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 TOTW 06/02/2017 Wolves a-Howlin'

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mojo_monk

United States
1406 posts
since 1/12/07

06/02/2017 11:30:51 View mojo_monk's MP3 Archive View mojo_monk's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

This week’s tune is Wolves a-Howlin’. The origin of the tune is lost to history, but there are (best I can gather) three dominant “versions” floating around out there, one being the version recorded by the Stripling Brothers back in 1929 (recorded as "Le Reel Du Charretier," trans. "Carter's Reel"), a particular version from Mississippi recorded by John Alexander Brown (LoC 1939), and a version from the Missouri Ozarks (care of Gene Goforth, Bob Holt, Earl Collins, et al.). I learned the tune after first getting my hands on late great fiddler Bob Holt’s “Got a Little Home to go To” CD back around 2001, and have been playing it ever since. My current favorite version comes from Mike Seeger’s playing on “Animal Folk Songs for Children - and Other People” since I hear it EVERY DAY while in the process of shaping my youngsters in to Old Time musicians and traditional music lovers.

According to the Fiddler’s Companion the lyrics are pretty much the same across all the versions, the only real difference being their cadence and delivery. For a “complete” listing of the various versions, check the Fiddler’s Companion above. Here are the words I use:

Can't you hear them wolves a'howlin'

All around you poor little darlin'

One on the hillside, two in the hollar

Bet them wolves have done and got her. 

A few notable versions:

Stripling Brothers (Pickens Co., Alabama) and then Lee Stripling fiddling it in the late 1990s after having been "discovered" in Seattle, Washington.

Bob Holt (Ava, Missouri)

Gene Goforth w/John Hartford (Shannon Co., Missouri)

Mike Seeger (clip w/fiddlesticks!)

Jimmy Dickens (Bolt, W. Virginia. as “Poor Little Darlin”)

Harry Bolick and band (version from John Alexander Brown, Itawamba Co., Mississippi)

Frank Lee (cCEGC tuning)

Bill Conley (Mountain Grove, Missouri)

Earl Collins (Southern Missouri style by way of Southern California)

There are dozens of other versions out there, including a whole slew on YouTube which I’ve seen but decided not to include for the sake of brevity. If you find one you like feel free to share.

Here are my contributions. One clawhammer, one 2FTL. Both played on an old Harmony Bakelite w/resonator in the key of G. The tune is played in the key of A around here, but since I’m at home I figured the key of G would suffice. Fortunately the OT police didn’t show up during the recording session. The CH version features a brief cameo by my 4yr old daughter at the end. Never a dull moment around here. 

Enjoy!

 

-Sean



Wolves a Howlin' (2FTL)


Wolves a Howlin' (CH)


Edited by - mojo_monk on 06/02/2017 11:36:57

RG

United States
2617 posts since 8/7/08

06/02/2017 11:48:11View RG's MP3 Archive View RG's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Great tune and even greater playing, real nice Sean!!!!


Edited by - RG on 06/02/2017 11:49:51

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Tobus

United States
917 posts since 11/17/15

06/02/2017 11:52:21 View Tobus's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

One version I hear a lot is Bruce Molsky's version, which I believe he's doing in AEAE tuning on the fiddle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8NBCxF4N28

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mojo_monk

United States
1406 posts since 1/12/07

06/02/2017 12:02:39View mojo_monk's MP3 Archive View mojo_monk's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by RG
 

Great tune and even greater playing, real nice Sean!!!!


Shoot. Thanks, Rick blush

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mojo_monk

United States
1406 posts since 1/12/07

06/02/2017 12:05:55View mojo_monk's MP3 Archive View mojo_monk's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by Tobus
 

One version I hear a lot is Bruce Molsky's version, which I believe he's doing in AEAE tuning on the fiddle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8NBCxF4N28


Agreed. It's a good one. He has a great groove going and his singing while playing is something I've always aspired to. 

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hendrid

United States
109 posts since 7/16/07

06/02/2017 13:46:29 Reply with Quote


https://thesession.org/tunes/5302


http://abcnotation.com/tunePage?a=thesession.org/tunes/5302.no-ext/0001


Edited by - hendrid on 06/02/2017 13:49:51

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banjo bill-e

United States
6886 posts since 2/22/07

06/02/2017 14:29:42View banjo bill-e's MP3 Archive View banjo bill-e's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Big fan of this version featuring Reyna's fiddle and John Herrmann's plunky banjo. They are digging a ferocious groove here. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DKAz6HE5tg

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mojo_monk

United States
1406 posts since 1/12/07

06/02/2017 15:24:49View mojo_monk's MP3 Archive View mojo_monk's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by banjo bill-e

Big fan of this version featuring Reyna's fiddle and John Herrmann's plunky banjo. They are digging a ferocious groove here. 



