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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 02/04/2017 - Salty River Reel

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vrteach - Posted - 02/04/2017:  14:36:47

I had several tunes in mind, but settled on Salty River Reel, sometimes called Salt River Reel.

This is a fairly popular tune from Missouri and Iowa in A, with the main listed source being Cyril Stinnett of Andrew County, MO. Cyril Stinnett was a fine fiddler, and was particulary noted for his smooth, quick, playing and also that he was left handed and played a regular fiddle upside-down. As you can see in the image he had a chin rest, but his chin is resting elsewhere.  The Fiddler's Companion states that he did not own a fiddle for the last ten years of his life, but would borrow one from other people when needed. Where Stinnett got the tune, I don't know. It sounds kind of Canadian, to me.

I think this recording by Cyril Stinnett is from an LP issued in the 1960s:

Casey Jones from Shenandoah, Iowa was the source for the notation of the tune in The Fiddler's Repertory, and his recording is available at:

There is a good recording of Bob Hagan from a 1983 fiddle contest in Booneville, MO:

Dan Levenson has a fiddle version on youtube, I think the only one of the version I list here played in AEAE on the fiddle:

Chirps Smith's version is what my mandolin-playing friend Mark bases his version:

I first learned the tune several years ago from Billy Mathews' 500 tune project, and it is still one of my favorites although I've drifted a bit from what I first played. I've included his version in my attachments to this post.

As far as banjo versions go, there don't seem to be many out in the wild. Searching the banjo hangout videos shows one by Jack Beuthin and another by Yigal Zan (both really nice).

Back in 2014 I recorded a version at our 2-times-a-month jam in Springfield, IL, at one of the times we had a fairly large crowd:

And I'm attaching the version from Billy Mathews, and an audio and video that I just did a couple of hours ago.

Edited by - vrteach on 02/04/2017 14:39:59

cornfed - Posted - 02/04/2017:  15:12:12

Very nice Erich

jack_beuthin - Posted - 02/04/2017:  17:53:38

Nice presentation of a fine tune. It's a regular in one of more Missourian jams here.  I did post a tab a while back along with my video, so I will attach it here.

vrteach - Posted - 02/04/2017:  19:22:53

Thanks guys.

I had noticed the tablature, but then forgot to list it.

Don Huber - Posted - 02/04/2017:  19:45:40

Thanks for choosing this tune, Erich. It's become one of our favorites as we try to explore more regionally oriented material.

Your version is wonderful, adding the fiddler's ornaments.

Your comment about the tune's origins possibly being from Canada are in agreement with us as well. Our fiddler is well versed in Canadian tunes and he thinks it may be thus. I have seconded his motion by mentioning that Cyril played Canadian tunes he learned from radio broadcasts. One of his signature tunes, Woodchopper's Reel is an example.

Here is our version. Our fiddler wanted us to syncopate the tune a little differently. I plan on stealing as many of your ornamental licks as possible. Cyril is far and away my favorite of the OT Elder MO fiddlers. He's such a joy to listen to!

Edited by - Don Huber on 02/04/2017 19:47:03

JanetB - Posted - 02/04/2017:  22:50:57

This is a mighty fine tune choice, Erich, with fine versions already presented from BHOers and some well-known fiddlers.  I really enjoyed learning more about the shy fiddling farmer Cyril (pronounced "Serl") Stinnett, especially in reading from Howard Marshall's book "Play Me Something Quick and Devilish:" Old-Time Fiddlers in Missouri.  Kenny Baker said about Mr. Stinnett, "I don't know anybody can beat that old man up in northwest Missouri."  I don't know of many who could beat Kenny Baker, so that says a lot.

bhniko - Posted - 02/09/2017:  12:56:12

A highlight of the day.

Andy B - Posted - 02/10/2017:  20:32:14

Al Murphy has a very nice version of Salty River Reel on his 1987 recording "Through The Fields-Fiddle Music From The Midwest Heartland."

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