“A Trip on a Train”, written by Dr. Wallace DePue, Sr. Features a Traditional American Fiddle Contest Round
…but not without breaking the rules. The DePue fiddle round closes with the forbidden, “Orange Blossom Special”, a well-known no-no within the traditional fiddle contest format.
A Trip on a Train – (An American Fiddle Contest Round – arr. Wallace DePue, Sr.)
Breakdown – The Devil’s Dream (trad.)
Waltz – All The Good Times Are Past and Gone (trad.)
Tune of Choice – The Orange Blossom Special (Erwin T. Rouse)
“The Devil’s Dream makes for a great Breakdown even in today’s fiddle contest world. It was the first fiddle tune I ever learned.
All the Good Times Are Past and Gone is our Waltz for Dad’s new medley of fiddle tunes… and finally, for our Tune of Choice, we have the infamous, “Orange Blossom Special”. It was written by Ervin T. Rouse, and then popularized by many, MANY big names after that who all wanted credit for bringing the tune into public light.
Most notable of those to succeed with that mission, was Robert Russell (“Chubby” Wise), who performed it weekly on The Grand Ole Opry, all the while claiming he wrote it himself!
However, Erwin T. Rouse had copyrighted the song long before the actual Orange Blossom Special train ever came to Jacksonville, FL. Rouse, a mild mannered man who lived deep in the Everglades never contested the matter re: others claiming his work.
Another key to the song’s success was due to none other than “The Man in Black”, Johnny Cash, who would play the fiddle part on harmonica, and liked it so much that he named one of his albums after the song, “The Orange Blossom Special”.
In the fiddle contest world, what you have as our beloved medley (A Trip on a Train) would translate into a pretty solid contest round, however, most American fiddle contests don’t allow the Orange Blossom Special even as the “Tune of Choice” because it is too showy. Audiences might not understand that the “shuffle” fiddlers play for the part(s) in A Major are easy for fiddlers to execute, but judges do! Even so, and every now and then, some contests will allow competitors to play it. In fact, some contests even offer a sub-category, apart from the more formal “Old-time Fiddle” contest, which focuses on the Orange Blossom Special only, and the winner is the fiddler who can play it the best! (And/or most original, creatively.)” -Alex DePue