Winter 2020 Project, Week 1: USA – Arkansas Traveler/ Mole in the Ground

A lively start to my little Winter 2020 project! This track belongs to a country which has been in the news a LOT in recent weeks, resulting in an extremely tense climax last Friday.

For all of the terrible division and political unrest present at the moment, America can lay claim to (in my opinion) some of the best music ever to have existed –something worth focusing on and celebrating!

Some info on the material below and I hope you enjoy the video.

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Arkansas Traveler: one of the country’s most well-known fiddle tunes. Attached to it is an interesting history stemming from the early 1800s and the folk tradition to minstrel shows and the Civil War. Often in performances a comic dialogue ran alongside the tune featuring a ‘Squatter’ and a ‘Traveller’. The latter is looking for a place to stay the night when he stumbles across a log cabin, owned by the Squatter. The Squatter is sitting outside playing the first part of the tune repeatedly and does not want to let the Traveller in to his log cabin. After the traveller proves he can play the complete tune – both A and B parts – then he is then allowed to stay the night!

Mole in the Ground is a typical example of one of these folk songs which has several different versions – all with their own unique set of verses. The way I sing it is quite far removed from the first recorded ‘original’ in 1924 by Bascom Lamar Lunsford.

I picked up these lyrics from Matt Gordon and Leonard Podolak, with the recent addition of verse 4

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