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Winder's Slide --- An Old-Timey Song


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I just discovered "Sugar in the Gourd", an all old-timey music website, and I love this type of music. One recent song was Winder's Slide (or simply Winders Slide), portions of which are now stuck in my head. My question is whether anyone can recommend a site for the sheet music to it or where I can hear it again? I want to get the rest of the song stuck there too. Thanks to anyone that can help.

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A lot of sites refer to the tune as being by Joe LaRose.


WINDER SLIDE. AKA - "End of the Lane." Old-Time, Breakdown. A modern 'old-time' tune composed around 1980 by Joe LaRose, in the style of Gus and Theodore Clark, who recorded 2 sides in North Georgia about 1930 --"Barrow County Stomp" and "Wimbush Rag." Two versions are played, one from Joe's original recording, covered by Bruce Molsky. A second version was developed by LaRose, who added to the 'B' part of the tune. This latter version was recorded by Rayna Gellert, learned from Bill Dillof. Kerry Blech writes: "Bruce first heard it on a tape sent to him by a friend. Joe's original recording of it was double tracked guitar and fiddle, with 78rpm surface noise overlaid. The first version he sent around was jokingly titled as by Gus and Theo. Clark. I forwarded it, as is, to many friends, and that is what Bruce apparently received in the mail. WS also was left alongside the other two real 78rpm cuts of the the Clarks, and was at the end of the taped interview with Bert Layne. Bruce later told me that what he found out from me was called "Winder Slide" was untitled on that tape and that he started calling it "The End of the Layne."

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I was fortunate to take a week long class with Rayna last summer at Mars Hill College. She's an amazing fiddler and teacher. Ways of the World CD is a real inspiration and she fortunately gives the fiddle and banjo tuning for each tune. I've been playing along on some of the aeae tunes; really changes the fiddle's resonance.

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So you're saying that the G string is tightened up to A, and the D

string is tightened up to E?  How peculiar!  I never

realized that anyone did that.

All of the celtic stuff I've been studying doesn't call for tunings

like that, at least not that I've come across.  Is that

typical of American bluegrass and whatnot?

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Cross-tunings are fun. There's something of a tradition of it in the northern Scottish music, maybe some reflection of the Hardanger fiddles of Scandinavia.

You can try it easy. Tune your G string up to A, then play Soldier's Joy (in D). You can get that lower string humming along without bowing it. Sympathetic vibrations.

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Some old Scottish tunes written in scordatura show up in the collections from the golden period of Scottish fiddling; I can think of a couple in Robert Petrie's collections (1790-1810) e.g., but they seem to be much more common in the areas influenced by Scandanavian fiddling (Shetland, Orkney). Personally, I'm a little afraid of what the higher tuning will do to my fiddles so tend to avoid these tunes! What do you think Ken; am I worrying needlessly? -Steve

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Hi Steve,

I think you're safe. Unless you have a particularly fragile instrument, the string will fail before anything happens to the instrument. And you're usually tuning up the lower strings, which are a bit tougher.

If you're still worried, you can cheat a bit. For example, if the tuning is (low to high) AEAE, you can tune it GDGD, that is, drop the top two rather than raise the bottom two. Of course you'll be in a different key, but you can play the tune to see if you like the feel of it. Unst Bridal March is one to do in AEAE.

Most tunings I know don't mess with raising the e string, and that's probably for practical purposes. A Scottish tune that uses AEAC# is Kennet's Dream, which sounds to my ear a lot like the American old-time tune, Drunken Hiccups, so it's possibly an ancestor. My books say the Scottish version dates from the 1700s.

The first cross-tuning (never could spell sordatura*) I learned is DDAD, which is dropping the bottom string to an octave below the D string. You have to tune a bit flat to compensate for the bow pressure. The e string is also dropped to D, so you have 3 octaves of D's. A couple of fun tunes there are Bonaparte's Retreat, Dry and Dusty, and Midnight on the Water. Only the first one sounds Scottish, but I don't think it is.

* edit -- even while looking at the word scordatura, I can't spell it!

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