Notes on the Tunes

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This tune has both British and Irish antecedents, from “two sets in Henry Beck’s Flute Book [1786], entitled ‘Anson’s Voyage’ and ‘Farewell to Country Friends.’” The more common title in Irish and American collections is “The Fairy Dance.” (Jabbour) He lists ten additional printed collections from 1801 to 1944 having the same or similar melody, including Wilkinson’s Virginia Dance Tunes, p.5 “Old Molly Hyar.” Kuntz says it directly evolved from the Scottish melody, “Largo’s Fairy Dance” claimed by famed Scottish fiddler Neal Gow (1763-1831). Most of these variations begin with the low strain, which is the B-part of this Southern tune. Whitt has picked a setting from Georgia’s Fiddlin’ John Carson, who recorded his first tunes in 1923. Within a month the record sold 500 copies in the Atlanta area and landed him a recording session in New York City the next year.

Whitt’s fiddle ADAE : Chris’ gourd banjo aDADE : Laura - feet