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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW (OT) 2-21-14: Wine's Delight

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J-Walk - Posted - 02/21/2014:  07:59:14

This week's tune is a delightful one called "Wine's Delight." It's one of those tunes that is also known by a different name that has a racial slur. From Fiddler's Companion:

AKA  "N_____'s Delight." Old‑Time, Breakdown. A Major. Standard tuning. AABB. Probably named for West Virginia fiddler Melvin Wine. Source for notated version: Judy Hyman (Ithica, N.Y.)

Melvin Wine plays the tune on his Hannah At The Springhouse album. You can also hear a lo-fi version of this track at the Slippery Hill site (it's tune #560)

According to the Canote Brothers, this tune also goes by the name of "Watermelon Pie." However, I haven't found any other mention of this alternate title.

And that's all I know about this tune. Maybe someone else can tell us more. I hope you agree that this is really a fine tune that deserve more attention.


The tune is in the key of A, and has two parts (played AABB). The chords are:

A/// A/// D/// G///
A/// A/// A/ E/ A///

A/// D/// A/// E///
A/// D/// A/ E/ A///

Other recordings:

  • Reed Island Rounders (on the Hand Me Downs album). This was my first exposure to the tune, and they do a great job with it. Last month, I had the pleasure of playing this tune in a jam with Betty Vornbrock on fiddle.

  • Bruce Molsky (on an out-of-print album called An Anthology: Old Time, Old Style Fiddling). This is the only recording I've seen that uses the racial slur in the title.

  • John Gallagher & Scott Prouty (on the No Corn On Tygart album). This is a fiddle & guitar duet, and part of a medley with "Lady of the Lake."

  • Canote Brothers and others (at their String Band Class site, from Oct-12-09). This is a jam recording, and clawhammer banjo tab is also available there.

  • Ray Alden (at Digital Library of Appalachia). Ray on fiddle, accompanied by others.

  • Ray Alden (on the long out-of-print "Old Time Friends" cassette). I have this recording. It starts out great, then a drummer kicks in and it becomes unlistenable.

  • Bill Sevores (at the Fiddle Hangout). Fiddle, banjo, and guitar.

  • Austin Rogers (at the Dr. Fiddle site). Solo fiddle, with musical notation.


And finally, my attempt on banjo (accompanied by my buddy Whitey on guitar). 


Wine's Delight


vrteach - Posted - 02/21/2014:  09:05:26

I absolutely love your version!

I've got a copy of Wine's CD on order right now.

banjukebox - Posted - 02/21/2014:  10:20:14

Nice selection, John. I'll put that one on my (long) list. (Too Long)

Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 02/21/2014:  11:07:46

The unknown player" of the solo banjo version is Brandon Holder.

Here he is with identity revealed:


whytelaydie7 - Posted - 02/21/2014:  11:09:02

Sounds Great! I like that a lot.

Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 02/21/2014:  11:22:19

Listed under "Fall '03" is a banjo tab by Maya Whitman:

BANJOJUDY - Posted - 02/21/2014:  16:44:45

Nice job this week, John, and your version sounds terrific.

Many Melvin Wine tunes are catchy and fairly simple to remember.  There was a Melvin Wine Tunes Workshop at the Santa Fe Festival two years ago - good idea - maybe more festivals will do something like that.



BrendanD - Posted - 02/21/2014:  21:43:49


Originally posted by J-Walk

According to the Canote Brothers, this tune also goes by the name of "Watermelon Pie." However, I haven't found any other mention of this alternate title.


I learned and played this tune together with the Canotes in the late '70s, when they lived in the S. F. Bay Area, and we were all "coming up" together in the old-time scene here back in those days. We used the titles "Wine's Delight" and "Watermelon Pie" interchangeably for this tune, but I never did know the provenance of the latter title.

Paul Tooley is the fine fiddler in that last video, and Wendy Robinson is playing guitar. Not sure who the banjo player is, but it might be Shel Sandler, who posted the video; I notice in another clip from that session that the banjo player is turning on and off the video camera. I've met Shel Sandler, but I can't remember what he looks like.

It's a funny coincidence that you should bring this tune up as the TOTW just now; this past Tuesday, my wife Maxine Gerber and I helped Erynn Marshall present a Melvin Wine fiddle workshop at Suzy and Eric Thompson's house in Berkeley, and after playing several of Melvin's tunes in the context of talking about Melvin's life and our many visits to his home, Erynn taught this tune to the fiddlers, complete with the many subtleties of Melvin's bowing and phrasing. I'm glad to see it spread around, as it's a great tune that I hear played to seldom theses days! Maybe that's about to change!

