Wee #120 ~ Rabbit in the Pea Patch

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is Rabbit in the Pea Patch, which was submitted as an Old Time tune.

    I found this on Fiddler's Companion

    RABBIT IN THE PEA PATCH [1]. Old‑Time, Breakdown. USA; Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee. D Major. Standard tuning. AABBCC. Composed by Uncle Dave Macon who recorded it on 78 RPM in 1927. Drew Besswenger (2008) notes that the title was connected to a play party game with a “Skip to My Lou” melody. It was recorded for the Library of Congress by Herbert Halpert in 1939 from the playing of Tishomingo County, Mississippi, fiddler W.E. Claunch. “Rabbit in the Pea Patch” is a standard tune in a square dance fiddler's repertoire, asserts A.B. Moore in his History of Alabama, 1934, and lending credence to this its being recorded in the Clarke County Democrat of May 6, 1926, as a definitive old‑time piece played for a contest in Jackson, Clark County, Alabama.
    Get my gun, fetch old Rover,
    Run that rabbit out of town.
    I'm up on the hillside rakin' up hay,
    Rabbit in the Pea Patch eatin' all day;
    Dee‑ca‑dee‑dee, dee‑ca‑dee‑dee‑doo,
    Dee‑ca‑dee‑dee‑dee, dee‑ca‑dee‑ca‑doo.
    I'm up on the hillside rakin' up leaves,
    The Rabbit in the Pea Patch eatin' up all the peas.
    I'm up on the hillside rakin' up grass,
    The Rabbit in the Pea Patch sittin' on his ass. [Red Clay Ramblers, based on Uncle Dave Macon’s version]
    The title is connected with a play-party game. Other early recorded versions are from Vernon Dalhart (1931) and the Pickard Family (1928). Guthrie Meade links the melody to “Grey Cat on a Tennessee Farm,” “Spotted Pony [1],” and “Snow Shoes [2].” Source for notated version: The Red Clay Ramblers (North Carolina) [Kuntz]. Kuntz (Ragged but Right), 1987; pg. 350. County 521, Uncle Dave Macon and the Fruit Jar Drinkers ‑ "Original Recordings 1925‑ 1935." Flying Fish 055, The Red Clay Ramblers‑ "Merchant's Lunch" (1977). Supertone (Brunswick) 2071 {78 RPM}, the Pickard Family.
    See also listing at:
    Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources
    T:Rabbit in the Pea Patch [1]
    S:Kuntz – Ragged but Right
    (3d/c/B/|[DA]a g>a|g/f/e/d/ e/d/c/B/|{^G}[A2A2] [A2A2]|A/B/A/G/ F/D/E/F/|
    [DA]a g>f|g/f/e/d/ e/d/c/B/|A/B/c/d/ e/A/g/A/|f/A/e/A/ d(3d/c/B/|[D<A<]a g>a|
    g/f/e/d/ e/d/c/B/|{^G}[A2A2] [A2A2]|A/B/A/G/ F/D/E/F/|[DA]a g>f|g/f/e/d/ e/d/c/B/|
    A/B/c/d/ e/A/g/A/|f/A/e/A/ df/g/||
    a>g ff|ee/g/ f/e/d|af af|e/d/e/e/ df/g/|af/g/ af|ee/g/ f/e/d|a/g/f/g/ af/f/|e/d/e/e/ d2||
    |:[AA][A/A/][A/B/] [FA][FA]|[E/A/][D/A/][E/A/][G/A/] [F/A/][D/A/][DA]|
    [A>A>][AA] [FA][FA]|[E/A/][D/A/][E/A/][F/A/] [D2A2]:||
  2. Susanne
    I can't get the hang of the tune listening to the midi or even reading the notation.. are there recordings as well?
  3. Marcelyn
    Here's the clip I found most useful in picking out the melody...
    Here's the recording considered the gold standard for this tune from Uncle Dave Macon in 1927.

    What I had to do to learn it by ear was slow the midi way, way down. You can do this by adding a line to the header to tell it the tempo. I just put Q:100 under the M:2/4

    Hope that's helpful.
  4. Susanne
    That's great, Marcelyn! The mandolin playing it makes the melody sound as a melody, as opposed to the midi that doesn't make sense at all Sounds like a cool tune.
  5. Ed Goist
    Ed Goist
    Here is the tab for this tune as posted to the Mandolin Cafe tab page.
  6. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Well, here I go plunging right into the deep end...played on a Kentucky mandolin, Harmony banjo and Simon & Patrick guitar. Sung with my best old timey vocal. Hope you like it cause it was sure fun to play...

  7. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Great playing and singing, Michael.
    You do so many things at this amazing speed! I wish I were able to play the tune half as fast only on the mandolin.
  8. Toycona
    Really awesome! You set the bar!!
  9. Marcelyn
    Totally great, Michael. The lyrics were the icing on the cake. Great video.
  10. GKWilson
    Great fun Michael. Found myself dancin' like Pa Kettle.
  11. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin
    Brilliant performance Michael. There is a lot more to this song, with its double stops and slides, than last week's.

