Next Jam on Tues. April 7th, 7pm. (slow jam 6pm)

Jan 15, 2015

Snake River Reel

What a great new old time tune in the key of D, written by musician, dance caller and potter, Peter Lippincott. This tune begins in D major, then switches to D mix in the "B" part.

Here's a nice rendition played by Tim Rowell, slow enough to play along (about 95 bpm).

Oct 24, 2014

Possum's Tail is Bare

A great tune to learn how to play that old time fiddle sound. Possum's Tail is Bare is in the key of D, standard tuning. David Bragger breaks down the tune a little slower and suggests bowing. Second video is David playing the tune at regular speed. Source: West Virginia tune played by Melvin Wine. 

Possum's Tail is Bare at slower speed with bowing.

Possum's Tail at regular speed.

Sep 9, 2014

Old Chattanooga

Here's my latest favorite tune! Old Chattanooga in the key of G. The Blaine Smith recording is on Slippery Hill [mp3] and YouTube. It's also in the Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes.

Apr 2, 2014

Brushy Run

Brushy Run, (key of G) a popular fiddle tune in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. It was in the repertoires of Ed Haley, Art Stamper, Wilson Douglas and French Carpenter. Ed Haley was born in West Virginia and Brushy Run is a community located on U.S. Highway 220 in Pendleton County, West Virginia. Thanks to Ben for playing the tune at the April jam.


Mar 5, 2014

Rochester Schottische (aka Walkin' in the Parlor)

Here's a tune "Rochester Schottische" aka "Walkin' in the Parlor" that was recorded at the March 4th jam.
From The Fiddler's Companion:
ROCHESTER SCHOTTISCHE [1]. AKA and see "Patrick County Blues," "Walking in the Parlor [2]." Old‑Time, Breakdown. USA; North Carolina, Virginia. D Major. ADae or Standard tuning. AB (Silberberg): AABB (most versions). Irregular parts (each has 10 measures rather than the usual eight), and it is played as a breakdown. Tommy Jarrell's "Rochester Schottische" is not a schottische at all, much less the "Rochester Schottishe" found in older collections in North America (which even some Southern fiddlers have occasionally picked up from these sources). Barry Poss (1976) suggests that "Rochester Schottische" was played at one time in the Round Peak (N.C.) area, but that the title became detached from the melody, and, as a "floater," became attached to this tune. Similarly, the alternate title, "Walkin' in the Parlor," can be found in the South in numerous versions, though all seem dissimilar to this tune of Tommy Jarrell's.

Feb 6, 2014

Little Dutch Girl


Here's a short clip taken at our February 2014 jam. Little Dutch Girl is the name of the tune, in the key of A.
I posted this tune on June 5th with a video of Rafe Stefanini playing. It's an old time breakdown with sources from Earl Collins and Bob Holt.I like the hypnotic rhythm of the tune and it's also very easy to pick up, sort of by osmosis. Give it a try!

