Posts Tagged “uncle joe”

“Uncle Joe” is a song that Concert Chorus is singing.  It’s a folk song with some unusual lyrics and kind of murky background.  This is what I’ve been able to find out:

The melody was originally a Scottish/Irish fiddle tuen called “Miss McLeod’s Reel.”  There are some variations on the lyrics, and there’s no definitive history of the text.  Some people believe that the “meeting” referred to in the first verse is a Shaker meeting.  Shakers were a religious sect that would “shake” or dance as part of their worship.  They might whirl or jump if filled with divine inspiration, so that may be the source of the words, “hop up, my ladies.”  Sometimes non-Shakers would attend the meetings as entertainment.

The single-footer is actually a single-footing horse.  It is a specific horse breed used for work or trail riding, with a fast, smooth gait.  I like this picture of a single-footing horse. 

The “pacer” is another breed of horse, also known as a standardbred.  It is best known for its ability to race in harness at a trot or pace instead of under saddle at a gallop.  However, they can also be saddled and ridden.  They are called standardbreds because, when the name was first officially used in 1879, the horse had to be able to trot a mile within the “standard” of 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

I bet you didn’t think you could learn so much from one song!

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