#150 ~ Prettiest Little Girl in the Country

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner, in a close race, is Prettiest Little Girl in the Country, which was submitted as an Old-time tune. I'm having no luck in finding notation for this tune! If there's anyone out there that knows it, and could come up with notation or abc, that would be great!

    I found this on Fiddler's Companion

    PRETTIEST (LITTLE) GIRL IN THE COUNTRY(-O). AKA ‑ "Prettiest Little Girl in the County‑O," "Purtiest Gal in the Country." AKA and see “Old Aunt Jenny,” "Prosperity Breakdown." Old‑Time, Breakdown with Vocals. USA, fairly common in the South. G Major. Standard tuning. ABB (Titon): AABB (Rosenbaum). The tune is similar in its melodic countour to "What're We Gonna Do with the Baby‑O" and to “Turkey Buzzard.” R.P. Christeson notes similarity to his “Sugar in the Coffee” (Old Time Fiddler’s Repertory, vol. II, No. 129). "A popular 19th century fiddle and play party tune well remembered by older informants across the South" (Charles Wolfe). Jeff Titon says the tune is generally well known in the South, but not frequently found in the repertoires of Kentucky fiddlers. Alan and Elizabeth Lomax recorded the tune for the Library of Congress from the playing of fiddler George C. Nicholson. See also Thomas Tally’s No. 41. Verses are commonly sung to the last line of the 'B' part, such as:
    Cornstalk fiddle and pea vine bow,
    Gwine take Sal to the party.
    Swing 'em like you love 'em,
    The boys are not above 'em.
    Little more sugar in the coffee‑o,
    Swing Sal to the party.
    Prettiest little girl in the country‑o,
    Mommy and Daddy told me so. (Skillet Lickers)
    Prettiest little girl in the country‑o,
    Papa and mama both said so.
    All dressed up in calico,
    I'm gonna take her to the party‑o.
    I can get her if I want her,
    I can get her if I want her. (Gordon Tanner)
    Prettiest little girl in the county oh
    How do I know, cause she told me so. (Gene Goforth)
    Sources for notated versions: Gordon Tanner (Dacula, Gwinnett County, Georgia) [Rosenbaum]; Jake Phelps and Street Butler (Pea Ridge, Todd County, Ky., 1965) [Titon]. Rosenbaum (Folk Visions and Voices: Traditional Music and Song in North Georgia), 1989; pg. 111. Titon (Old Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes), 2001; No. 129, pg. 156. Berea College Appalachian Center AC002, Clyde Davenport – “Puncheon Camps” (1992). Columbia 15315 (78 RPM), Clayton McMichen (1928). Davis Unlimited DU 32028, W.L. Gregory – “Homemade Stuff” (1978). Folkways FTS 31062, "Ship in the Clouds: Old Time Instrumental Music" (1978. Learned from the Gid Tanner and Riley Puckett recording). Rounder 1023, Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers (North Ga.) ‑ "The Kickapoo Medecine Show" (1980, originally recorded 1924). Rounder CD-0388, Gene Goforth – “Emminence Breakdown” (1997). Voyager VRLP 328‑S, "Kenny Hall and the Long Haul String Band" (learned from the 1924 Skillet Lickers recording). Recorded for the Library of Congress by W.A. Bledsoe (Meridian, Mississippi), 1939.

    I found this on You Tube:

  2. Marcelyn
    I've never heard of this one, but apparently it's popular around here, because I was surprised to recognize two folks from my own town in the first five Youtube hits. Small world. Anyway, I found a lot more for it under the title Prettiest Little Girl in the County.
    I don't have notation, but thank goodness for this guy. It's the lone video with a tune played at a pace I can pick out by ear.

