I don’t remember where I first heard this tune, but I remember that I didn’t think it was all that cool at first. I didn’t bother learning it at that time. What changed my mind was hearing Dale Morris play it on New for ’78. Dale really played it cool. So, just hearing a song a different way, changed my opinion of the tune.
Learn to play Durham’s Bull on fiddle here
Durham’s Bull according to Fiddler’s Companion
with a side story about Durham’s Reel
DURHAM’S BULL. AKA ‑ “Durham’s Reel.” Old‑Time, Bluegrass. USA, Mo. A Major. Standard tuning. AB (Silberberg): AAB (Brody): AABAAB’ (Phillips). Named for (or perhaps composed by) Buddy Durham, a radio fiddler (WWVA) in the 1930’s. Craig Duncan says the tune was often played by fiddler Paul Warren to open Flatt and Scruggs live performances. Sources for notated versions: Lymon Enloe (Brody, Phillips); Buddy Durham & Stuart Williams [Phillips]. Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; pg. 95‑96. Duncan (Top Fiddle Solos). Phillips (Fiddlecase Tunebook), 1989; pg. 16 (appears as “Durham’s Reel”). Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 1, 1994; pg. 77. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; pg. 39. CMH 6237, Paul Warren‑ “America’s Greatest Breakdown Fiddle Player.” Caney Mountain Records CLP 228, Lonnie Robertson (Mo.) ‑ “Fiddle Favorites.” County 762, Lyman Enloe‑ “Fiddle Tunes I Recall” (1973). Folkways DW-90705, New Lost City Ramblers – “Rural Delivery No. 1.” Rounder 0002, Spark Gap Wonder Boys‑ “Cluck Old Hen” (1970). Rounder 0326, Benton Flippen – “Old Times, New Times.” Rounder 7010, Tom Doucet – “Tommy Doucet” (1979). Vetco 506, Fiddlin’ Van Kidwell‑ “Midnight Ride” (1975). Mag, Hubert and Ted Powers‑ “Two Generations of Old Time Fiddle.”
DURHAM’S REEL. See “Durham’s Bull.” Joel Shimberg has a 45 RPM record of Buddy Durham playing “Durham’s Bull” on one side and “Durham’s Reel” on the other. Due to the pairing of the tunes on the record, the association with Durham, and the similarity in names, there is obvious confusion regarding the two.