This traditional dance tune often played in various rhythmic styles, including a Schottische and 2/4 time, is a very popular piece of music performed in many North American eastern and mid-western states.
It has been recorded by several artists and was released on single by the mandolinist/guitarist Paul Buskirk.
Over the years it has appeared under the guise of many different names and some of these include:
“Billy Wilson’s Clog”
This version has been said to be a clog dance of Canadian origin with four versions recorded in Michigan where they were known as “Wilson’s Clog”. It has also been described as an American hornpipe. In 1937 a performance of it was recorded in Montreal by old-time fiddler Don Messer and his New Brunswick Lumberjacks and issued by the Compo Company on several of their labels. Messer later published it under the name “Clog in C Major” The same song has been performed and recording in the Shetland Islands in Scotland by the Scottish country dance band Da Fustra.
A hornpipe using this name has been credited to the composer and fiddler James Hill from Newcastle, England who died in the mid-1800s. It has been suggested that his influence was the 1849 Gold Rush in California. This version appeared in the 1883 Ryan’s Mammoth Collection and the 1880’s Edinburgh publication Kohler’s Violin Repository. It has been recorded by the Scottish group Wallochmor Ceilidh Band on their Looking for a Partner.
“Evening Pleasures Schottiche”
A version using this name is known to have been performed by John Summers who was a fiddler from Indiana. It was also performed by and attributed to the fiddler Tony Gilmore from Jefferson City.
This is a clog dance from Ohio which has been said to be a version of “Parkersburg Landing”. This version was given its title by John Baltzell who came from Mount Vernon, Ohio and became acquainted with a local minstrel called Dan Emmett who taught him to play the fiddle sometime during the 1890s. It is thought he named the tune after Gambier, Ohio’s Kenyon College. Baltzell recorded the tune in 1928.
“The Mason-Dixon Line”
This is an American Schottische from Southwest Pennsylvania with versions notated by local musicians in 1948, 1952 and 1961.
This American Clog dance has been thought to have been named after the American clipper ship Nightingale. An adapted version of it called “Acrobat’s Clog” was used by P.T. Barnum in his circus and appears on a tune list for Scottish fiddlers. This has been recorded by numerous artists and groups.
“O Dear Mother My Toes Are Sore”
This one is described as a march or jig and has been ascribed to Michigan and Pennsylvania but it has been thought by the Pennsylvanian folklorist and musicologist Samuel Preston Bayard that it may originally have come from Great Britain although not tracing its actual roots. Another possibility that was reported is that the same melody is “Sandy Floor” which comes from North Michigan.
Described as a Schottische and Old-Time this tune was often played by Ed Haley who was a blind fiddler that hailed from eastern Kentucky. He learned to perform it when he was living in West Virginia in the vicinity of Parkersburg but spent the last three decades of his life from around 1920 living back in Kentucky. It was later recorded in Mississippi under the name “Limber Neck Blues” and “Kenion Clog” is also a version.
This one has been described as a Bluegrass, Country Blues, Old-Time and Rag and has been suggested by Dr. Charles Wolfe and Barry Poss that it may have been an early 20th century ragtime composition. It was brought to people’s attention and made popular by the Tennessee fiddler Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith, who recording it in the 1930s/40s. The story is that he learned it from his cousin, Clay Smith, who had heard it played on KMOX in St. Louis, Missouri, by the fiddler Wade Ray. It was performed by Narmour & Smith from Mississippi as “Limber Neck Blues” and Ed Haley from Kentucky as “Parkersburg Landing”
This American clog tune is known to have been published in the 1896 White’s Unique Collection followed by the 1907 White’s Excelsior Collection.
This tune is also known as “Billy Wilson’s Clog”
Paul Buskirk recordings
Rustic Dance Scottische (Traditional)
Stoneway Records No. 1131-2 (LH-13690)