Tennessee Wagoner reel

Also known as Johnny Wagoner, Johnny Walker, Reel Marie, Texas Wagoner.

There is 1 recording of this tune.

Tennessee Wagoner has been added to 1 tune set.

Tennessee Wagoner has been added to 13 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Two settings

X: 1
T: Tennessee Wagoner
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Cmaj
|:ag|ec2c c2 c2|cdef g2 gg|edBA G3A|GABc daga|
ec2c c2 c2|cdef g2 ga|agag egag|ec2c c2:|
|:G,2|C2 CCB,C D2|EG AB cB A2|B,B,B,B, A,B,3|G,2 C2 CC G,2|
C2 CCB,C D2|EGAB cB A2|B,B,B,B, A,B,3|G,C2C C2:|
X: 2
T: Tennessee Wagoner
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
gf|:ec2B c2cB|cdef g2BA|G2GA BAGF|GABc d2gf|
ec2B c2cB|cdef g2ef|gfga gfed|1 ec2B c2gf:|2 ec2B c4||
|:C3,D E2G2|cBcd cAGE|[G4,D] [G,4D]|DEGA BAGE|
C3,D E2G2|cBcd edef|gfga gfed|ec2B c2c2:|

Thirteen comments

Tennessee Wagoner

An old-time American breakdown (reel) dating back to the 1920s or possibly earlier.

It’s not a tune that I play myself, and I’ve only posted it because it was requested by user jilldickson27.

I’m not 100% confident that the "B" part is correct, but if someone would like to shout, I would be happy to modify the abc.

I like the Barachois version. as Johnny Walker, of this the best

Johnny Wagoner (or sometimes known as Reel Marie up north in Canada). I used to accompany an Irish fiddler on this who called it the Texas Wagoner.

Much older than the 20’s

It was published as the The Hero" in George P. Knauff’s 1839 publication "Virginia Reels."

Heres my take: Notice the key is G because all the Fs are sharped. (More likely this way in early USA versions.) This played snappily.

T: Wagner
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Gmaj
gf |: ec2B c2cB | cdef g2BA | G2GA BAGF | GABc d2gf |
| ec2B c2cB | cdef g2ef | gfga gfed |1 ec2B c2gf :|2 ec2B c4|
|: C3,D E2G2 | cBcd cAGE | [G4,D] [G,4D] | DEGA BAGE |
| C3,D E2G2 | cBcd edef | gfga gfed | ec2B c2c2 :|

The fence in the background says it al better n words can say

Wa’ll, hoosh maa mow-th! A-watchin’ an a-listnin to the ME4 boys n gals a’playin it so durn good took me back to the days when I was a’riding up on the chuck wagon on the ol’ Chisholm Trail, wa-ay back in 1840. Back the-en, we didn’t have no noo-fangled video. Nope, we jus had to git a shovel an’ dig a hole fur our daily motions!

As sure as he-ell I’am a a jus goin’ to have to a-lurn the toon now! If I start a-playin’ it in one of them Limey saloon bar sessions wur Limey fiddlers only play them Irishy reels, it sure will git thur dander up! 🙂

Much older than the 20’s

Hi Merry Highlander,

Many thanks for the historical update. I’m always very keen to hear about original versions of tunes, old tune collections etc.

I must take issue with you though regarding the abc that you have posted. You say that all the Fs are sharp, but you’ve encoded it in the key of C (the note on which the tune resolves – the last note, in this case). A scale of C-C with sharpened Fs would but the tune into the Lydian mode – not G major, as you say. As far as I know, this scale only occurs in some Greek traditional tunes, and is not found elsewhere.

Perhaps you might care to review your abc version, and re-post? It would be really good to have an authentic version of the tune!

I like the Barachois version. as Johnny Walker, of this the best

Hi vonnieestes

Thanks for posting the Alt names. I’ll now do some more research on this tune, based on the info that you kindly supplied!

I dont know…

much about modes, but if I put G, then I put it into the tune o tron, it comes out in 1 sharp which says all the f’s are sharpened. Thats easier than using the ^ symbol on all the f’s and putting it in C.

I don’t use sheet music for playing, just researching, although I know some music theory, its not important to me. If you say its lydian, then lydian it is.

I played it on the fiddle and found that I use some c"s in there instead of the c naturals sometimes.


I played it on the fiddle and found that I use some c sharps in there instead of the c naturals sometimes.

I dont know

No, I’m NOT saying that this tune is or should be in the Lydian mode! It is only your incorrect abc encoding that has put the tune into this mode. Certainly, if you change an abc header file from K Cmaj to K:Gmaj you will sharpen all the Fs throughout the tune. But that won’t in itself change the tune from C major into G major. If you want to do that, you would also have to change EVERY note in the tune as well. You didn’t do the latter – that is why your alternate posting of the tune doesn’t make any sense!


When I stick it in the tune o tron, it sounds right. If anyone listening wanted to back it, say on guitar, Id hope they’d use their ears and get the obvious C major chord. Lets just call it "one sharp."

Tennessee Wagoner - Your Alternate Post

Hi Merry Highlander! If you are using Tune-o-Tron, you will know you can also use it to display the music score on the screen. If you do this with the abc version that you posted , you might notice that the tune has four beats to the bar, but that bar three in your second part has only got one beat in it (i.e two quavers). So your version is wrong in this respect, apart from the other points that I’ve already mentioned.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m really keen try out your version, which may well be better or more authentic than the one that I posted. It’s just that I don’t believe that you have quite enough knowledge of music theory and/or abc notation to be able to do this accurately!

Enough beats

there’s enough beats in it… there are unison notes in that bar…