Report a Problem
Tune Categories
Session Photo
Download files: pdf png abc midi | edit tune
X:241 T:Turkey in the Straw M:4/4 L:1/8 S:John McFadden R:Reel K:G sBAs|G E2 F EDB,C|DEDB, DEGA|"tr"sBAsBc dBGA|B A2 G AcBA| G E2 F EDB,C|DEDB, DEGA|B d2 e dBGA|BGAF G2|| GA|B d2 e dBGA|Bdde dcBA|Bdef gfed|BA (3Bcd e2 ef| "tr"gfge dged|BdAG E2 GA|BdAG EDB,D|E G2 A G2|| % % "Turkey in the Straw", or "Old Zip Coon", as played nowadays may % suit the rapid movements of buckdancers, but the frenzied rhythm % is ruinous to the melody. Rendered after the manner of the famous % Dan Emmett of Bryant's Minstrels, in slow reel time, this popular tune % acquires a much enhanced appeal. Emmett, it will be remembered, % was the author of the immortal "Dixie", and it was his version of % "Turkey in the Straw" which we obtained from John McFadden of % the Chicago Irish Music Club , that is here presented. % The origin of this favorite of our fathers is wrapped in even deeper % mystery than that of "Yankee Doodle". Under the title "Old Zip % Coon" the tune appeared in Howe's Collections about the middle % of the 19th Century, and possibly earlier. The first gleam of light on % the question of how the old title eventually yielded to the popularity % of the new name, came through a chance conversation while fishing % in 1920 with a northern tourist at Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The % latter confidently informed me that Alderman Silas Leachman of % Chicago, a native of Kentucky, was the author of "Turkey in the % "Straw" - both words and music ! The melody I knew was older than % the Alderman's grandfather, yet here was a lead worth investigating, % for it was his melodious voice that first brought him to prominence. % An interview with the talented official at Chicago a month later % confirmed the statement that he was indeed the author of one song % of that name, the best of several others on the same theme. One % question was settled. The popularity of the modern song relegated % to obscurity the the named of the ancient tune. The pioneers or early % settlers of West Virigina, Kentucky and Tennessee were largely of % Irish ancestry, and obviously their music or tunes more or less varied % by fancy, and defective memorizing from one generation to another, % were of Irish origin. Fiddling and dancing being inseparable from all % festivities and important events, the tunes became much more % diversified, but the swing and spirit of the Gael however was always % discernable in their reels and quadrilles, and so continues to the % present day. % For the convenience of musical antiquaries who may be interested % in the subject, an old Irish March, or Jig, "The Kinnegad Slashers" % to which is sung "The Land of Sweet Erin", is herewith submitted % as a tune from which "Old Zip Coon" or "Turkey in the Straw" % could have been derived or evolved. A third part added later by % musicians is not essential in this illustration. [SEE TUNE #237B]