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Audio Recording Turkey in the Straw

Turkey in the Straw

About this Item


  • Turkey in the Straw


  • 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


  • -  Key: D
  • -  Meter: 4/4
  • -  Compass: 12
  • -  Strains: 2 (low-high, 4-4)
  • -  Rendition: 1r-2r-1r-2r-1
  • -  Phrase Structure: ABAC QRSC (abcd abc'e c"c"qq' rsc'e)
  • -  Stylistic features: Slurred bowing, high D on E-string.
  • -  Related Tune(s): Natchez under the Hill
  • -  Related Tune(s): Natchez
  • -  Related Tune(s): Old Zip Coon
  • -  Related Tune(s): Jolly is the Miller
  • -  Related Tune(s): The Rose Tree
  • -  "Turkey in the Straw" is by now close to universal as an American fiddle tune, being played not only in the Upper South but in every region of the country. It may have originated in the Upper South, but it is by now so well-circulated that it is not easy to reconstruct its original epicenter. In the nineteenth century it competed with a close cousin, "Old Zip Coon," that had the advantage of minstrel stage promotion, as well as a more distant cousin, "Natchez under the Hill," that was associated with the frontier riverboat scene on the Mississippi and its tributaries. "Old Zip Coon" seems not to have survived the minstrel stage, but "Natchez under the Hill" seems to have lingered well into the twentieth century, despite the competition with "Turkey in the Straw," perhaps because "Natchez under the Hill" is usually in the key of A, while sets of "Turkey in the Straw" are typically in either D or G. Henry Reed's version of "Natchez under the Hill," which he called "Natchez," appears elsewhere in this collection (AFS 13705a35, AFS 13035b07). All these American cousins, together with others such as the play-party song "Jolly Is the Miller," seem to be derived from an eighteenth-century British air often called "The Rose Tree." This lineage is discussed, and many variants are listed, in the notes to American Fiddle Tunes (Library of Congress, AFS L62).
  • -  Performed by Henry Reed, fiddle.
  • -  Spoken: HENRY REED: You know that, don't you?/ALAN JABBOUR: Yeah, I know./WOMAN: "Turkey in the Straw."
  • -  Recording chronology: 021
  • -  Duration: 1 minute, 19 seconds


  • Audio tape

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1967/007: AFS 13033B13

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. Turkey in the Straw. Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, 1966. Audio.

APA citation style:

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

MLA citation style:

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