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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 02-03-2012 Jenny Get Around

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Mtngoat - Posted - 02/03/2012:  18:04:52

I’ve chosen Jenny Get Around for this installment of TOTW. 

From the Fiddler’s Companion:

JENNY GET AROUND. Old-Time, Song and Breakdown. USA, Kentucky. A Major. AEae tuning. AABB. Jeff Titon (2001) says the tune is related to one of the “Liza Jane” melody types, and points out similarities between the ‘A’ part of “Jenny Get Around” and the ‘B’ part of Clyde Davenport’s “Liza Jane.” Mark Wilson points out relationships between “Jenny…” and the “Sugar Hill” tune family. Titon calls it a regional eastern Kentucky tunes and finds it listed twice on the Berea, Kentucky, tune lists of 1915. It is often sung, with banjo accompaniment and was collected as a song by John and Alan Lomax, appearing in their book Our Singing Country (1941, pgs. 63-65). Source for notated version: John M. Salyer (Salyersville, Magoffin County, Ky., 1941) [Titon]. Titon (Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Music), 2001; No. 74, pg. 103. Berea College Appalachian Center AC003, “John M. Salyer: Home Recordings 1941-1942, vol. 2” (1993).

Jenny Get Around is included in recent tab collections / instructional books by Levenson  (Old Time Festival Tunes) and Lunceford  (Drop-Thumb 21 Clawhammer Banjo Solos).  An internet tab is here .

Jenny Get Around is usually considered an Eastern Kentucky banjo tune but most recent recordings, tabs and performances follow John Salyer’s 1941 home fiddle recording.

 The Wolf Collection of Ozark music has two performances of Jenny Get Around.   I particularly like the second version because it reminds me of how I heard it played in Kentucky years ago.  Nothing subtle, just bang the hell out of it.

There are some fine modern  performances on the web:

The original Salyer fiddle recording and a banjo takeoff can be heard at the Clawhammer Tune of the Day .

 Walt Koken and Clare Milliner play a great duet on the Old Time Herald web page .

Bill Boyer has a low tuned version on his blog.

So here it is, quick and dirty, but a fun tune none the less


Edited by - Mtngoat on 02/05/2012 09:15:20

ScottK - Posted - 02/04/2012:  01:03:19

Great pick for TOTW, mtngoat!  I learned this tune from Walt Koken and Clare Milliner's version.  Coincidentally, I played this tune with Bill Boyer at a jam here in Portland this evening.

Also glad you reminded me of the Wolf Collection.  I need to spend more time exploring those recordings.  I happened to find the collection a few years ago while looking for lyrics to Come Thou Fount.  The Wolf Collection has a great recording of Bud Cash and Labe Hall singing it.

Cheers, Scott



Don Borchelt - Posted - 02/04/2012:  06:03:35

Nice choice, this is one of my favorite Salyer tunes. It is an unusually crooked tune, in that it is a beat short of normal in the coarse part, but adds the beat back in later in the fine part.  That Jenny sure gets around, she is just about as popular as Sally.  This is my three-finger style take on it, first posted about a year ago.  I have a tab posted on my website, if anyone is interested.

John Morgan Salyer


Edited by - Don Borchelt on 02/04/2012 06:07:03

VIDEO: Jenny Get Around
(click to view)


chip arnold - Posted - 02/04/2012:  06:41:20

beautifully played, don. and what a great sound the old aluminum ode has!

mworden - Posted - 02/04/2012:  06:52:53

Love that tune.  Here's the version I recorded after I learned it last summer:


Jenny Get Around


ELWOOD - Posted - 02/04/2012:  07:30:19

Good morning John. Thats an aluminum-um rimmed ODE ? sounds so good!

cathypknitting - Posted - 02/04/2012:  09:05:56

I love Morgan Sexton's version on his Shady Grove cd.  Lord I wish I could learn 2finger like that. 

dbrooks - Posted - 02/04/2012:  16:04:39

Dan Levenson has a fine version in his Festival Tunes book.

Here's some tab based on the music score in Jeff Titon's book and the Salyer records done by his family and available on the Berea College web site.  Some of the Salyer family members have graciously given me some of the family recordings and I have tabbed a few of the tunes using the recordings and the Titon scores as sources.  Some interesting differences include the fact that contemporary versions use an Em (including Festival Tunes) where Grover Salyer played a D chord in th A part of the tune.  You can pick your favorite chrod progression


Jenney Get Around


mbuk06 - Posted - 02/05/2012:  04:32:01

Another fascinating TOTW thread. This time it has introduced me to this wonderful tune. Not one I'd previously heard. And some lovely sample versions too. Thanks.

atleson - Posted - 02/05/2012:  07:10:59

"Jenny get around" is a fine tune and appropriate for tune of the week.  Still, i don't understand why the discussion of "Newt Payne" tune was removed from the listing.



janolov - Posted - 02/05/2012:  08:03:47

I learned Jenny Get Around from Pete Seeger's book. He taught it in gDGAD tuning (or aEABE). R.D. Lunceford also plays the tune in The Drop Thumb album, close to Pete Seeger's version, in the same tuning. The versions referred to here seems to be more the standard G or A tuning and they differs from the Seeger and Lunceford versions.

