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After venturing to the land of contemporary music for our last “Song of the Week” installment, this week we had back to a familiar well of source material for downpicking banjoist: old time fiddle tunes.
“Belle of Lexington” comes to us by way of Emmett Lundy of Grayson County, VA. Lundy was an accomplished fiddler, having reportedly won the first gold piece ever awarded at the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention, yet never played for a living.
Lundy earned his livelihood chiefly through farming, along with blacksmithing, violin and watch repair, and the occasional tooth pulling (while the fiddling tradition is still going strong, sadly it appears that amateur teeth pulling has become a lost art – so far as I know!).
Where did this tune come from? Lundy learned how to play, and picked up much of his repertoire, from a fellow named Green Leonard. Word on the street (aka the internets) is that it bears resemblance to “Smith’s Reel,” and the two reportedly share the Irish hornpipe “Kitty’s Wedding” as a common ancestor. From there, the trail goes cold.
Thanks to youtube subscriber “Macro Platinum” for the suggestion to include this tune. Prior to that, it had escaped my repertoire. Now it’s a treasured member.
(RELATED: The tab-walkthrough for this tune is now available in the Breakthrough Banjo workshop archives. Click here to learn more about the tab-walkthrough videos).
“BELLE OF LEXINGTON”
aDADE tuning, Brainjo level 3
Notes on the Tab
Notes in parentheses are “skip” notes. To learn more about these, check out my video lesson on the subject.
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
(RELATED: Level 2 arrangements and video demos for the Tune (and Song!) of the Week tunes are now available as part of the Breakthrough Banjo course. Learn more about it here.)
Click here for a current list of all the clawhammer songs and tunes currently available inside of The Vault