Jan 28, 2014

Down Yonder

Down Yonder: Old‑Time. USA; Ga., Alabama, Mississippi, Pennsylvania. C Major (Bayard): G Major (Phillips, Rosenbaum). Standard tuning. One part. One of the most popular old‑time songs ever recorded.
The tune was recorded in Atlanta by the Scottdale String Band, named in honor of the mill village of Scottdale, near Atlanta, and home to the band members (Wayne W. Daniel, Pickin’ on Peachtree, 1990). Their first recording was made for the OKeh studios on October 28, 1926, and between that date and 1932 the group recorded nearly thirty sides (all but two—released by Paramount—for OKeh). Bill Rattray wrote about the group in Old Time Music magazine (“Scottdale Boys,” OTM, Summer, 1971) and said the group’s records sold “well, or at least fairly well,” and that “their instrumentation was profoundly different from that of the other, more well-known Georgia bands like the Skillet-Lickers, and gave their music a more sophisticated sound that that of the ‘rough North Georgia’ school.” The group’s repertoire varied more than usual for string bands from the region, and included “a wider range of material including tunes used chiefly by the jazz bands…the more traditional breakdowns, songs and ballads are hardly featured at all.” [quoted by Daniel]. The Scottdale String Band’s recording was quickly followed by one by another north Georgia group, (Clayton) McMichen’s Melody Men, on Nov. 6, 1926 (Columbia 15130-D).
The 1934 Skillet Lickers recording was kept in print by RCA until 1960 and sold over a million copies all told; it was the third best-selling country music record in its initial release year (backed with "Back Up and Push"). Tony Russell writes that Gordon Tanner, Gid Tanner's 17 year old son, played the un-credited fiddle lead at the session. Written by L. Wolfe Gilbert in 1921 (Gilbert also wrote the words to "Waitin' for the Robert E. Lee"), it was recorded by the Peerless Quartette that year. Rosenbaum speculates this may have been the source for Clayton McMichen's 1926 version. "Fiddle tunes by this name have been collected in Ligonier, Pa., and in Iuka, Miss.: see 'Check‑list of recorded songs in the English language in the Archive of American Folk Song to July, 1940' (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Mucis Division, 1942), I, 86" (Bayard). Art Rosenbaum (1989) relates a story about the name of the tune from Georgian Uncle John Patterson. Patterson was unaware that the song was popular before it was known as a fiddle tune. It seems that at a Fiddlers' Convention held in Atlanta in the 1920's Patterson was with Gid Tanner, Fate Norris, Lowe Stokes and others of the Skillet Lickers hangers on: "I was there with the banjo, and I was very small. I just wanted to be around, play with 'em. They'd say, 'Come on in, Uncle John.' I'd be sort of timid, and set down, and you talk about banjo, fiddle, and guitar, we'd tear it apart! So I broke a string. They'd been workin' on this fune for a long time, and nobody knew what was playin'. And I broke a string, and I says, 'I got to go down younder and get a string.' And they said, 'That's it, "Down Yonder"! And I went down on Decatur Street and got a string to go on the banjo." It was recorded by Herbert Halpert for the Library of Congress from the playing of Tishomingo County, Mississippi, fiddler John Hatcher in 1939. Commercial 78 RPM recordings include Shore's Southern Trio, Hershal Brown and His Washboard Band, McMichen's Melody Men, Doc Roberts, The Scottdale String Band, the latter-formation (1934) Skillet Lickers.   The following lyrics were sung by the Peerless Quartette:
Railroad train, railroad train, hurry some more,
Put a little steam on just like never before;
Hustle on, bustle on, I’ve got the blues,
Yearning for my Swanee shore,
Brother if you only knew
You’d want to hurry up too.
Summer night, fields of white, bright cotton moon,
My, but I feel glad, I’m gonna’ see you all soon.
‘Lasses’ cakes, mammy bakes, I taste them now.
I can hear the darkies croon,
I’ll see my sweetie once more,
There’s lots of kissing in store.
Down yonder someone beckons to me,
I seem to see a race in memory,
Between the Natchez and the Robert E. Lee,
Swanee shore I miss you more and more
Ev’ry day, my mammy land, you’re simply grand.
Down yonder when the folks get the news,
Don’t wonder at the hullabaloos.
There’s daddy and mammy, there’s Ephraim and Sammy,

Jun 5, 2013

Little Dutch Girl

Quote below from The Fiddler's Companion:
"Old-time, Breakdown. USA, Missouri. A Major (Beisswenger & McCann): G Major (Phillips). Standard tuning. AB (Silberberg): AABB (Beissenger & McCann, Phillips).  According to Drew Beisswenger (2008), both source Earl Collins and Missouri fiddler Bob Holt heard the tune played in Douglas County, Mo., when they were young. This is the second “Little Dutch Girl” tune associated with the Collins family; however, Marion Thede did include this melody in The Fiddle Book (1967, collected from Oklahoma fiddler Joe Wilsie) albeit under the title “Liza Jane No. 3,” perhaps because these lyrics are associated with it:

I’ll go down the new cut road,
And Liza down the lane;
I’ll throw my hat in the corner fence,
And scare poor Liza Jane.

