I like to think it's curiosity rather than ego that makes me keep tabs on what happens to my musical children as they
wander about the country. Since the tunes have a specific point of origin, I've always thought it might be fun to write an
article (for the Journal of American Folklore or some such) about their evolution. That's assuming I could trace the exact
links: In the beginning A begat B, or maybe the San Diego version connected to the Phoenix version, the Phoenix connected
to the Denver, the Denver connected to the neck bone...
Some time ago on the Banjo Hangout I gave some historical background on the origins of Nixon's Farewell. Right after the resignation
in 1974 I figured something that monumental ought to be recognized in music. My initial reaction was the situation resembled
the old "Somebody on the Gallows" or "What's-his-name's Farewell," and I played around with various Lonesome and Lone melodies
without success. Then I imagined a song with the refrain, "And you won't have Old Dick Nixon to kick around anymore." [Those
too young to get the reference will have to ask their elders.] It was played so much in the late 1970s some tired of it and
I was afraid it might better be called Nixon's Revenge, but it's still popular with contra-dancers.
There are a number of people who have managed to track me down over the years (each one a story in itself) and send me
a copy of their CD demonstrating their versions of my tunes. For all of them I am grateful. There are others I have only heard
about, mostly through Googling, which has supplanted much of the oral tradition in our times. (Or was that gargling?...) Here
is a tentative list of performers who play my tunes publicly. Those who have sent CDs are preceded by (*).
The American Cafe Orchestra. "The Early Years." Highlander's Farewell/Waiting for Nancy/Kalotaszegi Legenyes.
Eric Anderson, Seattle. Medleys of Old Joe Clark/Waiting for Nancy and Sal, Won't You Marry Me/Waiting for Nancy, described
as "...happy Midwestern tunes, square-dance-like, always a cheer on this switch."
Fay Baird. "I Believe I'll Go Back Home." Nixon's Farewell.
Cathy Barton & Dave Para, Booneville, MO. Played Waiting for Nancy on "Old Time Country Music" on Iowa Public TV.
Black-Eyed Susies, St Louis. Waiting for Nancy.
(*)"Early Bird Special." Nixon's Farewell & Sadie at the Backdoor/Waiting for Nancy.
"Eat at Joe's." Nixon's Farewell, with double fiddles!
Boneyard Creek Boys. Waiting for Nancy.
Hilarie Burhans. "Put On the Skillet." Waiting for Nancy.
Bob Carlin. "Where Did You Get That Hat?" Waiting for Nancy.
"Mr Spaceman." Waiting for Nancy.
Clyde Curley & the Oxymorons. "Old Time Mandolin Music." Run Rabbit Run/Nixon's Farewell/Feed Her Candy, Tell Her
Sara Grey & Ellie Ellis. "Making the Air Resound." Little Birdie/Washington's March/Waiting for Nancy.
Greystone Ramblers, Philadelphia, Waiting for Nancy.
(*) Grumbling Rustics. (Eponymous
CD). Nixon's Farewell/Jeff Davis. (Failed presidents medley.)
Barb Hansen, fiddle. Waiting for Nancy.
The Harmony Sisters (Irene Herrmann, Alice Gerrard,
Jeannie McLerie). Little Black Dog/Waiting for Nancy. Practice tape, Galax, 1982.
Hartford CT Community Dance contra session tune list. Waiting for Nancy.
Heartland Contra Dance jam tune list. Waiting for Nancy (206 times!).
Hog Holler Stringband. "The Great Compromise." Waiting for Nancy.
Jake Leg Wobblers, Western North Carolina. Waiting for Nancy. [Jake leg was one of my mother's strongest epithets.]
Todd Jammers [unknown CD] Waiting for Nancy.
Kilbride, on the "Bristol Fiddles" CD. The Barlow Knife/Waiting for Nancy/Pigtown.
Lalla Rookh. "Do You Want Kilts with That?" Cuckoo's Nest/Maid Behind the Bar/Nixon's Farewell.
(*)Late Bloomers. "Sneakin' in the Back Door." Waiting for Nancy.
