When the Monkey Wrapped His Tail Around the Flagpole

As played by Melvin Wine from the West Virginia region

March in G

From the Melvin Wine Collection

3 files for this tune:

Melody-Only Transcription (PDF)
Full Transcription (PDF)

Field recording available on the CD/DVD set "One More Time": The Life and Music of Melvin Wine from the Augusta Heritage Center

This tune is loosely based on the main theme to National Emblem March, commonly played by military bands (see the YouTube video below, the theme starts at 0:44). The servicemen would sing doggerel lyrics to that theme, starting with "When the monkey wrapped his tail around the flagpole" and with who-knows-what obscenities thereafter. Given its dubious origins, I'm surprised that Melvin Wine (who was, by all accounts, a devout and pious Christian) played this tune. I have to wonder where he got it. It was difficult to transcribe because his rhythm was so ragged in the recording. That is probably due to two conditions: his advanced age when the recording was made, and this being one of the many tunes in his enormous repertoire that he just didn't play too often. I am calling this a march because of the original source, but really, your guess is as good as mine as to the tune type.

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