Knockdowns & Minstrels

A knockdown tune is a rough and tumble banjo song played at breakneck tempos in styles with such names as clawhammer, thumb-cocking, rapping, frailing, and shuffling. This rhythmic style was used to back up the fiddler at dances long before mail order made guitars readily available in rural areas.

Starting in the 1840's a minstrel craze swept across America, complete with raucous banjos, fiddles, wash boards, bones, spoons, and other percussion. The demand for minstrel songs was so great that songwriters like Dan Emmett and Stephen Foster composed new songs to sound old the day they were written.

Hot Corn, Cold Corn is a nonsense song recorded in 1932 by singer and guitarist Asa Martin of Estill County, Ky., an accompanist of the famous fiddler, Doc Roberts.

Snowshoes, also known as Spotted Pony, is an old-time fiddle breakdown originating out of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. We hope you enjoy our Tennessee cabin snow version.

Go On Nora Lee, which is traditionally sung "Gwine" Nora Lee, is a 1930 Uncle Dave Macon classic. Here the Hootenanny performs on the porch of the old Coopertown Store on Haint Hollow Road. Aunt Emma Jean's great grandfather, Billy "Professor" Cooper, operated this store during the era of Uncle Dave Macon.

Even though Dixie was the battle hymn of the Confederacy, it was extrememly popular in the North, as well. It was, in fact, one of Abraham Lincoln's favorite songs. In later years Dixie was associated with the image of the old South, and it became unfashionable to sing it. Now heard in marching band routines and football fight songs, Dixie may again be as popular as in the days when Dan Emmett so harmlessly composed it. Listen in as the Hootenanny pays their respects.

Are You From Dixie was written by lyricist Jack Yellen and composer George Cobb in 1915 in celebration of the American South. The Blue Sky Boys discovered the song in the mid-1930's and used it as their radio theme song. This is the first song performed by The Haint Hollow Hootenanny.

Sail Away Ladies is one of the most popular fiddle tunes of all time. John L. “Uncle Bunt” Stephens, a veteran old-time fiddler born in Bedford County, Tennessee, popularized the tune. Uncle Dave Macon went on to make a big hit with his foot stomping version. Watch as Courtney dances and sails away on the front porch of the Shuffelo residence.

How Many Biscuits Can You Eat? is a fine foot stomper made popular long ago by The Coon Creek Girls and Grandpa Jones. It is evident here that The Hootenanny really enjoys this quirky old song which celebrates one of their favorite foods.....sopped in gravy of course.

This tune dates all the way back to 1843 but was first recorded by the Hodge Brothers in 1928 as What are You Going to Do With the Baby? and then in 1929 by the duet, Grayson and Whitter, from East Tennessee. Here Derryberry has his own idea about stuffing the yelling baby down the tuba bell.....while Uncle Shuff seems a little perturbed and wants to send the baby back to his mammy.

Sleeping Lulu was a standard of Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers, one of the most innovative and influential string bands of the 1920's and 1930's. The Hootenanny was joined in Calhoun, Georgia on this instrumental number by UDM Banjo Champion, Daniel Rothwell.

Way Down the Old Plank Road was made famous by the original Grand Ole Opry star, Uncle Dave Macon, who played the banjo and some pretty impressive percussion with his feet, along with guitar accompaniment by Sam McGee. It was recorded in New York on April 14, 1926. Uncle Shuffelo gets lost in the corn here while looking for the elusive roadway.