Redwing | Bowing Down Home

About this tune

Red Wing (first published in 1907) is one of several late 19th and early 20th Century US popular song melodies that are employed extensively among Island fiddlers as square dance tunes. Some others include Darlin’ Nelly Grey, Golden Slippers, When You and I Were Young Maggie, and Wreck of the Old Number 9.

Composer Mills trained as a violinist and for a while was head of the violin department at the University of Michigan School of Music. He later founded a music publishing company in New York. Some of his other compositions that have entered the North American fiddlign repertoire are Georgia Camp Meeting and Whistling Rufus.

The title refers to an Indian princess, to wit:

First Verse:

There once was an Indian maid,
A shy little prairie maid,
Who sang a lay, a love song gay,
As on the plain she'd while away the day;

She loved a warrior bold,
This shy little maid of old,
But brave and gay, he rode one day
To battle far away.

Chorus:

Now, the moon shines tonight on pretty Red Wing
The breeze is sighing, the night bird's crying,
For afar 'neath his star her brave is sleeping,
While Red Wing's weeping her heart away.

Notation for this tune as played by Johnny Morrissey is in Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island.

Tune Selections

Baglole, Sidney - Redwing Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
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Bernard, Wilfred - Redwing Accompanied by: Jackie Bernard, gtr
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MacCormack, Francis - Redwing Accompanied by: George MacDonald, pno
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Smith, Reuben - Crooked Stovepipe / Down Yonder / Island by the Sea / Redwing Accompanied by: Kaye MacEachern, pno; Ron Myers, gtr; Theresa Smith, gtr
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