on Emmett’s playing gave him a more archaic sound that many of the other fiddlers in the area. Listening to the interview, we are presented with a highly opinionated fiddler who dismissed three-finger fiddlers and detested those who used different tunings as “cheaters,” except for “Bonaparte’s Retreat” for which he re-tuned his fiddle to ddad. Richmond Cotillion here has not the same melody as the more popular dance tune by this name played by Tommy Jarrell. Chris fiddle: gdae, Mark banjo, Barb guitar.
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