Monday, April 8, 2013

North Carolina Breakdown

    Here's a great jam song, often heard at the Brew Pub Jam, and recently exported to England courtesy of Rachel Eddy, at a short course at Kingham Hill called, appropriately enough, Sore Fingers. North Carolina Breakdown, as far as I can tell, it is completely an instrumental with no lyrics.  It was composed in the US rather than inherited from Scotland or Ireland (just about all Scotch Irish fiddle tunes have words, by the way).   It is attributed to Fiddling' Arthur Smith and the Dixieliners.  According to an article in Wikipedia, Arthur was actually born in Tennessee rather than North Carolina, and became a performer with the Grand Ole Opry in 1927.  The Dixieliners were formed a few years later.   He hung around famous luminaries such as Uncle Dave Macon (who readers of this blog will recognize as the Patron Saint of clawhammer banjo players), the McKee Brothers and the Delmore Brothers, an early blues group.    Other songs made famous by the Dixieliners include Chittlin' Cookin' Time in Cheatham County, There's More Pretty Girls Than One, and Beautiful Brown Eyes.  The Dixieliners played well into the 1960's and made an appearance at the famous Newport Festival in 1965.

    From the mandolin tab (transplanted  from the UK, appropriately enough), the chords go kind of like this:

Part A
G   G  C/G   D

G   G  C/G  D-G

Part B
C  C    G     G  

C  C  C/G D-G

I have not played much of a C in the third and seventh measures of the A-Part, really it's just a G chord as far as my tin ear can tell, but others with more discerning sensibilities are invited to comment.