Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premiere Sponsors

393
Banjo Lovers Online


 All Forums
 Playing the Banjo
 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: tune of the week - 11/16/08 Boatmans dance


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/131495

atracksler - Posted - 11/15/2008:  05:42:06


when I was a younger banjo player..okay, about 2 years ago....I saw this amazing banjo in the clasifieds, it was a Wildwood Wenge banjo. I fell in love with it, but couldnt buy it, partially due to the Banjo Nonproliferation treaty I had signed with the boss here at home, and partily because I didnt have the money. The banjo got sold, and I kicked myself in the butt for not getting it. A few months later, I saw that it was for sale again. Thanks to Craig Evans' banjo catch and release program (if ever there was a program that deserved to be federally funded, this would be it). I asked Craig o send me a sound file of the banjo, and he sent me Boatmans Dance. I had never heard this tune before, and I fell in love with it.

Its a kick a@!@ dance tune. 3 parts. I like 3 part tunes a lot, they are more interesting to play, since there are 3 parts its half again as much tune and you can play it half again as long.

The definitive version (for me at least) is Craigs. This video makes it look as fun as it should be, thats partially because its his wedding, but its also a fun song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60d3haZ9gBo

Mac and Annies version is a little different. Its a little slower and you could learn it while they play it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCDX...ture=related

Yonder Mountain String Band has a nice version, its different, but hey any song that says "dance all night with a hole in your pants" is probably worthy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNMYz6d7q9U

This song is to my understanding a minstrel tune, and I guess this is probably a more original version (albiet the minstrel version probably wasnt so wonder bready... no offense to any wonderbready chorus people... its just not the version i like best, but its nice historical perspective...)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rlzsfCCnx8

Another nice version"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUB1HWNXMl4

Now, the TAB: http://www.banjohangout.org/tabnew/...man-2906.gif

Well in the end I bought the banjo from Craig, its amazing still. I love this song, and play it at least once a week. You should too. Thanks for letting me ramble.

--ad

P.S. Have a Nice Day!
http://www.brycecreative.com

ZEPP - Posted - 11/15/2008:  06:55:10


A neat tune, indeed, and some very nice versions!

Here's a version I did in G (gDGBD), though I don't remember why...this is an "A" tune, after all. Sometimes I'm just too lazy to go find a capo... Unfortunately, I lost the original description for this recording. I surmise from the serial number of the instrument that I recorded it in October of 2003, but I really don't remember...

http://www.zeppmusic.com/MP3/boatman_lee-021.mp3

It was played on a Chuck Lee Lone Star Deluxe, though, that much I remember!

I learned this version fairly recently (maybe 10-12 years ago) from some friends here in NC.

Hmmm....guess this would be a good candidate for a video demo one of these banjos!

Cheers,
ZEPP


Kitt - Posted - 11/15/2008:  08:06:05


Atracksler and Zepp:

I found this in a search for the Wildwood Wenge. Is this the exact banjo you ended up buying? According to Zepp's write up, the wenge wood is very rarely ever used by Wildwood.

http://www.zeppmusic.com/Ubanjos/Wi...ildwenge.htm

Thanks for the tune. I've learned a version from Dan Levenson's tab, and have occasionally fumbled my way through on one by ear from Dan Gellert. If you haven't heard Dan Gellert's version I highly recommend that you do.

Nide44 - Posted - 11/15/2008:  08:23:43


TMSB's version is a 'rouser'
(altho Craig is havin' a lot of fun, too)
Where can I get the Lyrics?

Bob B
My Level? Uh...kinda....
. "Advanced".... Novice ?


Edited by - Nide44 on 11/15/2008 13:25:36

WGE - Posted - 11/15/2008:  08:48:58


One of my favorite tracks on the "Banjo Gathering" CD is Rafe Stefanini's two-finger version of "Boatman." That thing really has punch. As with many tunes I've learned, I first started playing "Boatman" from a tab in Krassen's book, never having heard it. I am then always surprised when I finally hear the tune to see the subtle (or in this case not so subtle) shades of timing, tempo, and dynamics. I really got a kick out of the Eelpouts version that is really rousing. Too bad they ran out of tape. I'm inspired to start polishing the brass on my "Boatman!" Another fine TUNA the Week.

fretlessinfortwayne - Posted - 11/15/2008:  08:52:51


The fiddle tune is derived from the minstrel piece credited to Dan Emmett called "De Boatmen Dance" or "Dance, Boatman, Dance;" the tune according to some accounts, was first heard in performance in Boston in 1843. Emmett published it in that year, advertising it as "An Original Banjo Melody."

The tune appears in many American and even English songsters of the 19th and early 20th centuries; Scott (1926) prints it as "Sung by the Ethiopian Serenaders." Both Nathan and Cauthen (1990) assert the melody was in folk currency before the minstrel era, and that it made its way back to folk currency in the fiddle tradition after popularization by minstrels; this is probably true, for it was in print (as "Ohio River") in George P. Knauff's Virginia Reels, volume IV (Baltimore, 1839) -- associated with Ohio River boatmen -- before it was played on the minstrel stage.

Source: Bluegrass Messengers website.

Dean

"Hooray Jake, Hooray John, Breakin'' up Christmas all night long."

