Wednesday Tune Fix – Washington County

Remember that great old fight song based on Washington and Lee Swing? I can still hear it ringing in my ears from high school back in Missouri, “Oh When the Hallsville Indians Come Along, You’re gonna hear us sing our victory song…”

It happens the great Bluegrass fiddler and innovator Kenny Baker took this melody and made one fine Bluegrass fiddle tune out of it called Washington County. While not a dead copy of the original the melody is certainly a tip of the hat the to the original which dates to 1910. Incidentally, before Baker’s great rendition, the Washington & Lee Swing was widely recorded by jazz combos and big bands from the 1930s to 50s. In addition, all this according to the great oracle Wikipedia, the tune is the single most used melody for school fight songs ever.

The tune first appeared on County LP 719 “Portrait of a Bluegrass Fiddler” in 1969. It was reissued on the compilation CD issue by County called “Kenny Baker – Master Fiddler” and is still in print available from www.countysales.com.


Well, here ya go. This playlist will show you how to get over on this great tune. It’s a little challenging for beginners with all the chords so just try playing the single note melody at first.



Here’s old-time fiddler Vesta Johnson laying out her version – old-timey style accompanied by stalwart Missouri guitar picker Kenny Applebee.