The first time that I’m aware of hearing Pacific Slope was in 2010 when I judged the Western Open Fiddle Contest. Danita Gardner partnered with Star McMullen in the Twin Division and Pacific Slope was one of the tunes they chose. I thought it was a pretty cool tune, especially twinned, but didn’t think about it again until I came across a recording of Cyril Stinnett playing it on youtube. I hadn’t heard of Cyril before that day, and he really killed it.
If Cyril’s playing looks a little weird, it’s because he’s a lefty, and he played left-handed.
So, I pulled out my Cole’s 100 fiddle tunes and worked it up for you tonight. I hope you enjoy it!
PACIFIC SLOPE . American, Old‑Time; Breakdown, Reel or Hornpipe. USA; Midwest, southwestern Pa., New England. A Major. Standard tuning. AABB (Christeson, Cole, Hinds, Phillips, Sweet): AB (Bayard). The Pacific Slope refers to that part of North America that drains into the Pacific Ocean, a term that had particular meaning in the 19th century prior to the formation of the region into states and territories. Then it was America’s “manifest destiny” to settle and develop the lands of the Pacific Slope, then the frontier. The melody is commonly played at mid-western fiddle contests, despite being (as Rodney Miller says) a Yankee tune. “Pacific Slope” is one of ‘100 essential Missouri tunes’ listed by Missouri fiddler Charlie Walden. Samuel Bayard (1981) states that the title has apparently remained constant for this piece, at least in published versions, unlike many other tunes in the traditional repertiore which often feature a multiplicity of titles. John Hartford has identified that the 2nd strain is similar to the 2nd strain of “Harvey’s Favorite” on pg. 20 of Dobson’s New System For the Banjo. An Irish version appears in O’Neill’s Music of Ireland under the title “Chief O’Neill’s Visit,” set as a hornpipe, and a hornpipe version is also known to Scottish musicians as the “Cambridge.” Sources for notated versions: Cyril Stinnett (Nodaway County, Missouri) [Christeson]; Hogg (Pa., 1948) [Bayard]; Ken Kosek [Phillips]. Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 136, pg. 75. R.P. Christeson (Old Time Fiddlers Repertory, Vol. 1), 1973; No. 32, pg. 23. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; pg. 40. Hinds/Hebert (Grumbling Old Woman), 1981; pg. 12. Phillips (Traditional Music in America), 1994; pg. 178. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; pg. 66. Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965/1981; pg. 68. Folk Legacy FSI-74, Howard Bursen – “Cider in the Kitchen” (1980). Great Meadow Music GMM 2002, Rodney Miller & David Surette – “New Leaf” (2000). Missouri Old Time Fiddlers Association 002, Taylor McBaine ‑ “Boone County Fiddler.” Rounder Records – “Country Cooking.” Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers’ Association, Dwight Lamb (b. 1934) – “Old Ladies Pickin’ Chickens.” Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers’ Association, Cyril Stinnett – “Old Time Fiddler’s Repertory” (1976).