Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

 All Forums
 Playing the Banjo
 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 2/2/18 - Going to the Wedding to Get a Piece of Cake

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 02/03/2018:  17:13:29

Earlier this week I was doing some hiking in a local metro park and afterwards stopped in at the park's visitor center just to see if they had any new exhibits on view. While looking around I noticed a large crowd and tables of food in the activity room. The center often hosts meetings of various outdoor activity clubs and organizations, so I wandered into the room to see what group this was. I will admit that after my three-hour hike I initially focused my attention primarily on the nearby food and drink tables, trying to decide which of the tasty looking treats to eat first. I soon noticed, however, that everyone around me was very well-dressed, and that I stood out in my muddy hiking clothes. I also noticed that several people were staring at me with looks of mild disapproval. It was only then that I saw the sign just inside the door: "Miller/Beatty Wedding Reception". Oops. I retreated before I could get thrown out and headed to my car.

So I didn't get any food or drink, let alone a piece of wedding cake. However, the experience did lead to this week's Tune of the Week, Going to the Wedding to Get a Piece of Cake, the title of which perhaps understandably caught my eye while searching through tune lists a day or two later.

It is a tune that comes to us from the Newton County Hillbillies, a Mississippi String Band active in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  Based, not surprisingly, in Newton County - in the east central part of the state between Jackson and Meridian - the group recorded six sides for Okeh Records in Jackson in December of 1930.  As far as I know their version of Going to the Wedding to Get a Piece of Cake is our only source for the tune.

I could find very little information on the Newton County Hillbillies. The group consisted of  Alvis Massengale on fiddle, Andrew Harrison on guitar, and Marcus Harrison on mandolin.  They were a relatively obscure local group that disbanded not long after making their records. In the early 1970s, Gus Meade and a few other folk music researchers tracked Alvis Massengale down, still living in Newton County, and convinced him to take up the fiddle again. Like Going to a Wedding, many of the tunes he played are quite rare or unique and are evidently local to his particular corner of Mississippi (Sebastapol, for instance, which has entered the wider Old Time repertoire, has no other source but Alvis). In separate sessions, Gus Meade and Howard Marshall recorded about 30 of his tunes, and Alvis played at the 1974 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which featured Mississippi musicians. He died in 1993 at the age of 96 (

Alvis' solo version of the tune can be found on the Field Recorders Collective's CD of those 1970s recordings:

The Newton County Hillbillies' original 1930 recording of the tune is available on County Records "Missisippi String Bands, Volume 2", but I was unable to find a file available online:

Going to the Wedding to Get a Piece of Cake has remained a relatively obscure tune.  I could find only two recent examples, by Chirps Smith and Greg Canote.

Chirps Smith, fiddle:

Greg's version and tablature by Maya Whitmount is available on the MossyRoof site:


Edited by - EggerRidgeBoy on 02/03/2018 17:26:11

JanetB - Posted - 02/04/2018:  15:03:01

Another good one, Bret, with an entertaining story on your part.  I found a similar title called Going to the Wedding in Harry Bollick and Stephen Austin's new book Mississippi Fiddle Tunes and Song from the 1930's.  It compares this TOTW with it, as well as with versions of Sally Ann, Great Big Taters in Sandy Land, and Mississippi Square Dance.  It's in the B part I especially hear similarity.  I didn't yet find Greg Canote's version, but would love to hear it.  Here is a link to musical notation in John Lamancusa's site:

For this arrangement I used a lick in the fourth measure of the B part that I've found works in other tunes and even in double C tuning.


Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

Hide these ads: join the Players Union!