Notes on the Tunes

3 play 4 5
previous track play sample next track tracklist

13. Dan Tucker

Dan Emmett (b. 1815) composed this song at age 15 at the 4th of July celebrations on the village green in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. The tune may have been borrowed from Black musicians, but in 1842 Emmett introduced his minstrel show to an eager New York City crowd. In March 1942 folklorist John Work sought to preserve part of the Black Stringband tradition by recording a dozen tunes from fiddler Frank Patterson and banjoist Nathan Frazier, then living in Nashville. They came from a tradition of Black square dances played for White audiences and had a reputation for hard driving rhythms that no guitarist could sustain. Their introduction at the 75th anniversary of Fisk University in Nashville in 1941 ends with “Frank Patterson’s repertory is so large that he usually wears down two, three, or more guitar players at one sitting.” (Liner notes for “Altamont: Black Stringband Music from the Library of Congress.”)

Chris’ gourd banjo aDADE