Mtngoat - Posted - 02/05/2012:  09:30:47

Seeger calls it "A wild little banjo tune" . And it can be when played in what Art Rosenbaum calls the "rough and ready Kentucky manner". He adds that the Kentucky frailing style "lacks some of the melodic complexity of the Virginia clawhammer picking but makes up for it in speed and verve".

hendrid - Posted - 02/05/2012:  10:53:15

A discussion on Sugar Hill and Tater Hill with some lyrics. Pretty RAW in some places. Don

J-Walk - Posted - 02/05/2012:  16:32:23

Thanks for coming through on short notice, MtnGoat.

What's cool about this TOTW thing is that it motivates me to check out tunes that I'm somewhat familiar with, but never really bothered to learn. And this is a perfect example. I think my first exposure to Jenny Get Around was on R.D.'s CD. I also know it from the Milliner/Koken CD. But this post motivated  me to check out my other recordings -- I have 13 versions of this tune. One that I've never really noticed (until today) is by Peter Sutherland on the "Banjo Gathering" CD. It's a slow fretless version that's really nice. I want to learn it like that. If I succeed, I'll post a recording.

Mtngoat - Posted - 02/05/2012:  20:47:30

Thanks J-Walk, but credit should really go to EggerRidgeBoy who posted a great piece on *Newt Payne's Tune" during the 30 minutes or so while I was writing. I didn't refresh my screen (a lesson learned) and didn't know he had already posted.

I apologize to him and the Hangout for my faux pas and hope he reposts his contribution. Newt Payne's Tune is a great tune, completely unknown to me, and I would like to see what members do with it.

Mark Johnson - Posted - 02/06/2012:  08:02:03

cool tune.  

Like John, it was somewhat familiar to me, having heard at least the Salyer version, but it had never really stuck.  This is a great nudge.

Great playing Mark and Don, btw.  

YorkshireWannabeOldTimer - Posted - 02/06/2012:  13:37:35

Great choice of tune. I'd heard the excellent version by RD Lunceford but not the original Salyer version and others that stick closer to it. The versions posted earlier in this thread by Don B and mworden are both really excellent; each takes the tune and makes it completely his own. Mindful of the nice phrase in the original post - 'Nothing subtle, just bang the hell out of it' - here's a short and cruder attempt, based on the Milliner/Koken recording linked in first post.

Jenny Get Around


Don Borchelt - Posted - 02/10/2012:  15:19:10

Mike (mworden), I liked your version when you first posted it in August, and I still like it.  Great picking!  Next time you are in Boston, bring your banjho and look me up, we'll knock this one down.  Yorky, nice sweet picking on a really tricky tune. I think you are foolin' us with this "Just Startin'" stuff.

Edited by - Don Borchelt on 02/10/2012 15:21:28

mworden - Posted - 02/10/2012:  20:03:26

Don, thanks again for the nice words.  With your endorsement, I just broke through the 10 likes barrier!  I'm not too far away down in Providence and do get up to Boston from time to time so I might just take you up on that offer to look you up sometime and play some tunes.  I love the way you and Ed are able to blend the 3-finger and clawhammer styles.  Cheers,




Originally posted by Don Borchelt

Mike (mworden), I liked your version when you first posted it in August, and I still like it.  Great picking!  Next time you are in Boston, bring your banjho and look me up, we'll knock this one down.  Yorky, nice sweet picking on a really tricky tune. I think you are foolin' us with this "Just Startin'" stuff.


LyleK - Posted - 02/16/2012:  06:12:36

This was the first of two weeks running where the original post mentioned that there was an online tab available.  Unfortunately, the nefarious poster of said tab (me!) never actually recorded the tune.  So I am now making amends with the following attachment.  Oh, and as far as versions, this one is as close as possible to Salyer's.  Yes, that explains the little white cord running to my left ear, which had an *.mp3 of Salyer fiddling to his son's guitar accompaniment (which also explains why I played a C chord instead of Em).

VIDEO: Jenny Get Around
(click to view)


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