Jenny in the Cotton Patch
Arthritis Brothers String Band

Welcome to the Arthritis Brothers fifth CD “Jenny in
theCotton Patch””. We play old time music. Stuff that was
popular in the early 1900's; music that postdated the minstrel
era and preceded bluegrass. Banjo picker John Clabourne
was raised in rural Sussex County, Virginia. Fiddler John
Beland was raised on a Mitchell County, Iowa farm. Earl
Rigg was born in the mountains of Virginia and grew up in
Eastern North Carolina on a tobacco farm. Clabourne is
retired from both the U.S. Army and the Sierra Vista police
force. Beland is a retired electrical engineer and contractor.
Earl Rigg spent 30 years as a technical expert for a Wisconsin
phone company.
The Arthritis Brothers are located in rural Sierra Vista
Arizona where the weather is always sunny and the plants are
mostly thirsty. Technically, we may not be Hill Billies, but we
do live among the mountains and have pickup trucks and
dogs. Check our web site at for
our schedule and contact information. Stop by and jam with
A Jenny is a mule. She could cause serious chaos in a cotton
patch. A Spinning Mule Jenny is a contraption used in the
processing of cotton. And might possibly be located in a cotton
---------------About the tunes------------------------------------
1 WHITEFACE a 3 part tune in Em G And C written by Joe
Thrift of the Red Hots, It seems to evoke the sounds of a
Hereford steer.
2 JENNY IN THE COTTON PATCH 3 parts in Am and C.
The tune comes from Bob Douglas's 1967 LP on Tennyvale
TV001S. We have straightened the tune slightly by leaving out
a few 'extra' beats in the second part. Bob was a professional
fiddler in Tennessee. He started playing guitar in his father's
band until 1924 and played as a successful contest fiddler and
played with the Allen Brothers for years. This is not the same
tune as Clyde Davenport's tune of the same title.
3 ANIMAS VALLEY WALTZ in A, tuned in AEAE From
the playing of Jesse Cox through Peter Rolland. Jesse was a
fiddler quite active in the Arizona Old Time Fiddlers
Association and he created the tune.
4 JOHN BROWN'S MARCH in G is also commonly played in
cross tuned A, We play it in 'standard' G. Another tune
difficult to trace.
5 OLD BLUE TICK in G comes from the playing of August
Merrill of St. James Missouri through R P Christeson.
6 FROSTY MORN in Am; frequently mis-titled as COLD
FROSTY MORN. That title is a quite logical as it is hard to
imagine a warm Frosty Morn. This tune was collected by
Alan Jabbour from Glen Lyn, Virginia, fiddler Henry Reed.
See Alan's notes at
7 BLACKBERRY BLOSSOM This title (in G and Em)
seems to attract a number of tunes. This tune is well-known
as a traditional Kentucky dance tune since before the Civil
War Kentucky fiddler Dick Burnett recorded a version in
1930 which has been our model Other tunes with this title
appear in the Irish tradition, as contra dance style tune
(Blackberry Blossoms), as a different tune created by Arthur
Smith and in Gm as (Garfield)'s Blackberry Blossom.
8 IN THE PINES in G A traditional song dating back to the
1870's, believed to have originated in the southern
Appalachians. Lead Belly recorded several versions in the
1940's and Bill Monroe applied a Bluegrass touch.
9 Dixie in D Dixie is usually credited to 19th century
black-face minstrel Daniel Decatur Emmett, However, there is
a compelling case for its origin within the African-American
community as a black folk song taught to Emmett by the
Emmett's neighbors the Snowdens. See Howard and Judith
Rose Sacks' 1993 book “Way Up North in Dixie”. Also, there
are Lots of details at:
10 HASTE TO THE WEDDING in D. This lively jig has
been used for dances for a very long time. Printed versions
date back to the 1770's.
We learned our version from a recording of Galax Virginia
fiddler Luther Davis. These lyrics seem to fit.