Edited by - BrendanD on 02/21/2014 21:44:59

BrendanD - Posted - 02/22/2014:  02:47:31


Originally posted by BrendanD

I'm glad to see it spread around, as it's a great tune that I hear played to seldom theses days! Maybe that's about to change!

Why do I never see typos until AFTER I've posted? That was supposed to be:

   I'm glad to see it spread around, as it's a great tune that I hear played too seldom these days! Maybe that's about to change!

carlb - Posted - 02/22/2014:  05:14:16


Originally posted by J-Walk

According to the Canote Brothers, this tune also goes by the name of "Watermelon Pie." However, I haven't found any other mention of this alternate title. 

"Watermelon Pie" was a name that Melvin and I came up with to replace the racist title. However, I'm not sure who came up with the title "Wine's Delight", but that title appeared within the same year that we changed the title and won the popularity contest, so the title "Watermelon Pie" just disappeared from usage.

carlb - Posted - 02/22/2014:  06:28:08

I'm offering up this version of Melvin playing the tune at the Friday night concert at Fiddle Tunes in 1982. I don't remember who recorded this concert, but as you can see in the photos, there are plenty of microphones in front of the stage during this acoustic concert. <> Anyway, I left some money with one of those who recorded it and they sent me a cassette (a few years ago I was given permission from the festival office to distribute these recordings freely).

As you can hear, in Melvin's introduction, that he mixed the title between "Wine's Delight" and "Watermelon Pie" and called it "Watermelon Delight". I've given credit to Bob Carlin on guitar, though for some of the concert we just did fiddle and banjo, and I don't remember the specifics of the performance of this tune. Later in the concert, we were joined by Kenny Hall, as can be seen in some of the photos.

Also, I believe that I taught, or tried to teach, this tune at a workshop while I was at the festival and don't remember which title I used.

Wine's Delight


J-Walk - Posted - 02/22/2014:  08:44:39

Thanks for all of the extra info. At least we got the name figured out. 

Great photos, Carl!

RG - Posted - 02/22/2014:  12:59:12

Carl, thanks for I could listen to that all day, great stuff!

pickincat - Posted - 02/22/2014:  17:19:17

Thanks everyone for the postings and MP3s. This is a great tune to practice with. Not chordally complex but the pace sure makes you exercise your chops. Thanks J-Walk for starting this one.

J-Walk - Posted - 02/22/2014:  17:52:01

Not chordally complex... but that G chord sure makes it interesting, I think. Or, maybe I'm just so used to three-chord tunes that anything with an extra one is worth posting about?

BrendanD - Posted - 02/23/2014:  00:47:11

Carl, that clip sure brings back memories! I was at that concert at Fiddle Tunes in 1982, and I was probably in the workshop where you taught that tune as well. If I dug through my old cassettes, I could probably tell you what you called the tune that day! I'm not sure if it will display properly, but here's one more picture taken by Don Mussell of that very showcase concert. Hard to believe it was 32 years ago!

JanetB - Posted - 02/24/2014:  07:02:59

Thanks, J-Walk, for a delightful take on this tune.  Here's my morning's effort on the Robert Browder small scale oak gourd banjo.

VIDEO: Wine's Delight
(click to view)


J-Walk - Posted - 02/24/2014:  15:09:22

Good one, Janet. That tune sounds great on a gourd. 

(Boy, that big photo sure screws up the page)

BrendanD - Posted - 02/24/2014:  16:06:07


Originally posted by J-Walk

(Boy, that big photo sure screws up the page)

Yeah, sorry about that! Since I just inserted a URL link to it with the image tool, I had no idea how big it was; it didn't display anywhere near that size on the page I linked from. Is there an easy way to resize it here, do you know? I guess I could just delete the post (if it will let me) but I'd rather not have to do that.

Snaps - Posted - 02/24/2014:  16:14:55

Thanks John, nicely done!

BANJOJUDY - Posted - 02/24/2014:  16:25:32

Brendon and Carl Baron:

I asked my husband if he could identify the banjo player in your picture, and he immediately said, "Carl Baron."  So, Carl, you have not changed much in the past few decades.

Thanks for the great picture.  I love looking at this kind of stuff.

Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 02/25/2014:  03:10:43

Great playing Janet, J-Walk and the rest of the TOTW cadre.

Here's my stab at the tune:



guitarman8491 - Posted - 02/25/2014:  10:05:36

John, really enjoyed the way you played this ..thanks for posting it and taking the time to get the history of it out.

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