Tonight I was looking through Cole’s 1000 Fiddle Tunes, and I came across Sumner’s Hornpipe. When I played it, I instantly recognized the melody. I thought that the name I had heard it under was Queen of the West.
I have heard Ed Carnes play it, and he called it Queen of the West, and I also have a recording of Benny Thomasson playing it under that name.
It really had a great melody, and the B part is nice and twisty. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed playing it. 🙂
Sumner’s Hornpipe according to Fiddler’s Companion
SUMNER’S HORNPIPE. American, Hornpipe. D Major. Standard tuning. AABB. Similar to “Queen of the West.” The tune was recorded by Cape Breton fiddle Winston Fitzgerald, paired with “Ferry Bridge Hornpipe,” which appears on the same page in Ryan’s Mammoth Collection (1883) just above “Sumner’s.” “Queen of the West” is a more common title for the melody. Source for notated version: Benny Thomasson (Texas) [Phillips]. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; pg. 95. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 2, 1995; pg. 227. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; pg. . White’s Unique Collection, 1896; No. 123, pg. 22.
Queen of the West according to Fiddler’s Companion
QUEEN OF THE WEST. American, Hornpipe. D Major. Standard tuning. AABB (Cole, Cranford): AA’BB’ (Taylor/Tweed). A hornpipe originally published in Ryan’s Mammoth Collection in 1883, it has been played by fiddlers from several traditions, including old-time, bluegrass and Texas-style, Cape Breton and Irish. The composition was credited to New England bandleader and tune composer Zeke Backus in Ryan’s/Cole’s 1000. Backus was also a minstrel performer, and apparently spent at least some time in San Francisco. The melody is very similar to “Sumner’s Hornpipe.” The city of Cincinnati, Ohio, was known as the Queen of the West in the first decades of the 19th century, however, the “Queen of the West” may refer to a vessel, or even to the someone from the west of Ireland. There was a Queen of the West during the American Civil War, a ship that had the distinction of serving both sides while retaining the same name. Originally a converted ram for the Union that played a part in the 1862 battle of Memphis, and operations the next year around Vicksburg, it was sunk in 1863. The Confederates raised her later the same year and she saw brief service in the Southern navy, until finally set afire and burned during an engagement in Louisiana.
Roger (Georgia Slim) Rutland fiddled this tune on the radio in the 1940’s. Texas fiddler Benny Thomasson also played the tune, also calling it “Sumner’s Hornpipe,” as did Cape Breton fiddler Winston Fitzgerald. Irish fiddler Brendan McGlinchey recorded it under the title “The Tosspot.” Sources for notated versions: Winston Fitzgerald (1914-1987, Cape Breton) [Cranford]; fiddler Terry Crehan (Clare) [Taylor/Tweed]. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; pg. 101. Cranford (Winston Fitzgerald), 1997; No. 33, pg. 12. Fiddler Magazine, Winter 2005/06, vol. 12, No. 4; pg. 49. Peoples (Fifty Irish Fiddle Tunes), 1986; 58. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; pg. 138. Taylor (Traditional Irish Music: Karen Tweed’s Irish Choice), 1994; pg. 39. GTD Heritage Trad. HCD 008, Tommy Peoples – “Traditional Irish Music Played on the Fiddle.” Rounder CD 11661-7033-2, Natalie MacMaster – “My Roots are Showing” (2000). Natalie MacMaster – “My Roots are Showing.” Solid ROCD 8, “Sharon Shannon”