Y.Z. Hamilton

Born: Randolph Co., AL

Often identified as state fiddle champion of Alabama by virtue of a large convention he won in Birmingham in 1925. There he overcame such well-known fiddlers as A.A. Gray, Earl Johnson, and Charlie Stripling. He recorded "Hamilton's Special Breakdown" and "Fifty Years Ago" for Paramount in 1926. In 1927 "Old Sefus Brown" and "Because He Was Only a Tramp" for Gennett. He also fiddled with a popular Birmingham band, Uncle Bud and His Boll Weevils, which regularly played on the radio, did school house performances, and entered fiddlers' conventions.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

 

 

AKA Y. Z. Hamilton's Breakdown. This tune was originally recorded in about 1926 by Y. Z. Hamilton and his recording of it is available on the compilation album "Possum Up A Gum Stump" which is a collection of Alabama tunes. I keep rediscovering this tune and last summer finally decided to learn to play it. Not as straight forward as many old time tunes have become, but quite a little diddy! I strongly urge you to find YZ's recording of this tune. He really gets a lot out of it and way more than I could show in one or two passes of the tune.

There is a session tape of the Canote brothers playing and teaching this tune from a repertoire class which is where I first heard the tune. I was quite captivated with it even then and touched upon it over the years. However, hearing YZ play it (discovering it on my itunes list once I could search tunes by title) it seems the Canotes pretty much stripped the second part of its lilting melody. Not uncommon among the current old time crowd.

Since I now spend so much time playing with the Old Time Fiddlers' crowd - indeed I am the current president of our chapter here in Yuma, Arizona - I felt it could fit right in. My guitar player out here - Dennis (drypitstop) took right to it and we even used it as a teaching tune last week at our monthly Fiddle Jam Workshop.

Those astute listeners among you may recognize the opening phrases of Whistling Rufus at the beginning of the tune. That's another good one, but we'll leave it for another week.

 

G RAG. AKA and see "Bust Down Stomp," "Concord Rag," "Y.Z. Special," "Hamilton's Special Breakdown." Old#8209;Time, Breakdown. USA; Alabama, North Georgia. "A Georgia standard." Recorded by Georgia fiddlers Earl Johnson in 1928, and by Afro#8209;Cherokee fiddler Andrew Baxter with the Ga. Yellow Hammers in 1927; north Georgia fiddler Gid Tanner also knew the tune, and his son Gordon used it as the theme song for his band the Junior Skillet Lickers. J.E. Mainer covered it under the title "Concord Rag." Charles Wolfe (1979) says the tune possibly originated with an Alabama fiddler named Wyzee Hamilton, who recorded a version called "Hamilton's Special Breakdown." Heritage 048, Gordon Tanner #8209; "Georgia Fiddle Bands" (Brandywine 1982). Rounder 1032, The Georgia Yellow Hammers #8209; "The Moonshine Hollow Band" (1979).

Source: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/topic/17508

More info: http://www.1001tunes.com/fiddlers/stripling1.html

http://www.hillbilly-music.com/library/books/index.php?id=2561

http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/YA_YEK.htm

http://www.countysales.com/products.php?product=%27With-Fiddle-and-Well%252dRosined-Bow%27-by-JOYCE-H.-CAUTHEN

Listen: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/myhangout/music.asp?id=58

Video: http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=NlnjuypAbjU&feature=related

 

 

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