Pretty Little Widder (Widow), Old Joe Clark Medley Part Two

As played by Clayton McMichen from the Georgia region

Reel or Breakdown in A mixolydian

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.

The great Georgia fiddler Clayton McMichen recorded a medley of Old Joe Clark, Pretty Little Widder, and Shortenin’ Bread in 1939. His rendering of each one of these tunes is magnificent, especially Shortenin’ Bread, which clearly demonstrates his jazz influence and quite honestly sounds like something a modern Texas contest-style fiddler would play, complete with a passage of hokum bowing! Old Joe Clark and Pretty Little Widder, the first two tunes of the medley, are in A mixolydian (G#s as accidentals only) while Shortenin’ Bread, the third tune, is in A major (all Gs sharp unless otherwise marked). I strongly suspect that McMichen played the medley cross-tuned to AEAE, which would certainly simplify the fingering in several places.

I really like Pretty Little Widder. It puts me in mind of Salt Creek. Look out for grace notes, sixteenth notes, and unisons (which are easier in the cross-tuning). At one point in the recording, the fiddle backs off and someone says, “Hey, Slim, will you hold my tray there while I dance with this gal what’s got on store-bought clothes?” I wonder how well McMichen appreciated that, as he tried to shed the hillbilly image.

Cross-tune to AEAE.


This tune is a member of the following groups:


Dr. Fiddle's Favorite Breakdowns and Reels

This tune has no comments.