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Bonaparte’s March

One of the things I love about Old Time music is that songs are passed along and revitalized over time. In the pop music “business” on the other hand, every lick has to be considered “original”. How many performers have sued one another over the years for steal each other’s tunes? It seems hard to believe when you consider that most pop tunes only have three or four chords to them. With traditional or folk music, the emphasis is on the performance instead, and if one song morphs into another, that’s fine. It’s fine because in folk music we own the songs together, something I really appreciate.

The Indian Creek Delta Boys (featuring the late Garry Harrison) were a band who explored the traditional music of Southern Illinois – a place known as Little Egypt. They went looking for their tradition, looking for old fiddlers and they learned tunes and ways of playing those tunes from primary sources and did a great job of collecting those tunes and sharing them with the rest of us.

Bonaparte’s March is a tune the Indian Creek Delta Boys learned from a fiddler named Harvey “Pappy” Taylor. I like this tune a lot. I learned to play it on clawhammer banjo from Cathy Barton and Dave Para at the Midwest Banjo Camp. Here are the Indian Creek Delta Boys.

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