For this very first post in my new fiddle tunes blog, I thought I’d treat you to something unusual that I came across while hunting out old-time versions of this week’s featured tune, Billy in the Lowground. And so we begin with a story, a riddle, a rhyme – and dance away into a tune played fit to charm Old Nick himself…
Anna and Elizabeth (Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle), accompanied by Jefferson Hamer and Eamon O’Leary (The Murphy Beds)
The Devil’s Nine Questions was learnt from the 1920s-40s singing of Texas Gladden and Mrs. Rill Martin, Virginia. Comment on Irish music forum The Session has Billy in the Lowground originating in centuries-old Scottish and Irish reels.
Anna and Elizabeth illustrate some of their songs with story-scrolls turned on frames known in the States as ‘crankies’. The duo is touring the UK and Ireland in May, in London on 8th (Musical Traditions/sold out) and 19th (Green Note, Camden). Check out their full itinerary on their website: http://www.annaandelizabeth.com. The Murphy Beds are at: http://www.murphybedsmusic.com