This week’s video is of a tune that came to us from a Doc Watson recording from 1984. Doc and Merle Watson put out many great albums from 1964 until Merle’s tragic death in 1985, and their “Down South” recording is one of my favorites. That’s where we got this tune. Doc’s version (the song probably dates back to before Doc’s time) has lyrics, which we don’t sing; in essence the protagonist of the song is complaining about marriage, and is asking to get his 15 cents back so he can “go home to Mammy” (maybe 15 cents was the price of a marriage license way back when?). Anyway, we decided to turn the song into a fiddle tune, and it turned out to be really fun to play. Many fiddle tunes started out as songs with words (like Soldier’s Joy, Cripple Creek, Old Joe Clark, etc.), and in that spirit we thought this tune might make a nice addition to the fiddle tune repertoire.
This video was recorded at the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown, CT on March 28, 2012. It’s a great little cultural oasis, with live music, theater, dance, poetry and art presented regularly in an intimate, welcoming space. Thanks to Anne-Marie Cannata for having us, and to Dave Gumbart for the fine video work.