Ah, the mysteries of finding the origin of a cool fiddle tune.
Here is the story of Redneck Mother – the best I can remember it:
Tony Ludiker and Megan Lynch, around the same time, heard an old recording of Terry Morris playing this tune. There was no name of the tune on the cassette, nor did anyone announce it – as often is the case in jam session and field recordings of fiddle music. Both Tony and Megan liked the tune, and thought it would work well as a Weiser tune of choice. Since they didn’t have a better name for it, they called the tune Terry’s Rag. A year or two later, Norman Solomon made the trek up to Weiser to win the Senior division, and when he heard the tune, he told Tony that the tune is called Redneck Mother. It is my understanding that Norman gave Tony the impression that he had written the tune (although I am happy to be corrected if this is wrong.) Tony then took to calling it Norman’s Rag since Redneck Mother could be offensive to some.
A few years later, I was playing this tune at the American Heritage Music Festival (Jana Jae’s Fiddle Contest) with Gayle Hopson when Gayle told me some extended history on this song. He informed me that Norman didn’t learn it. He said that Norman learned it from Hugh Farr (of Son’s of the Pioneers fame).
And, here is the purported source of the name (recounted from a story by Gayle Hopson) The Farr Brothers (Hugh and Karl Farr) were playing for a group of Texas socialite women. These women were the fanciest of the fancy, in the social scene. And, they had a nickname – the Redneck Mothers. So the Farr Brother’s played a tune they had written by the name of Main Street Rag and one of the ladies asked them the name, and as a joke Hugh responded that the tune was called Redneck Mother. And, from that point on, that was the less polite name of the tune. I did some research and found a tune by the Farr Brothers called Main Street, but it’s not the same tune as Red Neck Mother.
I think it’s a viable theory that this tune came from the Farr Brothers. If you have more information, please send it my way, I would love to add it to this post.
Redneck Mother According to Fiddler’s Companion
TERRY’S RAG. AKA and see “Red Neck Mother.” Old-Time, Country Rag. B Flat Major. Standard tuning. AA’B. Composed by Terry Morris. Source for notated version: Tony Ludiker [Phillips]. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 2, 1995; pg. 143.