Variants on the Lee Highway
As many of the riders on the Bus know, one of my all time favorite fiddle tunes is the classic ”Going Down the Lee Highway” (aka “Lee Highway Blues”) by Henry Whitter and G.B Grayson. I have posted the original (probably more than once) and many covers over the past few years.
”Going Down the Lee Highway” was one of G.B. Grayson’s signature tunes. He used it to secure himself a place on the winners stand at many a fiddler’s convention. It’s a fairly simple little tune really, but sometimes the simple things are the best.
Fidders, especially around Virginia, have been playing the ”Lee Highway Blues” (as the tune is more commonly called) as a showcase piece for the past eighty years. The song has been recorded by the likes of Scotty Stoneman, the Highwoods String Band (with dual fiddlers), and the great David Bromberg. Judging by the number of fiddler’s that have “borrowed” the tune for use in other songs, I’d say ol’ G.B. had a bit of influence on a bunch of hoss hair pullers.
I’ve kept a list in my head over the years of all the tunes I have heard that include the unique fiddle part that makes ”Going Down the Lee Highway” so enthralling. Here’s a small sample of the songs that, to my ears, have borrowed G.B. Grayson’s fiddle line. Give a listen to the original that has so enchanted your humble driver for so many years. Then give a listen to these other fiddlers as they pay the highest honor to G.B. Grayson’s catchy little contest winner.