High yellow, occasionally simply yellow, is a term for persons classified as black who also have a high proportion of white ancestry. It is a reference to the golden yellow skin tone of some mixed-race people. The term was in common use in the United States at the end of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century. It is often considered offensive. It is reflected in such popular songs of the era as "The Yellow Rose of Texas".
The original recorded source is by Henry Reed, and Alan Jabbour seems to be pretty much responsible for keeping this tune alive. In 1967, Alan Jabbour recorded Henry Reed playing the tune, and he writes:
This tune is of a class in the Upper South that seem to be touched by the idiom of ragtime without being derived from the world of popular music. They are perhaps evidence that ragtime developed as a country style parallel to--or even prior to--its development as a cosmopolitan popular style around the turn of the century. Henry Reed said that he learned this tune from a mulatto fiddler from Texas (on another occasion he suggested that this fiddler was from Cabell County, West Virginia).. The Hollow Rock String Band performed this tune under the title "High Yellow," which is adopted here for cross-referencing purposes, but Henry Reed gave no title for it.
I assume the name" High Yellow" refers to Henry Reed's cited source,any way i can't get enough of Henry's Version,i am including my version,which i hope to slow down and tighten up a little.It is one of my favorite because of it's snappy rhythm and melody
Upbeat and fun, John. Thanks! I especially liked watching Alan Jabbour with Ken Perlman where I also heard a Southwest rhythmic flavor. I can just see this tune played with trumpet, accordion and guitar, accompanying colorfully dressed dancers.
It's interesting there are three different tunings to choose from. I took your advice and played in double C.