Famous Fiddle Tunes

Here are MP3 collections of some of my favorite fiddle tunes:

Sally Goodin  •  Sally Ann  •  Sail Away Ladies  • 
Leather Britches  •  Blackberry Blossom  •  Cattle in the Cane • More tunes soon...

Every fiddler has a unique way of playing a fiddle tune. I've created several MP3 collections on this web page that help illustrate this point. Each collection contains several versions of the same tune, so you can hear it as played by various artists.

Each MP3 collection is titled by tune name. For instance, on this page you'll find an MP3collection for: Sally Goodin, Leather Britches, Blackberry Blossom ...

Each collection looks like an album, because it initially displays the cover of the album to which the the first track belongs, but each collection contains music from several albums. As you switch tracks, or as the player switches tracks automatically, the album cover updates accordingly.

Every collection has its own audio playback controls, which allows you to easily preview all tracks, or skip from track to track. If you want to hear more tracks from a particular album or artist, click on the album title or artist name, located just above the playback controls.

HELP:  Here are instructions on using the audio player.

Sally Goodin


Here are over 20 versions of Sally Goodin, from old-time, to bluegrass and Texas-style. You're sure to find one you like. It's easy with the controls provided. Just press play, then sit back and listen to ten minutes of preview clips ... or you can quickly skip through and review tunes by pressing the forward and back buttons near the bottom of the display.

The first track is Ricky Scaggs fiddling with J.D. Crowe and the New South. One of my favorite versions of Sally Goodin, because it's so clean and it has many of the classic parts, plus Skaggs own tinkering

Sally Goodin is surely one of the all-time, top-ten American Fiddle tunes. It's an incredibly simple tune at its core: just two parts, four bars each, and a 'one chord' accompaniment. Nevertheless, in the hands of a capable fiddler, Sally Goodin is a regular firecracker. Its simplicity leaves it wide open for variations, and many fiddlers have made their mark. Eck Robertson's variations have become nearly immortalized because they've been so widely copied, incorporated, and varied further.

If you have trouble, click here for instructions on using the MP3 player.

Sally Ann

Sail Away Ladies

Spend some time around fiddle tunes you quickly see that there are lots and lots of Sally tunes and Jenny tunes ...

Sally Ann is one of the quintessential Sally tunes, and perhaps the one with the most variation and derivatives. There are many spin off tunes that have one or more core elements of Sally Ann, like Great Big Taters in the Sandy Land.

Many versions of Sail Away Ladies are quite similar to Sally Ann, others less so. You'll sort it out eventually.

Rest assured, everyone who delves into fiddle tunes encounters the name game:

  • different tunes with identical names: Ducks on the Millpond (there are at least four versions), Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine (there at least four, plus a few tunes titled Bonaparte's Retreat)

  • the same tune with different names (I think Stoney Point wins the contest: Stoney point, Wild Horse, Wild Horse at Stoney Point, Fiddle and Banjo, Pigtown Fling.)

Leather Britches/Lord McDonald


Leather Britches is truly great tune. It's zigzag melody resembles the rhythmic sound of one of them newfangled sewing contraptions.

Fiddler often play three parts. The A part is fairly standard, with variations at the ends of the lines; the B part has a consistent opening phrase that usually repeats in measure 3 and 5, but the rest is open for interpretation; the C part is a rendition of part A, but an octave higher.

You'll hear Leather Britches themes pop up in related tunes, like Methodist Preacher.

Blackberry Blossom


Yup, another all-time favorite. Sometimes these great old tunes get over exposed or over performed. In reaction players view them as hackneyed or second rate, and begin to shun them. But there's only one reason that a tune like Blackberry Blossom got played so much. It's a great tune, easy to appreciate, and perhaps easy to vary or improvise on. Add some originality and spark and people will enjoy hearing it again.

Guitar players really love this tune so I included a few guitar recordings ... including Bill Frisell's impressionist version!

Toward the end of the list you hear a couple of entirely different tunes that share the same name, starting with Ruthie Dornfeld's rendition of Tommy Jarrell's version (Actually this clip only plays Sally Ann, the first tune in the medley, and never gets to Blackberry Blossom, so I've taken the liberty to include a clip of Blackberry Blossom that starts at Joel Bernstein's banjo intro plays into Ruthie's first go 'round with her lovely rendition. I hope this encourages you to buy it!)

For the last tune I also included 'Old-time Blackberry Blossom,' which is yet another tune. And there's more ... a popular Irish tune that also goes by the name Blackberry Blossom, and there's Garfield's Blackberry Blossom.

When you go to a bluegrass jam you can expect to hear the first version, which came from Henry Reed. In an old-time jam, when someone says, "Let's play Blackberry Blossom," you should ask, "Which version?"

On his Texas Jam album Mark O'Connor played the most brilliant Texas-style rendition of Blackberry Blossom I've ever heard. Unfortunately the album is out of print.




Cattle in the Cane


Cattle in the Cane, often known as Cattle in the Corn, is a favorite in bluegrass, Texas-style fiddling, and old-time. Lots of guitarists really like to whoop it up on this one ... I guess Norman Blake sorta kicked that off.

Have a listen and see what the commotion is all about!

One of my favorite recordings is by Joe Greene. But though his album was recently re-release on County Records, I haven't seen it on Amazon.

Foggy Mountain Breakdown

Foggy Mountain Breakdown — Craig Duncan's version

Foggy Mountain Breakdown — Various versions (130+)



Bibb County Hoedown

This is an incredibly good rendition of Bibb County in A calico tuning: AEAC# (it's usually played in C or D)

If you like this, be sure to get In the Middle of the Night (When the Catfish bite) album by Barry Schulz.


You may be interested in my favorite fiddle albums page too.

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The following individual MP3 tracks are available directly from Amazon.com
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Tunes on the page:

Sally Goodin

Blackberry Blossom

Leather Britches

Foggy Mountain Breakdown

Sally Ann

Sail Away Ladies

Cattle in the Cane

Bibb County