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Sorting out Napoleon

Earlier I posted a version of the Old Time tune, Bonaparte’s March, but just before that I had been having a little facebook message exchange with a guitar-picker friend of mine and he mentioned Bonaparte’s Retreat but he was really thinking of Bonaparte’s March, which is a tune he and I have played together. I realized that Bonaparte references in old time tunes can get confusing because there is a third one as well, Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine.

Here’s Bonaparte’s Retreat. I believe this is a Kentucky tune, but it was appropriated by Aaron Copeland in his Hoedown from Rodeo. Here’s a lovely version of the tune performed by the Scottish fiddler, Aly Bain, with Jerry Douglas on dobro and Danny Thompson on bass.

Just to confuse things further, Bonaparte’s Retreat is also the name of a minor hit tune by Glen Campbell. I’m going to spare you that, but it’s on the YouTube if you’re feeling like a little Glen Campbell. I will tell you this – it has bagpipe.

Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine is also an excellent Old Time tune. I’ve been messing with that one on clawhammer banjo and one of these days I’ll actually manage to learn it. Here are Jonathan Cooper, Brittany Haas, Jesse Brock, Lincoln Meyers, Ron and Wendy Cody doing very sweet work on this one indeed.

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