  3. OldSausage
    If you go on Amazon.com, and find the book Great Mandolin Picking Tunes here:


    And do "Look Inside", you can then do a search for "Prettiest" and it will bring up a page of tab which I think is exactly what your guy is playing, Marcelyn. You can do a screengrab to save the tab or print it.
  4. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Or send me a PM with your email
  5. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    So here is my first no-frills version:

    And now back to the double stops in Maple Sugar.
  6. Michael Thompson
    Michael Thompson
    I think it might be a while before I can do this one; I cut my finger earlier while preparing some vegetables for a soup. As luck would have it, I just had to cut my index finger and right on the tip. *rolls eyes* Oh well. It should heal relatively quickly and then I'll get right on this one.
  7. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Here's an abc loosely based on Manfred's playing:

    X: 1
    T:The Prettiest Girl In The County
    |:Bc|d2A2FGAd|B2A4Bc|d2A2FDFA|G2E4Bc|d2A2F2A2|BABd e3c|A2c2e3g|f2d4:|
    |:eg|a2f2gfeg|f2d4fg|a2f2g2a2|b2e4fg|a2f2gfeg|fedf e3c|A2c2e3g|f2d4:|
  8. OldSausage
    Hey Manfred, your mandolin just sounds beautiful there. Sorry to hear about your finger, Michael, ouchy ouchy!
  9. OneFineBob
    Here's a hand-written version of the tune. I found it in the middle of this website:


    In the 1920s, a north Georgia fiddle band, Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers, made a commercial 78 rpm record of a song called Prettiest Little Girl in the County-o.


  10. OldSausage
    Here's the Gid Tanner & The Skillet Lickers version:

  11. laura809
    Nice job Manfred. You always get such excellent tone out of your mandolin. Thanks to everyone who hunted down notation for this one. I couldn't find anything, and it takes me a long time to figure tunes out by ear.
  12. fatt-dad
    Here it is in E-flat so I could follow Norman Blake. I have a capo on the first fret and am playing like "D." I think Norman does one "A" and two "B." I got mixed up and did one and two "A" parts. Oh well, I'm still learning the other arrangement.

  13. fatt-dad
    So I learned the version like Laura played and gave that a go too. This is on my other Flatiron.

  14. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    Nice job on the Norman version, f-d. That sounds old timey.

    Actually, nice job on both. You were posting while I was writing.
  15. neil argonaut
    neil argonaut
    Some great versions; thanks especially to Manfred as I couldn't find notation and learnt it from his version.
    Once again apologies as the visuals stick and jump and are out of sync.
  16. Marcelyn
    Great job on the Norman Blake version, FD. That sounds tricky.
    Really nice, Neil. Your accompaniment really makes the tune come to life.
    I showed Jeff the Skillet Licker version, and he says it's one of his favorites now.

  17. Loretta Callahan
    Loretta Callahan
    This is a new song for me, and I love everyone's take on it. I agree, Manfred's mandolin really has a nice sound to it. So nice to see Marcelyn bring in Jeff's voice and banjo.
  18. jonny250
    I was struggling to hear how this tune should go, but now with some really nice recordings posted, i will have to give it a try
    Marcelyn and jeff that was a lovely duet, neil i do like the sound of that mando. Well played everyone!
  19. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Thanks Manfred, Laura, fatt-dad, and Neil for your excellent versions. Marcelyn and Jeff -- very nice arrangement. Jeff's new banjo sounds great as well as his singing. Marcy your mandolin sounds like a hammered dulcimer at times -- very cool! Here's my version taken from an old time fiddler and adapted to the mandolin. No tab for me I just played it!

  20. fatt-dad
    M.P. that was great! Now for some reason I can't see the youtube video on this thread (mine either), but I can hear the audio.

    Well done!

  21. Marcelyn
    I especially love the tunes you adapt from old time fiddle versions Michael. That one sounds super.
    I passed on your nice compliment to Jeff on his new banjo. He's pretty fond of it.
  22. Colin Braithwaite
    Colin Braithwaite

    I'd say "better late than never" but I'll let you be the judge...
  23. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Colin, I liked it!
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