  12. Susanne
    Very nice work, lads! When I see the sheet music I really can't see that it's as easy as that. They have thrown in a lot of triplets, crosspicking and other stuff. I hate it when they print out such things. Sheet music should be the basic melody and then the player decides how to spice it up I'd better learn from the recordings instead..
  13. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    I don't like tabs, abcs and sheet music either. I usually search Rhapsody for all the versions of a song I'm trying to learn and then pick the one or two that suit me best. Then I slow down the song in Audacity and figure out what the fiddle or mandolin is doing and adapt it to my style of playing the mandolin. You get a personalized version of the song and a lot of ear training too! For the above version of Rabbit in a Pea Patch I used both of Marcelyn's links (thanks Marcelyn) and a version of the song by Peter Feldman and the Pea Patch Quintet.

    Thanks, Manfred, for the kind words. Playing fast is like riding a bicycle -- hard to get started at first, then a little unsteady, finally smoothing out with a lot of practice!

    Nice work maudlin!
  14. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    Michael that was GREAT!
  15. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    That was really well-done, Michael, just the way I like my rabbit. <g> Nice job, maudlin.
  16. Susanne
    What is Rhapsody, Michael? Right now I only have access to videos. Maybe I can find a good recording on iTunes or Spotify that I can slow down. Does anyone know if you can slow down tunes with Garage band?
  17. Marcelyn
    Nice job on that one MM. I aggree this one is a step up from last week. The little cross picking (is that cross picking?) part at the end of the A part gives me fits.

    Susi, Audacity is a free program you can downlad. It can do a lot of cool things, but mainly I just use it to slow down tunes. I think Rapsedy is a site where you can pay to download MP3s.
  18. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    Fun tune! Hint: count it in four, with the 1/8th notes getting a beat and the 16th notes as 1/8ths (one AND two AND...). So the first full measure is 1, 2, 3 and, 4, with the A 16th note as the 4. The quarter notes become half notes, so full measure no. 3 is 1 2, 3 4. This will either A) help or B) make the tune even more confusing! (g)

    (Subbing in the Vimeo version which is less outrageously out of synch after compression.)
  19. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Nice job Mike!
    Susi, Rhapsody.com is a site which lets you have access to millions of tunes covering all genres of music. It has a $10 a month subscription fee. I've found that almost every song we've done here on the SAW group has many different recorded versions to choose from. The library for folk music is immense! To me it's well worth the price.
  20. Marcelyn
    Mike, I always love learning from your videos. Your playing has such energy. Your take on this tune is awesome!

    I tried this one out on Jeff when he had his soprano ukulele in hand. I only realized how much of a non-old timey duo this pair of instruments was after listening to the recording. We had a fun time though, and maybe I'll get him to try it on banjo later.

  21. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Michael, Maudlin, Mike and Marcelyn, there's some great Old Time here, I think you guys have got the 'feel' nailed. I need to work at it......maybe it's something to do with you're names beginning with 'M'.......!!!!!
  22. Susanne
    Marcelyn, I don't like Audacity. I've used it a lot, and it's lovely and simple for editing tunes (like removing silence in the beginning or end of tunes, and all cutting and pasting), but I think it's extremely annoying that you have to download some weird little file and put it somewhere and then find it to be able to export mp3. It's better to have everything built into the software. Garageband is very nice, but I haven't used it lots yet. I wouldn't like to install Audacity just for slowing down tunes.
    Lovely recording, by the way!! Too bad your mandolin isn't heard more in it. I know it's hard to make all instruments sound clearly in a recording like that. Lovely, however.

    Michael, Rhapsody sounds a little bit like something we have here that is called Spotify. It's a service for music (and there's tons of it) for listening both online and offline, make playlists and you can even download it I think. I pay like 10 dollars a month and it's lovely. I haven't used it for a while now, probably should
  23. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Great versions all round, folks. Michael, really top class offering with vocals and all. As Toycona says, you set the bar, and high enough for us to limbo under quite comfortably! Interesting connection you spotted, Tosh, with all the players having an "M" initial. Marshall also has an "M", of course, so no pressure for your version to be posted!
  24. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    I didn't realize a soprano uke made such a good old-time instrument! Great submissions, y'all. And great picks. Past couple of weeks' tunes are real keepers for me.
  25. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    I think Marcy's Jeff could make an iPod sound old-timey!
  26. Marcelyn
    Ha, I'll tell him you said that. Here's an experiment though. Listen to the video with eyes closed and see whether your perception of an old-time sound is at all influenced by the sight of Jeff's bare feet.

    Martin, I'm thinking this tune would suit you pretty well--plus your name does start with M...
  27. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    You know, I have listened to all these versions and I just am having a hard time internalizing it. I like the way y'all do it, but somehow the tune has not resonated with me. I can't seem to wrap my head around it. I know that's kind of a vague, existential way of expressing it, but that's the best I can do. I think I will pass.
  28. Susanne
    Same here, at least this week. I'm going to a bluegrass festival this weekend and if the oldtime musicians from Stockholm are there, they may know it. If my (sometimes) fiddle teacher is there, she probably knows it. It's a nice tune and I'd like to learn it!
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