You are going to love today’s fiddle tune. I’m joined by Tyler Andal on guitar, virtually.
Tyler sent me this video months ago of him playing rhythm to Tugboat months ago, and I really should have played it sooner.
But, I made stupid excuses for putting it off like:
- I really don’t have anything worked out for Tugboat.
- And, I want to do the tune justice.
- And, the software I use for making videos doesn’t have a way to do this easily.
And, tonight I got over my crap and made it happen. It took me some extra time to put this together, and It’s not perfect technically, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out for my first try at this kind of production.
Tugboat according to Fiddler’s Companion
TUGBOAT. Old‑Time, Breakdown. USA; West Virginia, Virginia, Nebraska Oklahoma, Texas. G Major. Standard tuning. AABB (Christeson, Phillips): AA’BBC (Frets). Similar to “Sandy River Belle.” Charles Wolfe (1997) states Kanawha County, West Virginia, fiddler Clark Kessinger (1896-1975) first recorded the tune (in 1929 for Brunswick under the name The Kessinger Brothers, although Clark’s accompanist was his nephew, Luke). Other fiddlers learned the tune from Kessinger’s recording, among them Texas fiddler Benny Thomasson, who was instrumental in inserting the melody into the Texas contest tune repertoire where it remains a popular piece. “Tugboat” was in the repertoire of Missouri fiddler Cyril Stinnett, learned perhaps from Bob Walters, who probably learned it from the Kessinger Brothers’ Brunswick record (Christeson, 1984). The tune was also in the repertoire of West Virginia fiddler Edden Hammons, who played it in standard tuning. See also the related “Ladies on the/a Steamboat.” Sources for notated versions: Clark Kessinger (West Virginia.) [Christeson]; Mark O’Connor and Benny Thomasson (Texas) [Phillips]. R.P. Christeson (Old Time Fiddlers Repertory, vol. 2), 1984; pg. 75. Frets Magazine, “Byron Berline: The Fiddle,” June, 1988; pg. 55. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 1, 1994; pg. 244. Brunswick Records (78 RPM), Kessinger Brothers. Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers’ Association, Bob Walters (1889-1960) – “Drunken Wagoneer.” Sugar Hill Records 3750, Byron Berline & John Hickman ‑ “Double Trouble.” Edden Hammons Collection, Disc 2.