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Audio Recording Hop Light Ladies

Hop Light Ladies

About this Item


  • Hop Light Ladies


  • Jabbour, Alan (Transcriber)
  • Jabbour, Alan (Collector)
  • Reed, Henry, 1884-1968 (Performer)
  • Reed, Gene, 1929-2012 (Performer)

Created / Published

  • Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, May 6, 1967


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


  • Ethnography
  • Music
  • Field recordings


  • -  Meter: 4/4
  • -  Compass: 12
  • -  Key: G
  • -  Rendition: 1r-2r-1r-3r-4-2
  • -  Phrase Structure: ABAC QRQC (abac abde qbqr qbde)--"Hop Light Ladies"; ABAC QRQC (abcd abce qrst qruv)--"Speed the Plow"
  • -  Related Tune(s): Speed the Plow
  • -  Related Tune(s): Speed the Plough
  • -  Henry Reed here makes a four-part tune out of two classic reels from British and American tradition. Apparently, during a period of his youth when he was trying to learn to read music, he saw the two tunes combined in medley fashion on a piece of sheet music he encountered. The first he knew from local tradition as "Hop Light Lady" or "Hop Light Ladies," and his performance of it is in the style of that tune as it is usually played in the Upper South. The second is a separate tune known as "Speed the Plow," which is a standard tune in nineteenth-century tunebooks and in the American North and Midwest, but is hardly ever found in the South. See One Thousand Fiddle Tunes, p. 21, "Speed the Plough," for a typical set, though in the key of A. Both performances of the tune by Henry Reed show a different bowing style for the "Speed the Plow" section of the tune, with more separate bowstrokes and less slurring, reflecting its print origin.Both tunes date back to the British Isles at the beginning of the nineteenth century, if not before. "Hop Light Lady"/"Hop Light Ladies" is a Southern American title, however, associated with some playful verses that have gained wider currency through having been published in the Lomax collection Our Singing Country. That set is from the playing and singing of Fields and Wade Ward of Galax, Virginia, and Aaron Copland took the tune from the Lomax book (as Ruth Crawford Seeger had transcribed it) to use as the second instrumental tune in the "Hoedown" of Aaron Copland's music for Rodeo. The tune was also used in the world of popular music for another song, "Uncle Joe" ("Do you want to go to heaven, Uncle Joe?"), so some fiddlers know it by that title. Outside of the South, the tune is usually called either "McLeod's Reel" or "Miss McCloud's Reel" (see, for example, Stewart-Robertson, Athole Collection, p. 6; One Thousand Fiddle Tunes, p. 29). British sets, print tradition, and some North American sets make it a circular tune, with both strains devolving directly into one another instead of coming to rest after a cadence at the end. But Henry Reed's set is typical of Southern sets in coming to rest on the tonic at the end of each strain.
  • -  Performed by Henry Reed, fiddle.
  • -  Duration: 1 minute, 25 seconds
  • -  Performed by Gene Reed, guitar.
  • -  Strains: 4 (low-high-low-high, 4-4-4-4)
  • -  Spoken: GENE REED: . . . know that./ALAN JABBOUR: I reckon I do, yeah./GENE REED: I say I don't.
  • -  Recording chronology: 111


  • Audio tape

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1969/008: AFS 13703B11

Source Collection

  • Alan Jabbour duplication project, part 2


  • 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, Henry Reed, and Gene Reed. Hop Light Ladies. Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, May 6, 1967. Audio.

APA citation style:

Jabbour, A., Jabbour, A., Reed, H. & Reed, G. (1967) Hop Light Ladies. Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, May 6. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Jabbour, Alan, et al. Hop Light Ladies. Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Giles County, Virginia, May 6, 1967. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.