According to liner notes for The Doc Watson Family (Smithsonian/Folkways CD SF 40012), "This song was learned from the playing of Jim Collier, who learned it from Bayard [Byard] Ray, a fourth generation fiddler from Marshall, North Carolina." (The album is available for listening through Amazon Music.)
And, interestingly enough, there appears to have been a band of the same name. Don McLeese's notes published on Amazon for the 'Round The Table Again album by Doc Watson with Frosty Morn (Richard Watson, T. Michael Coleman, Bob Lamar Hill, and Joe Smothers) says it was a "group formed by Watson's late son Merle in the mid-1970s ... to play a wider range of material than he and Doc generally performed, and the band frequently toured as the Watsons' concert opener."
I know I'm not alone in associating tunes with people and/or places and/or events. I remember, very clearly, sitting on a boardwalk bench in Grover Beach, California, when I was first working on this tune--and it was anything BUT a frosty morning! David Bragger introduced me to the tune and it didn't take long for me to realize that it would become a favorite. I’ve been playing it ever since.
I've attached a "porch" recording (gDGCD) that I made today (inside because with everyone's air conditioners hard at work the porch is too noisy for that sort of thing right now). It's nothing fancy—just my in-the-moment take on David's take on the Watsons' tune—but it will give you some idea of just how fun it is to play.
I'm looking forward to hearing others' recordings of the tune and I'm hoping some of you will have additional information to add.
So pleasing to hear you play, Cyndy. Anything with Doc Watson and son Merle for TOTW is appreciated, as well as the links to others' playing.
Instead of using the banjo, I used Doc's guitar to arrange Frosty Morn for clawhammer banjo. Because I hear the relationship to Cold Frosty Morning I thought of putting them together in a medley, so here it is sandwiched in-between. There are differences, mainly in the A part, but they go together well and are in the same modal tuning. It's interesting that Miles Krassen, whose tab taught me Cold Frosty Morning, linked it to the fiddle playing of Henry Reed.
I like Dwight Diller's slower rendition, too -- I often play moderately slow. His seems to draw from both Frosty Morn and Cold Frosty Morning, especially in his B part.
Enlightening post. I never thought deeply about Cold Frosty Morning versus Frosty Morn, but as Andy states, thinking of these as separate but related tunes makes sense now. I've known this tune for so long that in a jam I just follow whoever calls it (whichever it, it is). I just varied whatever I played without much further thought.
I also like to let loose when playing by myself and experiment a bit with the Cold Frosty Morning/Frosty Morn genus. It's a good tune for messing around, which is maybe how these different versions evolved. Anyway, here is my current "fooling around" rendering. Maybe I should just re-title it as "Sub-zero Early Day with Hiccups" (using metric here).
Thanks Cyndy for posting this. Goes to show that there is always something to learn, even on something you think you know well.