Tonight I needed something a little different. I was bored with recording my fiddle tunes from home so often, so it was a good thing that I could go join my friends at Avogadro’s Number to play a gig. I really like recording my fiddle tune a day with friends. 🙂
Since these guys are kind of bluegrassy, I thought Cherokee Shuffle would be a good tune to play. And my new fact for the day is that Tommy Jackson is credited with creating Cherokee Shuffle from an Lonesome Indian.
Cherokee Shuffle according to Fiddler’s Companion
CHEROKEE SHUFFLE. Old‑Time, Bluegrass; Breakdown. USA. A Major (Phillips) or D Major. Standard or ADae tuning. AAB (Brody): AABB (Phillips/1989): AABB’ (Phillips/1994): AABC (Kuntz). Banjo player Howard Bursen, fiddler Kerry Blech and others, identify the tune as a West Coast version of “Lonesome Indian,” and that it was derived from fiddler Tommy Magness who recorded the “Indian” tune in the 1930’s. Tommy Jackson is generally credited with transforming Magness’s “Lonesome Indian” (in the key of ‘D’) into “Cherokee Shuffle” (in the key of ‘A’). Jackson also added a distinctive second part. The Magness tune also became known as “Lost Indian” subsequently, says Kerry Blech, especially among older fiddlers in North Carolina and Virginia—“Some of these folks even took Tommy Jackson’s addition and stuck it onto the Magness tune, after transposing, of course.” To add to the confusion between the two tunes, “Cherokee Shuffle” is also sometimes played in the key of ‘D’, although the ‘A’ version seems more common. Regarding the form of the tune, there appears to be two versions of “Cherokee Suffle” in current circulation, one “square” (with the ‘A’ and ‘B’ parts the same length) and one not. Along with “Lonesome Indian” (or “Lost Indian ” as it is sometimes known), the melody “Colored Aristocracy” bears some resemblance to “Cherokee Shuffle.” Sources for notated versions: Old Reliable String Band [Brody]; Liz Slade (Yorktown, New York) [Kuntz]. Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; pg. 65. Kuntz, Private Collection. Phillips (Fiddlecase Tunebook), 1989; pg. 9. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), Vol. 1, 1994; pg. 47. Adelphi AD 2004, Delaware Water Gap‑ “String Band Music.” Folk Legacy FSI-74, Howard Bursen – “Cider in the Kitchen” (1980). Folkways FA 2475, “Old Reliable String Band.” Front Hall Records 05, Fennigs All Stars‑ “Saturday Night in the Provinces.” Global Village Records C‑302 ‑ Snakelips ‑ “New York City’s 1st Annual String Band Contest ‑ 1984.” Rounder 0122, Norman Blake‑ “The Rising Fawn String Ensemble.”