Format Audio Recordings
Contributors Jabbour, Alan
Reed, Henry
Dates 1967
Location Giles County
Glen Lyn
United States
Language English
Subjects Appalachian Region
Fiddle Tunes
Field Recordings
Folk Music
Instrumental Music
Greasy String
Contributor Names
Jabbour, Alan (Transcriber)
Jabbour, Alan (Collector)
Reed, Henry, 1884-1968 (Performer)
Created / Published
Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, May 6, 1967
Subject Headings
-  Instrumental music
-  Fiddle tunes
-  Folk music--Appalachian Region
-  Breakdowns
-  Reels
-  Ethnography
-  Music
-  Field recordings
-  United States -- Virginia -- Giles County -- Glen Lyn
Field recordings
-  Meter: 4/4
-  Compass: 12
-  Key: G
-  Strains: 2 (high-low, 4-2)
-  Performed by Henry Reed, fiddle.
-  Rendition: 1r-2r-1r-2r-1r-2r-1r-2r-1r-tag
-  Phrase Structure: ABA'C QC (abcd a'bef qb'ef)
-  Stylistic features: Syncopated.
-  Recording chronology: 107
-  Related Tune(s): Dinah
-  Related Tune(s): Liza Jane
-  Duration: 1 minute, 49 seconds
-  "Greasy String" is known by that title in versions scattered across southwestern Virginia and West Virginia. But under other titles the tune has turned up across an even wider swath of the country, from Virginia to Texas and Missouri. Some typical multiple versions are in Ford, Traditional Music of America, p. 122 "Seneca Square Dance," p. 62 "Old Raccoon," p. 7 "Running from the Federals," and p. 101 "Hell among the Yearlin's"; Adam, Old Time Fiddlers' Favorite Barn Dance Tunes #14, "Raccoon's Tail"; Thede, The Fiddle Book, p. 127 "Coon Dog" (or "Raccoon's Tail"), p. 136 "Heel Flies" (or "Rock Along John to Kansas"); Ruth, Pioneer Western Folk Tunes, p. 7 "Get Away from the Federals, or Fall of Paris"; "Shoot the Turkey Buzzard," played by J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers (King 819). It is but a small step to a yet wider circle of related tunes, such as the "Liza Jane" of Southern Piedmont, minstrel stage, and jazz band circulation, or another tune in Henry Reed's repertory, set in the key of A, that he called "Dinah." In short, the tune is cut of a cloth so common in the Upper South, and in musical domains touched by the influence of the Upper South, that it could be described as a paradigmatic Southern tune, appearing in so many related versions, allied forms, and modified guises that it almost defies genetic tracing.
Audio tape
Call Number
AFC 1969/008: AFS 13703B07
Source Collection
Alan Jabbour duplication project, part 2
American Folklife Center
Digital Id

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Alan Jabbour duplication project, part 1 (AFC 1967/007), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Alan Jabbour duplication project, part 2 (AFC 1969/008), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Fiddle tunes of the old frontier: the Henry Reed collection online presentation (AFC 1999/016), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

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