Old Sefus Brown (Whoa Mule)

As played by Y. Z. Hamilton from the Alabama region

Song in G

From the Deep South Collection

3 files for this tune:

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


78rpm record (MP3 at archive.org)


I originally learned this song under the name Whoa Mule. Alabama fiddler Y. Z. Hamilton recorded it under the name Old Sefus Brown. I believe that Sefus is the name of the mule in the lyrics, as they contain a line stating that “they drove [the mule] on the railroad track and laid old Sefus out.”

The fiddle part consists of an introduction, two breaks, and an outro. The introduction expresses two distinct parts, and could thus be played as a breakdown. The subsequent breaks and outro mix and match the two parts. There were actually two fiddles in the recording, so this transcription represents how I heard the lead as it could be played on a single fiddle. (I have to follow this approach in my Skillet Lickers transcriptions.)


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