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DKAz6HE5tg






Definitely got the groove. That's the Stripling Bros. version. Her dad Dan and his band Shoofly did a great recording of this on their "Forked Deer" tape on the defunct Marimac label. He used the verses from the Marion Thede book which seem to have become the standard. Thanks for sharing the link!

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JanetBPlayers Union Member

5661 posts since 6/27/09

06/02/2017 16:48:27View JanetB's MP3 Archive View JanetB's Photo Albums View JanetB's Blog Reply with Quote

I like both your styles of playing the tune, Sean.  That 2-finger recording really got my attention.  Thanks for picking a tune I've already researched a bit.  blush 

Bruce Molsky's version is so good I wondered about his source -- Mississippi fiddler John Brown, a very photogenic fellow who recorded in the late 30's a WPA project in Mississippi, now a part of the Library of Congress.  The compilation called Great Big Yam Potatoes was the result of the original late 1930's recordings.  The PDF file below is a a copy of the lengthy liner notes that accompanies Great Big Yam Potatoes (23 pages), with Wolves a-Howlin' being #'s 5 and 11 by two different fiddlers. 

A book came out recently by Harry Bolick and Stephen Austin which notates all the fiddle tunes in Great Big Yam Potatoes.  On pages 224-6  there's a short description of John Brown, who is said to have been kindly and enthusiastic.  This little story indicates his sense of humor:  "When someone spoke of a man being thrown in jail, Brown said, 'It's a pity, he ought to learnt Farewell Whisky.'"

 photo download_zpsuvvnfuvn.jpg photo images_zpskm3gybpr.jpg



Wolves A-Howling


Wolves a-Howling (John A. Brown) CH tab


Great Big Yam Potatoes liner notes


Edited by - JanetB on 06/02/2017 16:55:37

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R.D. Lunceford

United States
5346 posts since 3/11/06

06/02/2017 18:50:36 Reply with Quote

I think this may be from the "That's Earl:  Collins family Fiddling" LP of 1975.

If so, that's Tom Sauber on banjo.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB8jlVXbr6g

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JanetBPlayers Union Member

5661 posts since 6/27/09

06/02/2017 20:24:52View JanetB's MP3 Archive View JanetB's Photo Albums View JanetB's Blog Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by R.D. Lunceford
 

I think this may be from the "That's Earl:  Collins family Fiddling" LP of 1975.

If so, that's Tom Sauber on banjo.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB8jlVXbr6g


Thanks for sharing that link, R.D.   Earl and Tom's sound is sooooo smooth together.  When I listened to it I focused on the fiddle and came up with this clawhammer arrangement.



Wolves a-Howling (Earl Collins) CH tab

   
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Brooklynbanjoboy

United States
3091 posts since 1/2/04

06/03/2017 03:03:51View Brooklynbanjoboy's MP3 Archive View Brooklynbanjoboy's Photo Albums View Brooklynbanjoboy's Blog Send Brooklynbanjoboy a Yahoo! Message Reply with Quote

I like this one:  


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtICwslKsv0

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BobTheGambler

United States
520 posts since 6/9/09

06/03/2017 07:41:38 Reply with Quote

In addition to his recording of John Brown, Herbert Halpert also recorded WE Claunch fiddling "Wolves Howlin" on his Mississippi field recording trips. I'm sure its included on the recent Document records compilation that is a companion to Bolick and Austen's book.
 

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Don Huber

United States
2296 posts since 12/11/08

06/03/2017 12:11:08View Don Huber's MP3 Archive View Don Huber's Photo Albums View Don Huber's Blog Reply with Quote

That Harmony banjo sounds great! I also enjoy the version Hartford recorded for his "Hamilton Ironworks" Cd of MO fiddle tunes and stories.

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mojo_monk

United States
1406 posts since 1/12/07

06/05/2017 13:13:30View mojo_monk's MP3 Archive View mojo_monk's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by BobTheGambler
 

In addition to his recording of John Brown, Herbert Halpert also recorded WE Claunch fiddling "Wolves Howlin" on his Mississippi field recording trips. I'm sure its included on the recent Document records compilation that is a companion to Bolick and Austen's book.
 


