Beaumont Rag was one of my favorite tunes to play as a teen. It was tricky, and it’s in a flat key (F) and it has really high position notes. To top it off, there’s some cool shuffle bowing – loads of fun.
It’s really a cool tune to play with my dad on tenor banjo, but today I’m playing it solo, because I don’t have any one around this late at night to join me. 🙂
Beaumont Rag according to Fiddler’s Companion
BEAUMONT RAG. Old‑Time, Bluegrass, Texas, Western Swing; Country Rag. USA, Texas. F Major. Standard tuning. AB (Brody): ABBC (Phillips/1989): ABC (Phillips/1995): ABCD (Silberberg): AA’BB’CC’D (Reiner). Named after the town of Beaumont, Texas. “Beaumont Rag” was first recorded by Cleburne, Texas, fiddler Samuel Morgan Peacock in 1929, under the name Smith’s Garage Fiddle Band (Wolfe, 1997). Peacock was a barber by trade who died after collapsing on the sidewalk in front of his barber shop in 1932. Sam ran a large, 12 seat, barbershop in Corsicana, Texas, from around the turn of the 20th century. The tune was popularized by Texas swing fiddler Bob Wills, though an influential version was recorded by Terrell, Texas, fiddler Oscar Harper–another barber. The parts are variable in length, some versions having 12 measures while others have sixteen. A fourth part is sometimes added to the tune which features double-shuffle bowing. See the related “Bob Mitchell,” “Oklahoma Rag,” “Possum Rag” and “White River Stomp.” Sources for notated versions: Bill Driver (Missouri) and Red Williams (Texas) [Christeson]; Bill Boyd [Brody]; Vivian Williams (Seattle, Washington) [Silberberg]. Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; pg. 38. R.P. Christeson (Old Time Fiddlers Repertory, vol. 1), 1973; pg. 149. Phillips (Fiddlecase Tunebook), 1989; pg. 4. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 2, 1995; pg. 18. Reiner (Anthology of Fiddle Styles), 1977; pg. 65. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002, pg. 6. County 202, “Eck Robertson: Famous Cowboy Fiddler.” County 410, “East Texas Serenaders ‑ 1927‑1936” (1977). County 517, Smith’s Garage Fiddle Band‑ “Texas Farewell.” County 703, Vernon Solomon‑ “Texas Hoedown.” Folkways FTS31098, Ken Perlman ‑ “Clawhammer Banjo and Fingerstyle Guitar Solos.” Gusto 104, Bob Wills‑ “30 Fiddler’s Greatest Hits.” June Appal 015, Plank Road String Band‑ “Vocal and Instrumental Blend.” June Appal 030, Marion Sumner‑ “Road to Home.” Omac‑1, Mark O’Conner‑ “A Texas Jam Session.” Omac‑2, Berline, Bush and O’Conner‑ “In Concert.” RCA AXM2 5503 (Bluebird Reissue), “Bill Boyd’s Cowboy Ramblers.” Rounder 0117, “Blaine Sprouse.” Rounder RO7023, Natalie MacMaster – “No Boundaries” (1996). Vanguard VSD 45/46, Doc Watson‑ “The Essential Doc Watson.”
Tony Thomas says
Bob Wills and Johnny Gimble were also Barbers. The idea of fiddling barbers has to do with a fiddler having a job that pays, that you can get hired from to town that takes good hand eye and finger coordination that will not end up messing up your hands and coordinator for fiddling, particularly in the old way of cutting hair with fine scissors rather than todays hand held lawn mowers!
Tony Thomas says
Also with the early 20rth century and late 19th century ethos of the barber shop as a male enclave friendly to musicians who might often hit the barbershops to find other musicians when coming into a town. Bill Monroe bought the mandolin he used all his career in a Miami barber shop