Top of page

Audio Recording Leather Britches

Leather Britches

About this Item


  • Leather Britches


  • Jabbour, Alan (Transcriber)
  • Jabbour, Alan (Collector)
  • Jabbour, Karen Singer (Collector)
  • Reed, Henry, 1884-1968 (Performer)

Created / Published

  • Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, June 18, 1966


  • -  Instrumental music
  • -  Fiddle tunes
  • -  Folk music--Appalachian Region
  • -  Breakdowns
  • -  Reels
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  Music
  • -  Field recordings
  • -  United States -- Virginia -- Giles County -- Glen Lyn


  • Ethnography
  • Music
  • Field recordings


  • -  Meter: 4/4
  • -  Key: G
  • -  Strains: 3 (low-middle-high, 4-4-4)
  • -  Rendition: 1r-2-3-2-1r-2-3-2-1
  • -  Phrase Structure: ABAC QRQS A'B'A'C' (abac abde qrqs qrts a'b'a'c' a'b'd'e')
  • -  Compass: 16
  • -  Stylistic features: Separate and slurred strokes in bowing.
  • -  "Leather Britches," a well-known reel in British and American tradition, is probably Scottish in origin. An eighteenth-century Scottish version in Gow's Collection of Slow Airs, Strathspeys and Reels (ca. 1795) is called "Lord Macdonald's Reel," the name under which it usually appears (with or without "lord") in nineteenth-century tune collections. One Thousand Fiddle Tunes, p. 22, is a typical set. The title "Leather Britches" (or "Breeches") is primarily an American title; it appears in sets from Pennsylvania (Bayard, Hill Country Tunes, #1) and West Virginia (Artley, "The West Virginia Country Fiddler," p. 38) to points west and is now widely distributed on the contest fiddle circuit. But there may be an Irish connection to the title; see Roche, Collection of Irish Airs, Marches, and Dance Tunes vol. 2, 20 (#240) "O the Breeches Full of Stitches" and Petrie, The Complete Collection of Irish Music #473 "The Breeches on."In the Appalachian South the term "Leather Britches" is also used to describe string beans strung on strings and hung up on porches to dry. Fiddlers are attracted to the rolling arpeggios of the tune, which involve bowing as well as fingering challenges, and think of "Leather Britches" as a lively showpiece. Most printed versions have two strains, but Henry Reed's version is not alone in adding a third strain that essentially repeats the low strain an octave higher; see also Ford, Traditional Music of America, p. 48; Thomas, Devil's Ditties, pp. 134-5; Adam, Old Time Fiddlers' Favorite Barn Dance Tunes, #33.
  • -  Performed by Henry Reed, fiddle.
  • -  Spoken: HENRY REED: You want to try, try a little bit of that?/ALAN JABBOUR: Alright./HENRY REED: My arm gives out on me./ALAN JABBOUR: I know./HENRY REED: I hurt that arm one time, right in the shoulder./ALAN JABBOUR: Oh really?/HENRY REED: And it gives out on m
  • -  Recording chronology: 008
  • -  Duration: 1 minute, 46 seconds


  • Audio tape

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1967/007: AFS 13034B36

Source Collection

  • Alan Jabbour duplication project, part 1


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • audio

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17, U.S.C.) or any other restrictions in the material in this collection, except as noted below. Users should keep in mind that the Library of Congress is providing access to these materials strictly for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other holders of rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. See our Legal Notices for additional information and restrictions.

The Center asks that researchers approach the materials in this collection with respect for the culture and sensibilities of the people whose lives, ideas, and creativity are documented here. Researchers are also reminded that privacy and publicity rights may pertain to certain uses of this material.

Photographs in this collection produced by Carl Fleischhauer, Karen Singer Jabbour, and Kit Olson are reproduced here with their permission. Mr. Fleischhauer does not object to additional use of the photos he created provided he is credited as the photographer. Persons contemplating other kinds of uses or use of the other photographers' work should contact the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Credit line

Please cite the source collection title, collection number, and repository, for example:

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

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Jabbour, Alan, Alan Jabbour, Karen Singer Jabbour, and Henry Reed. Leather Britches. Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, 1966. Audio.

APA citation style:

Jabbour, A., Jabbour, A., Jabbour, K. S. & Reed, H. (1966) Leather Britches. Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Jabbour, Alan, et al. Leather Britches. Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, 1966. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.