Notes on the Tunes

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6. Cripple Creek

Bruce Greene plays this rendition learned from Chester Nolan, a Harlan, Kentucky resident, who roomed with the famed Kentucky fiddler, Doc Roberts, at Berea College in the 1920’s. Doc Roberts, whose smooth commercial recordings influenced generations of southern fiddlers, learned much of his repertory from African American fiddler Owen Walker. Cripple Creek flows through Grayson Co and Carroll Co, Virginia emptying into the New River. Many years ago, says Betty Vornbrock, well known fiddler from Hillsville, Virginia, hunters were stalking a big buck elk over Buck Mt., along Elk Creek and on up north until they finally shot him, only to cripple him at a creek, which thereafter was called by that name. The particular age of this tune is not known, but it illustrates that for every common, recognizable tune promoted by the recording industry, there are other fine versions consigned to relative obscurity.

Chris’ fiddle GDAE : Whitt’s banjo dGDF#A : Joe - guitar