Old Time Music

Bonaparte's Retreat

Melvin Wine fans know the story of when he was 9 years old and wanted to play this one tune his father played on the fiddle. It was the only tune he wanted to play and if he could play that one, he would be happy. So when the family was away, he snuck his dad’s fiddle out of the drawer and “played till I could tell what Iz a playin’.” Then one day he asked his mother if he could play dad’s fiddle. “I’ll be careful,” he said. So he “played it till she could tell what Iz a playin’.” So one day Bob, his father, was playing that tune. Mom said “Melvin can play that a little bit on the fiddle.” “WHAT,” cried Bob. “I thought I was gonna get hit. He was awful strict on us kids, but he didn’t say nothin’; he just dobbed the fiddle on over to me and I played it till he could tell what Iz a playin’. From then on he helped me.” This is that tune. It has a different melody, from the “Bonaparte’s Retreat” many fiddlers know, yet with a story like that, who can argue that it is not “Bonaparte’s Retreat.” Chris fiddle: gdgd.
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