T: Hobbart's Transformation
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Also known as Hobart’s Transformation.
There is 1 recording of this tune.
Hobbart's Transformation has been added to 32 tunebooks.
This tune is traditional according to Qristina Bachand, but I don’t know anything about it. She and her brother Quinn recorded it on their great album Relative Minors, with Eric Reiswig on the uilleann pipes and Russ Godfrey on the bodhrán, following three jigs. Probably not an Irish reel but fun to play, specially while jamming with them!
Is not traditional, at least by my standards. It is a "revivalist" tune from the USA. 2 sources: Hobart Smith and Henry Reed. The first part was taken from
Hobart SMith’s Pateroller tune which is basically a version of Paddy on the Turnpike and the second part was taken from Henry’ Reeds Kitchen girl. Both Reed and Smith were traditional Virginia musicans.
"HOBART’S TRANSFORMATION. AKA - "Feldman’s Haircut"?? Old-Time, Breakdown. USA. A Mixolydian. Standard. AABB. A hybrid tune, the first part of which is melodic material from the tune usually known as "Salt River" (recorded by Hobart Smith as part of the "Pateroller Song") while the second part is the coarse part of Henry Reed’s "Kitchen Girl." Source for notated version: "Dennis Tang, who assembled it" [Spandaro]. Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; pg. 136. Spandaro (10 Cents a Dance), 1980; pg. 49. Front Hall 010, Fennigs All Stars- "The Hammered Dulcimer Strikes Again."
Since I know both the tunes this was pulled from, it doesn’t do much for me, but again it’s one of those quirky, culty "revivalist" tunes that came about from the "folk scare" in the USA.
This tune may actually be a native Tasmanian tune (with Hobart being the capital city of the island state, and the second oldest city in Australia).
When I lived in Tasmania, I learned this tune as a "traditional Tasmanian" tune, which had become part of the local Tasmanian fiddle / folk music known as the Appleshed Tunes… I used to play occasionally with a local group called the Hobart Old Time String band, and was told that this tune is indeed a hybrid — with the "A" part tracing back to a British import tune, and the "B" part localized by Tasmanian players, thus giving it a local flavor, but also conjuring audible memories of similar-sounding tunes…. I believe there is a website where you can look up Tasmanian Appleshed tunes (called such because one of Tasmania’s nicknames is the "Apple Isle," due to its center in Australia as an ideal place for apple growing)….. I can’t recall at the moment, but will see if I can find it.
Here’s the youtube, it has a different story background posted:
This is Alan Kaufman’s latest explanation (8-23-2021) of this tune’s origin. My husband and I both knew and loved Bill Spence (he was my husband’s dulcimer teacher), so I can believe it:
"There has been a lot of talk circulating around this tune and I may have some useful information which might demystify it for some.
The first instance of the existence of this tune on any recorded medium ‘as Hobart’s Transformation’ is the last track of the LP record The Hammered Dulcimer Strikes Again from Bill Spence and the Fennig’s All Star String Band Front Hall records 010 (1977)
It is the last track of an album filled with traditional tunes . Many of them strung together in catchy medleys that Bill was known for.
The tune consists of a fusion of two tunes that were known to Bill Spence : Hobart Smith’s banjo rendition of the Pateroller Song and Alan Jabbours rendition of a Henry Reed Classic fiddle tune : Kitchen Girl
Bill, who was a brilliant instrumentalist had a keen sense of humor and was extremely witty . I am assuming that he took parts of these two tunes and fused them together to form a tune of his own creation and called it , humorously , Hobart’s Transformation
Part of Hobart’s Transformation can be found on an LP
instrumental Music of the Southern Appalachians (Tradition Records) . This album , reeased sometime in the 60’s consisted of field recordings ethnomusicologist Diane Hamilton ( Tradition records founder) made on a recording trip to Virginia and North Carolina in 1958. Among those she recorded was Hobart Smith of Saltville Virginia who played the pateroller song on his banjo .
The other part of Hobart’s Transformation is the tune kitchen Girl collected from Henry Reed of Virginia by Alan Jabbour
Jabbour included this tune (track 1 ) on an Album " The Hollow Rock String Band / Dance Tunes released in 1968
Bill Spence was no doubt familiar with these recordings and with Hobart Smith, and with Jabbour’s playing of Kitchen Girl and hence created this amalgam of both under the title Hobart’s Transformation"