Old Dan Tucker is a minstrel tune from the United States before the Civil War. It was passed down through the oral tradition and the composer isn’t known. The song was featured in Little House on the Prairie television show in the 1970s and 80s. The rough and uncouth, yet lovable character, Mr. Edwards frequently sang the song and so it became known to many viewers through his poor singing.
The song is included in the Pa’s Fiddle Project, a group of musicians and fans of the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” books about life on the prairie which is lead by Vanderbilt University musicologist Dale Cockrell. The goal of the project is to record all the songs that are mentioned in Ingalls Wilder’s books to bring a clearer picture of life on the frontier to admirers of the books through the music they played and sang. Viewers of the “Little House” t.v. series will remember that Pa, Charles Ingalls, was an accomplished fiddle player and music was an important part of life for the Ingalls family.
This arrangement for viola, strings and bass features the Old Dan Tucker melody three times with short interludes between each.