Barlow Knife reel

Also known as Barlow’s Knife, Barlows Knife, Cabin Creek.

There are 5 recordings of this tune.

Barlow Knife has been added to 46 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: Barlow Knife
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
(3ABc| ~d2d2 cdec | d2d2 A2fe | ~d2de dcBA | B2A2 ~A2Bc |
~d2d2 cdec | d2d2 A2fe | d2de dcBA | ~B2A2 ~A2FG |
|: B2A2 FEDE | B2A2 F2FG | B2A2 FEDD | ED3 ~D4 :|
|: E2EE F2D2 | EDEG FEDF | E2EE F2D2 | ABAG FED2 :|
X: 2
T: Barlow Knife
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: "G" g2 g2 "D" fgaf | "G" g2 g2 d4 | "G" g2 g2 "D" fefd | "C" e2 d2 "G" d4 :|
|: "C" e2 d2 "G" BA G2 | "C" e2 d2 "G" B4 | "C" e2 d2 "G" BA G2 | "D" A2 A2 "G" G4 :|
|: "D" A2 d2 "G" BA B2 | "D" A2 d2 "G" B4 | "D" A2 d2 "G" BA G2 | "D" A2 A2 "G" G4 :|

Eight comments

Ye Old Barlow Knife

I knew this one with out a name until I got around those who know its name. One of those tunes I didnt have to work at, somewhere along the line I just knew it.

Another common key for this G and once the tune is in your head it can be put in many keys easily. Not a complex tune, yet clever. Many versions of this exist in the USA oldtuime tradition, dont let anyone tell you that there is a "right" way for this.

I play it on the fiddle in D sort of as notated here but not really. The open phrase, I play in one bow stroke so the d2 is really ABcd 4 notes where the d2 is notated… but sometimes I do play the triplet into the d2… Dont let anyone tell you that there is no ornamentation in early American fiddling!

I posted this because I noticed three men and a Dog Recorded it.

High to low

Starts high and moves low… I wouldnt be surprised if there is a Shetland or Scottish tune out there that resembles this…

Shouldve been

FOUR Men and a Dog I just listened to theirs and it sounds like its in G.

Also appears in Na Dorsa’s album "The wild music of the Gaels".
In the Bull at the wagon’s set, with The West Fork Gal’s tune.


As played at the monthly old-timey pub session in the Hillgrove Porter Stores (Bristol, UK).

Barlow Knife - Lyrics

I’ve been a poor boy all my life,
An’ all I got was a Barlow knife.

Barlow handle and a Barlow blade,
Best dang knife that ever was made.

Take my money, take my wife,
Just don’t take my Barlow knife.