Leaping Lulu, Logan UT. Nixon's Farewell.
Dan Levenson & Rick Thum. "A Reason to Dance." Waiting for Nancy.
Bertram Levy. "That Old Gut Feeling." Washington March/Waiting for Nancy.
(*)Bob Mills. "Whatever Happened." The Farmer's Wife/Nixon's Farewell.
Moldy Jam, Madison, WI. Waiting for Nancy.(Sound clip on their home page.)
Nashville Old Time SBA. Waiting for Nancy.
Roger Netherton, fiddle (aged 14). Waiting for
The Nettles. Nixon's Farewell/Dinky's
Reel. Eugene Contra Dance Official Bootleg.
(*)Buddy O'Reilly Band. "Under the Table." Waiting for Nancy.
Original Dulcimer Players' Club, Funfest: Evart MI, (07.19.03) Realplayer clip of mass hammered dulcimers, in an interesting,
cheery, inverted version of Nixon's Farewell.
Peach Bottom String Band. Waiting for Nancy.
Ken Perlman. "Clawhammer Style Banjo." (Bk. & Video) Waiting for Nancy.
Pig's Eye Landing. "Wild Hog." Oakwoods Song/Waiting for Nancy.
Piney Creek Weasels. "Off To California." Spotted Pony/Waiting for Nancy/Quince Dillon's High D.
The Poodles. "Unleashed." Waiting for Nancy/Highlander's Farewell.
Princeton Country Dance tune list. Waiting for Nancy.
Reed Island Rounders. "Wolves in the Woods." Waiting for Nancy.
Rehobeth Jam Session tune list. Waiting for Nancy.
(*)Lucille Reilly & Jill Smith.
"Contra-Intuitive." Waiting for Nancy.
Rick Ruskin & Karen Leigh Williams. "Against Tradition."
Waiting for Nancy/Riding on a Load of Hay/Old John.
Scrüj MacDuhk. "Live at the West End Cultural Centre." Waiting for Nancy/Aqua Marine One Step/Paddy's Jig.
Rick Sims. "Simple Melodies." Waiting for Nancy.
SkyeLark. "Dancing Down the Moon." Nixon's Farewell.
(*)Stringbeings. "Being Reel." Road to Boston/Waiting for Nancy/Crook Brothers/Crow Creek.
Stringdancer, St Louis, MO. Staten Island/Ragtime Annie/Waiting for Nancy.
(*)Alec Stone Sweet. "Tumblin' Gap: Clawhammer guitar solos." Waiting for Nancy.
"By the Sea." Salt River/Waiting for Nancy/Dusty Miller.
Talisman (Vancouver, WA). North Carolina Breakdown/Nixon's Farewell/Nail That Catfish to the Tree.
(*)Rick Thum & Friends. "A Reason to Dance." Rock the Cradle Joe/Waiting for Nancy.
(*)Susan Trump. "Live at Caffe Lena." Rocky Mountain Goat/Nixon's Farewell/Old Molly Har.
Ken Waldman. "A Week in Eek." Sadie at the Backdoor/Waiting for Nancy.
Western Carolina Jam Tune List. Waiting for Nancy.
Wild Rose String Band, w/ Laurie Andres. "Wild Rose." Black-eyed Susie/Waiting for Nancy.
Bill & Fritzi Wisdom jam list, Philadelphia. Waiting for Nancy.
Donald B Zepp, MP3 @ Zepp Country Music. Waiting for Nancy.
I found a site which offers, as a Ringtone!: "Run Nygaard [sic, sick] Run/Nixon's Farewell/Feed Her Candy, Tell Her Lies."
(Perhaps from Clyde Curley & the Oxymorons.) I'm not sure if the whole thing would play, but those rings certainly are
nauseating. Maybe I could nip this in the bud by withholding my permission. Or maybe someone named Nygaard could.
Write me with any updates or emendations.
(Does anyone else remember one of my favorite lines from old-time radio: "We reserve the right to make additions
or deletions at our discretion.")