Saturday, November 5, 2011

Elmo Wick's tunes

Elmo Wick played a variety of fiddle tunes and obviously had a wide love of music. For the purpose of this project I am going to choose some Canadian influenced tunes he played.

It is clear that Canadian music has a place in northern Minnesota. When I was talking to the Thunder Bay folks who come down every year for the fiddle contests in Cotton, they talked about their love for American old-time music, and some Minnesotans piped up that they had an equal love for Canadian tunes. When I caught Minnesota fiddler Lee Cowan on the phone, he talked about how for him growing up there was no musical barrier by the international border. Someone else commented on how Canadian radio was the only station they could get with good reception and how their favorite program was Canadian fiddler Don Messer's.

These three tunes were all played by Messer at one time. Here Elmo is accompanied by a keyboard. It is interesting that Whalen's Breakdown has a very similar feel to another tune in this collection- Archie's Jig in D, only the jig is in 6/8 time.

Whalen's Breakdown
Little Red Barn
Buckwhweat Batter


  1. Note that "Little Red Barn" was popularized due to a recording by John Baltzell (of Ohio), "Old Red Barn Medley Quadrille," on Edison (1923).

  2. "Buckwheat Batter" was recorded by Tom Owens' Trio on Silvertone in 1925 and was thereafter published in certain places, so his version probably goes back to one of them, not Messer. "Whalen's Breakdown" is a Messer tune, but there are lots of versions of this that aren't.