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Railroad Through The Rocky Mountains
as played by Jim Bowles
by Stacy Phillips
In recognition of the reprint of Jim Nelson’s fine article on Jim Bowles, I am including a transcription of one Bowles’ signature tunes, Railroad Through the Rocky Mountains. He played it with the G string tuned up to D. That effects the low A and C# notes in the first two staves of the notation.
If you keep the standard violin tuning of 4th string G, those notes are, as usual, played with first and third fingers respectively. With the 4th string up to A, the same notes are played open and 2nd finger. The latter is easier and, as important, more resonant.
This arrangement is a combination of a couple of choruses by Bowles as is the bowing.
According to Andrew Kuntz’s Fiddler’s Companion web site
(http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/), Railroad Through the Rocky Mountains’ alternate titles and related tunes include: “Cricket on the Hearth,” “Damon’s Window/Winder,” “The Devil in Georgia,” “Grand Honrpipe,” “Marmaduke’s Hornpipe,” “Mud Fence,” “Ride the Goat Over the Mountain,” "Rocky Mountain Goat,” “Swiss Chalet."
This version is reprinted from my “Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes - Volume One”. It is available from the Mel Bay Publications web site as well as my own at: www.stacyphillips.com. Thanks to Kerry Blech for a copy of Bowles’ recording of this tune.