 Mike Compton and Joe Newberry with Rafe Stefanini - Little Dutch Girl

May 29, 2013

Sal's Got Mud Between Her Toes

Sausage Grinder's David Bragger and his fiddle student Susan Platz play this Kentucky favorite. Fiddle is in ADAE and banjo in Double D. Enjoy!!

Sal's Got Mud Between Her Toes - Bruce Greene

Here comes Sally down the road,
She’s got mud between the toes,
Though her face is pretty as a pear, 
She's tied a yellow ribbon in her hair.

Sal, Sal, don't be slow,
You love me, you know it's so,
All I ask, the good Lord knows,
Shake that mud from 'tween your toes.

Here she comes and yon she goes,
She don't wear no fancy clothes,
She don't carry no long stem rose,
She's got mud between her toes.

Asked her would she marry me,
She says, "Not immediately,"
But I noticed her with a hose
Washin' mud from 'tween her toes.

Apr 26, 2013

East Tennessee Blues

Great tune, East Tennessee Blues, key of C.

Mar 26, 2013

Rockin' the Babies to Sleep

I just love the waltz, "Rocking the Babies to Sleep", key of D.  I learned this at a workshop by Alan Jabbour, his source was Henry Reed's children.  Let's play this at the 6:15 slow jam on April 2nd. 

The tune appears in the Milliner-Koken Collection as "Rock All the Babies to Sleep"
Here's another source from  Rocking the Babies to Sleep Waltz

Feb 7, 2013

Jam/Community Dance on Feb. 23rd

UPDATE: Yes, we're still on for today. Drive carefully!

Greetings to all! We are having a jam/family barn dance at The Sounding Board Coffeehouse, (at The Universalist Church) 433 Fern Street in West Hartford on Saturday, February 23rd.

We will jam from 4 - 6 pm and then from 7 - 9 (or maybe (9:30) we'll play for an old fashioned family barn dance called by Patricia Campbell. It would be great if the musicians stay and play for the dance . . . or just dance!

Here's some common tunes we'll play. Other tune suggestions are welcome, just leave a comment below or send me an e-mail.  We may play these as a set or just use one, depending on the caller's preference.  Check back as I'll be updating this list.

Here's a link to the chords and notation if you must. Traditional tunes can be played many ways, with many variations, and different chords, so keep this in mind. Every tune can be simplified if you're a novice player, there's no reason why everyone can't join in. That's what this music is about; to be shared with friends and have fun playing it! I may not play these tunes exactly as written.  (Please don't send me an e-mail saying "That's not how I learned it", "My teacher plays it differently", "I can't play the F#m chord", "I don't like this tune", etc.  Send me money instead!)

Angeline the Baker (D)  - Over the Waterfall (D)
Arkansas Traveler (D) – Mississippi Sawyer (D)
Cold Frosty Morning (Am) – Pretty Little Dog (A-modal)
Colored Aristocracy (G) - Turkey in the Straw (G)
Devil Ate the Groundhog (G) - Squirrel Heads & Gravy (G)
Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss (D) - Grey Cat on a Tennessee Farm (D)
Goodby Girls I’m Going to Boston (A) - Greasy Coat (A) - Cherokee Shuffle (A)
Grasshopper Sitting on a Sweet Potato Vine (D) - West Fork Gals (D)
Horse & Buggy (A) - June Apple (Amix) - Kitchen Girl (Amix/Adorian)
Little Liza Jane (A) - Sandy Boys (A)                  
Sadie at the Back Door (D) - Rock the Cradle Joe (D)
Sandy (My Little Dog He Won't Bite Me) (D) - Flop Eared Mule (D/A)
Seneca Square Dance (G) - Possum's Tail is Bare (D)
Walkin' in My Sleep (G) - Shove the Pigs Foot (G)
Cowboy Waltz (D),  Midnight on the Water (D)

(caller's requests - Janet & I can play these and any other tunes that Patricia might need)
LaBastringue (D) (mixer dance)
Harvest Home (D) - Boys of Blue Hill (D)
Jenny Lind Polka (D) (heel and toe dance)
Sasha (F/D)