Yep. It's a good one. I would say it's closer to the Ozark version than to the J.A. Brown version. Here it is:

W.E. Claunch & Christine Haygood - Wolves a-Howlin'

 

-Sean

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mjt0229Players Union Member

United States
164 posts since 4/20/15

06/05/2017 14:22:10View mjt0229's MP3 Archive View mjt0229's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I can't check right now, but isn't there a version of this on R.D. Lunceford's Drop Thumb? I really love that album.

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Christopher Curran

1 posts since 11/13/15

06/05/2017 20:08:02 Reply with Quote

Really great info everyone posted, thanks!



The All Day Breakfast Stringband put an album out a few years ago with Wolves a-howlin as the first tune.  https://alldaybreakfaststringband.bandcamp.com/album/melinda-ep



Lukas Pool also includes Wolves a-howlin among the songs in his 2016 video lessons.  It's about 30 minutes through both a beginner and more advanced version with tab included.  http://www.ozarkbanjo.com/lessons/



 



Chris


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R.D. Lunceford

United States
5346 posts since 3/11/06

06/06/2017 17:03:48 Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by mjt0229
 

I can't check right now, but isn't there a version of this on R.D. Lunceford's Drop Thumb? I really love that album.


So there is:


"I first heard this Ozarks tune as a boy in California, played by the legendary Earl Collins.  For me though, the tune will be forever connected to Bob Holt whose rendition is definitive.  Bob is from Douglas County, Missouri and has done much to preserve the traditional style and repertoire of Ozarks fiddling and pass it on to the younger generation."

If I was better at scanning and all that stuff I'd post my version here.  I like to use a couple of ASPO's on the first string in the first couple of measures.

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R.D. Lunceford

United States
5346 posts since 3/11/06

06/07/2017 08:08:09 Reply with Quote

Bob Holt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfpHvqMh9Sw

Alvie Dooms on guitar. The gentleman in the white shirt and street shoes is a good jig-dancer.

Bill Conley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJF6ufcufwQ

Bill is a native Ozark CHer.  He learned from his dad Bye Conley.


Edited by - R.D. Lunceford on 06/07/2017 08:11:05

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R.D. Lunceford

United States
5346 posts since 3/11/06

06/07/2017 08:53:00 Reply with Quote

Gene Goforth is a well-known Ozarks fiddler and everyone's heard of John Hartford:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE0lRF-zdrw

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mojo_monk

United States
1406 posts since 1/12/07

06/07/2017 16:46:03View mojo_monk's MP3 Archive View mojo_monk's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by R.D. Lunceford

quote:

Originally posted by mjt0229

 

I can't check right now, but isn't there a version of this on R.D. Lunceford's Drop Thumb? I really love that album.







So there is:





"I first heard this Ozarks tune as a boy in California, played by the legendary Earl Collins.  For me though, the tune will be forever connected to Bob Holt whose rendition is definitive.  Bob is from Douglas County, Missouri and has done much to preserve the traditional style and repertoire of Ozarks fiddling and pass it on to the younger generation."



If I was better at scanning and all that stuff I'd post my version here.  I like to use a couple of ASPO's on the first string in the first couple of measures.






Not sure if you saw my original post, but I posted a link of Earl Collins playing at a jam with Bob Rogers, another "transplant" fiddler (he was from TN) active in California up to his death in the early 1980s. Did you ever run into him?

-Sean

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R.D. Lunceford

United States
5346 posts since 3/11/06

06/07/2017 18:31:31 Reply with Quote

Sorry Sean... it looks like I may have duplicated a couple of your links.

Bob Rogers? If I did meet him I don't recall. The name is familiar.

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JanetBPlayers Union Member

5661 posts since 6/27/09

06/07/2017 19:11:35View JanetB's MP3 Archive View JanetB's Photo Albums View JanetB's Blog Reply with Quote

R.D. graciously gave me permission to upload his recording and tab.  His 2001 CD is called Drop-Thumb:  21 Clawhammer Banjo Solos.  Elderly Instruments still carries both the CD and tab book here: https://www.elderly.com/catalogsearch/result/?o=drop-thumb%3A21+clawhammer+banjo+solors&q=drop-thumb+21+clawhammer+banjo+solos.

Neat picking, there, R.D. -- thanks!

 photo Scan_zpsxesekcgt.jpeg



R.D. Lunceford's Wolves A-Howlin'

   

Edited by - JanetB on 06/07/2017 19:14:56

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mojo_monk

United States
1406 posts since 1/12/07

06/08/2017 03:57:16View mojo_monk's MP3 Archive View mojo_monk's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:

Originally posted by R.D. Lunceford

 

Sorry Sean... it looks like I may have duplicated a couple of your links.

 







No sweat. The more the merrier!



-Sean


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