Grasshopper a settin’ on a sweet tater vine,
‘Long come a Blackbird an’ nab him up behind.
Blackbird a-settin’ in a sour apple tree,
Hawk grab him up behind; he “Chee! Chee! Chee!”
Big hawk a-settin’ in de top of dat oak,
Start to eat dat Blackbird an’ he git choke.
Jenny in the Cotton Patch Arthritis Brothers String Band
Thomasson popularized this tune playing it in DDAD and he
recalls his uncle and father composing the tune in the early
1900. There is a similar sounding tune for Oklahoma, in the
same era titled Old Paint played by Jess Morris. We like it with
a banjo lead.
13 OLD DAN TUCKER We play in G. It is said that Daniel
Emmett first performed his song “Old Dan Tucker” at the age
of fifteen (1830) during a Fourth of July celebration in Mount
Vernon, Ohio. However, Old Dan Tucker was more than a
song, but was a role that was acted out on stage.
14 PORTSMOUTH AIRS. We learned this from a recording of
the late Craig Johnson made at the Bluff Country Gathering.
The title was announced but a chair scrape made it difficult to
understand. Another possibility for the misheard title was
“Porcelain Chairs” . The tune likely came through Jimmy
15 CHINESE BREAKDOWN. In D The origins of this tune
are unclear, although it is widespread. “Chinese Breakdown”
was first recorded by the “Dixie String Band” in 1925 and an
Atlanta recording by the Scottdale String Band in 1927. It is
very similar in sound to “the Merry Go Round Broke Down ”
which was used as the theme song for Looney Tunes from 1937
to 1969.
16 FLATWATER FRAN in G. This lovely waltz was written
(2009?) by Phil Cunningham (a Scottish musician) for a relative
who goes rowing on flat water.
17 OLD JOE CLARK A mixylodian, we play it in AEAE
tuning. Bayard (1981) thinks it was originally a song tune that
later became a fiddle standard and play party tune. There are
may stories about the tune title name but none are verifiable. It
is believed that despite it's archaic sound the tune might be
fairly recent as no one has found a source dating to the 19th
18 KEYS TO THE KINGDOM. G We learned this from a
recording of Melvin Wine. We recently discovered a close
version in C copyrighted in 1950 by Jenny Lou Carson
19 WINK THE OTHER EYE key of G. We play the version
popularized by Hack's string band of eastern Kentucky who
recorded the tune in 1930. The original source seems to be an
1890 music hall song copyrighted by W.T. Lytton, 1890.
Marie Lloyd popularized the tune.
20 RAGGED SHIRT in G is from the recording of Bobby
Taylor and Jim Nelson. The tune reportedly comes from the
playing of Bill Inman
21 WESTPHALIA WALTZ in G. This lovely melody was
likely a Polish folk melody before being transformed by
several hands into a Texas style Waltz. You can purchase a
well researched DVD about the origins of the tune at this site
22 SMITH'S REEL in D the tune was a printed in Ryan’s
Mammoth Collection in 1883 and has a variety of titles. It
has a similar melody to the hornpipe “Kitty’s Wedding” It is
not known whether the title refers to a person named Smith, or
if it instead refers to a blacksmith.
This tune may be the champion for collecting alternate titles!
It is also quite a variable tune collecting alternate and
additional parts and varying in the number of repetitions of
each. Alternate titles include Stoney Point, Kelton's Reel, Old
Dad, Buck Creek Gal, Pigtown Fling, Preacher in the
Woodpile, Wake up Jacob Hop Skip Squirrel and several
24 HANGED MAN REEL In A tuned AEAC# This tune
seems to change a bit each time through. A favorite in MN
where is was spread by the recently deceased Myron Price.
Erynn Marshal differentiates between our (southern) version
of the tune and the rendition by the Canadian Jean Carignan.
Additional information on many of these tunes can be found at
Fiddlers Companion
Library of Congress
Digital Library of Appalachia
and by Mr Google!