Sugar in the Gourd, Sourwood Medley Part Three

As played by Clayton McMichen from the Georgia region

Reel or Breakdown in A

From the Clayton McMichen Collection

5 files for this tune:

Melody-Only Transcription (PDF)
Full Transcription (PDF)
Melody-Only Transcription of Entire Medley (PDF)
Full Transcription of Entire Medley (PDF)


78rpm Record


This transcription is sponsored by Dr. Fiddle contributor Patrick Towell.

Clayton McMichen recorded a medley of the fiddle tunes Sourwood Mountain, Peter Went Fishing, and Sugar in the Gourd, in that order, in 1939. This transcription is of the third tune of the medley, Sugar in the Gourd. I am also including a transcription of the entire medley, so each part can be seen in context.

This tune is definitely related to Turkey in the Straw, and, according to the Fiddler’s Companion, the Sugar settings predate Turkey. The Fiddler’s Companion also relates two possible explanations for the title, the more likely of which is that it refers to insemination. The doggerel lyrics that someone, presumably McMichen, sang would seem to bear out that interpretation:

Met her in the road, chewin’ board
Put her on the fiddle, give ‘em Sugar in the Gourd
Sugar in the gourd, can’t get it out
The way to get the sugar out, roll the gourd about

Cross-tune to AEAE.

This tune is a member of the following groups:


Turkey in the Straw, Old Zip Coon, Natchez Under the Hill, Sugar in the Gourd

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