The 28th Of January reel

There are 4 recordings of this tune.

The 28th Of January has been added to 2 tune sets.

The 28th Of January has been added to 7 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: The 28th Of January
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
"Am"A,A,CE "D"DDFD|"Am"A,A,CE "D"D2EG|"Am"Acea "G"(3gfe BA|"Em"EGA2"Am"A4:|
|:"Am"ea2 (a a)bag|egab a3 (g|"G"g)fga bagf|efga bagf|
"Am"e2 a2abag|egaba2ag|"G"degf edBG|"Em"EGA2"Am"A4:|

Ten comments

The 28th Of January

This is a combination of the version played by the Fuzzy Mountain String Band and the version in Volume 1 of the Portland Collection. I like using it to lead a set of consisting of this tune, Tam Lin and Paddy Fahey’s (Reel #1? ). I have no clue as to what the title is derived from but one possibility would be to check Wikipedia for “The Confederation of Warsaw of 28th of January 1573”. If there’s another reason for the title, I would surely like to know.

Re: The 28th Of January

Shouldn’t it be some other key than Em? You chords are mostly Am, so possibly K:Am? Some of the versions I listened to briefly even sounded like they had a C# and F# (unless the fiddler played out of tune?).

Re: The 28th Of January

More like K: Ador, as written.

Re: The 28th Of January

We used to play this for contra dances in the Los Angeles area circa 1981. It is an Appalachian old time American tune. I still have the vinyl LP from the Fuzzy Mountain Stringband. My memory of the liner notes is that it was a confusion of the 8th of January with the date of another American battle. I will fetch the LP and update these notes. It is definitely in Ador mode. Fuzzy Mountain gives the banjo tuning, which is Am sawmill. Oldtime banjo players rarely, if ever, play out of Em.

Re: The 28th Of January

Thanks for the key correction. It’s now corrected. Wish I knew more theory - but I don’t. It sounded okay in Em playing back the midi from EasyABC but just because it sounds right, doesn’t mean it’s correct! ;^)

Re: The 28th Of January

As it happens, Em and Ador has the same notes, and therefore it should sound right whichever you choose. But the label “Em” doesn’t make a lot of sense to begin with, and may also confuse fellow musicians.

Re: The 28th Of January

I had more than a little trouble finding what “Am sawmill” tuning is. I’m not quite clear as to whether that means the banjo is tuned “GDGCD” per the Deering website or “AEADE” to make it a modal A key. I’m not changing from the standard GDAE on anything I have so it doesn’t really matter but if someone can clarify that, I’d be grateful. To be very honest, I’ve been completely unaware that some common instruments get tuned differently on a regular basis, even during performances. You know, you just putter along for five decades or so and find out only at the end that other musicians are far, far more capable than you are and use different tunings as a matter of course. It just sort of gobsmacks you right along the side of the head. I suppose I would have picked up on that a lot earlier had I been playing with other people in a different genre than standard rock and roll. My loss. Can’t turn back the clock though.

Re: The 28th Of January

It probably means gDGCD with a capo on the second fret and the fifth string to the second spike - aEADE. I’m not sure my banjo could handle being retuned to aEADE without some of the strings snapping, hence the capo+spike.

Re: The 28th Of January

What I know about 5-string banjos can be written on the head of that spike. Whatever a spike is. Thanks Jeff!

Re: The 28th Of January

I have been playing 28th of January for decades. My friend [Mark Nelson] has a history of the tune on his blog:
— quoted here —
February 22, 2016

“The 22nd of February”

Last year I posted a tune called “The 28th of January,” which has a somewhat usual history. Nothing of importance happened on that date, the title was the result of a mixing up the “8th of January” — the Battle of New Orleans — and the date for Washington’s birthday.

I’ve long known that there was a fiddle tune in honor of George, but it has eluded me for decades. A couple of days ago, I found this reference on The Fiddler’s Companion:

TWENTY SECOND OF FEBRUARY. AKA and see “Miller’s Reel,” “Twenty-Eighth of January.” American, Reel. The melody, whose title commemorates George Washington’s birthday, appears under this title in George P. Knauff’s publication Virginia Reels, volume II (Baltimore, 1839)
— Above is consistent with the liner notes of the Fuzzy Mountain String Band —