Tonight, I attended the ISES vendor showcase in Denver. There were lots of wedding and event vendors to meet and schmooze with. And, the fancy desserts were awesome, especially the ‘smores in a cup with peanut butter and graham crackers covered in dark chocolate ganache, with a little dollup of toasted marshmallow cream mousse on top (courtesy of the Food Guy Catering). As I was eating this yumminess I was trying to pick a fiddle tune to record, and Good for the Tongue seemed like and obvious choice.
I first heard this song as part of a medley along with Bee’s Wings Hornpipe recorded by Danita Rast (now Gardner) back in the early 90’s. She’s a great fiddler and if you haven’t heard her play, you should. I have also heard it played as part of the College Hornpipe medley (Mark O’Connor’s version). I thought the tune was really cool, so I worked it up. Enjoy!
Learn to play Good for the Tongue on fiddle here
History of Good for the Tongue According to the Fiddler’s Companion
GOOD FOR THE TONGUE. AKA and see “Jenkin’s Hornpipe,” “The Stoney/Stony Steps,” “The Washington Hornpipe.” American, Breakdown or Hornpipe. USA; Nebraska, Missouri. B Flat Major (Christeson, Cole, Ford, Howe, Phillips, White): A Major (Silberberg, Songer). Standard tuning. AB (Silberberg): AABB (most versions). The melody’s presence in Ryan’s Mammoth Collection (1883) suggests this was once a brass band tune (as was, for example, “Ned Kendall’s Hornpipe”), a genre popular in the mid-19th century, and originally meant to be played on an instrument that featured ‘tonguing’ articulation of notes, like a coronet. Missouri fiddler Cyril Stinnett (1912-1986) thought it one of the more difficult tunes in his repertoire. Northwest U.S. fiddlers have changed the original key to A major. See also the closely related tune “White Fish in the Rapids.” Sources for notated versions: Bob Walters (1889-1960, Burt County, Nebraska) [Christeson, Phillips]; Deborah and Creighton Lindsay (Portland, Oregon) [Songer]; Cathie Whitesides [Silberberg]. R.P. Christeson (Old Time Fiddlers Repertory, Vol. 2), 1984; pg. 25. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; pg. 92. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; pg. 96. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; pg. 80.Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), Vol. 2, 1995; pg. 195. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; pg. 85. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; pg. 54. White’s Unique Collection, 1896; No. 142, pg. 25. Great Meadow Music CD 2008, Bob McQuillen and Friends – “Old New England” (1996). Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers’ Association, Bob Walters – “Drunken Wagoneer.” Laurie Andres – “Fantastic Hornpipe” (1991. learned from Bob Childs and Greg Boardman, who had the tune from Maine dance musician Otto Sopher).