Natchez Under The Hill


The title Natchez Under The Hill seems to cover a whole slew of old time tunes. My ear was caught by this distinctive version which John Hartford used to fiddle. The transcription below is from a performance by the Hartford String Band during the year 2000 (there seems to be some confusion about the exact date) at Vergennes, VT. John also recorded the title on his CD Wild Hog In The Red Brush, Rounder 0392, where he says in the notes: "This tune, a predecessor to Old Zip Coon and Turkey In The Straw, was learned from Benny Thomasson one night in Dallas at a birthday party. Natchez Under The Hill was a popular 19th century Lower Mississippi River resort for liquor, gambling, prostitution and all that goes with it. This title appears in Geo Knauf's tune collection of 1839 and is mentioned in earlier frontier travellers' reports."

John Hartford's version of Natchez Under The Hill is in A, and features a particularly nice minor section in the seond part. Many fiddlers play Natchez in the key of G, including Tex Logan on the Smithsonian Folkways CD Mountain Music Bluegrass Style. There are a couple of arrangements in this key at the CoMando site.

The Hartford String Band play Natchez Under The Hill at a moderate pace, half note = 118.


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