BANJOJUDY - Posted - 11/15/2008:  08:59:46


Thanks for the great Tune of the Week. It is a very popular A tune here in Albuquerque.

Zepp - your version is delightful. I am going to listen to it over and over and try to get some of those sweet sounds coming from my Chuck Lee banjo too.

I think I first heard this tune on the Smothers Brothers TV show in the 60's. Anyone else remember hearing it there?

Of course, it dates back way before the 1960's - more like the 1860''s, as The Boatman is from the Minstrel era. I found this blurb online that explains a little about its history:



+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_
Don''t miss Mike Iverson''s performance in
Albuquerque November 19, 2008.
Also...a clawhammer workshop for
intermediate players is scheduled for
November 23, 2008. Email inquiry@siliconheights.com
for details or to register

handsup8 - Posted - 11/15/2008:  09:13:17


I love this tune, great choice. Melvin Wine plays a great fiddle version which is housed on the Digital Appalachian website. He repeats the "C" or low section so that it has four parts: A, B, C, C. I kind of prefer it A, B, C but Wine's take is cool.

Obviously, Dan Gellert does an awesome version as well on "Waitin' On the Break of Day." He begins with the "B" and plays it B, C, A. I still haven't figured out whether he's clawhammering this or up-picking it. Anyone know? Ted

Handsup8

rinemb - Posted - 11/15/2008:  09:18:14


Everyone, keep up the good work. I am really enjoying this series of topics, tunes, and discussion.

(Maybe our gracious leader of this could keep a running list of the tunes that were covered at the bottom of her post)
That way if I volunteered I would know what has been covered, as well as to what to hunt for in searches.

thanks,
Brad

You may be man enough to take my woman, but you''ll never get my banjo.

May not the incidence of success, nor the pretense of retirement-
Lessen the want of enlightenment.

Nide44 - Posted - 11/15/2008:  09:23:57


But where can I get the LYRICS ?
I'm an old 'folkie' and want to sing it as well as play it.

Bob B
My Level? Uh...kinda.....
"Advanced"
.... Novice ?


Edited by - Nide44 on 11/15/2008 13:26:20

WGE - Posted - 11/15/2008:  09:29:03


There is a wonderful painting by G.C. Bingham in the St. Louis art museum I always admired when I visited in my younger years called "The Jolly Flat Boatmen. " I always think of this painting when I envision the boatmen singing and dancing. This was apparently a popular theme for Bingham. Here are a couple of links:
http://steamboattimes.com/images/fl...1048x698.jpg
and
http://kcfac.kilgore.cc.tx.us/artpa...rt/Jolly.jpg

fretlessinfortwayne - Posted - 11/15/2008:  09:33:41


These are the original minstrel words:

Chorus: Hi ho, de boatmen row,
Floating down the river on de Ohio.

Verse: De boatman dance, de boatman sing,
de boatman up to ebry ting,
An when de boat men gets on shore,
he spends his cash and works for more,

2nd Chorus: Den dance de boatman dance,
O dance de boatman dance,
O dance all night till broad daylight,
an go home wid de gals in de morning.

(CHORUS)

Verse: De oyster boat should keep to de shore,
De fishin smack should venture more,
De schooner sails before de wind,
De steamboat leaves a streak behind.

(CHORUS)

Verse: I wen on board de odder day
To see what de boatman had to say;
Dar I let my passions loose
An dey cram me in de callaboose.

(2nd Chorus)
(CHORUS)

Verse: I've come dis time, I'll come no more,
Let me loose I'll go on shore;
For dey whole hoss, and dey a bully crew
Wid a hoosier mate as captin too.

(2nd Chorus)
(CHORUS)

Verse: When you go to de boatman's ball,
Dance wid my wife, or dont dance at all;
Sky blue jacket an tarpaulin hat,
Look out my boys for de nine tail cat.

(2nd Chorus)
(CHORUS)

Verse: De boatman is a thrifty man,
Dars none can do as de boatman can;
I neber a see putty gal in my life
But dat she was a boatman's wife.

(2nd Chorus)
(CHORUS)

Verse: When de boatman blows his horn,
Look out old man your hog is gone;
He cotch my sheep, he cotch my shoat,
Den put ‘em in a bag an toat ‘em to de boat.

(2nd Chorus)
(CHORUS)



Dean

"Hooray Jake, Hooray John, Breakin'' up Christmas all night long."

Nide44 - Posted - 11/15/2008:  09:40:48


Dean,
Thank you, very much


Bob B
My Level? Uh...kinda.....
"Advanced"
.... Novice ?


Edited by - Nide44 on 11/15/2008 13:26:54

BANJOJUDY - Posted - 11/15/2008:  09:43:42


quote:
Originally posted by rinemb

Everyone, keep up the good work. I am really enjoying this series of topics, tunes, and discussion.

(Maybe our gracious leader of this could keep a running list of the tunes that were covered at the bottom of her post)
That way if I volunteered I would know what has been covered, as well as to what to hunt for in searches.

thanks,
Brad

You may be man enough to take my woman, but you''ll never get my banjo.

May not the incidence of success, nor the pretense of retirement-
Lessen the want of enlightenment.




Not man enough to take your woman, and God knows I don't need another banjo (want and need are different, you know), but for you, Brad, the good news is that VR Teach has put up a STICKY link to all the tunes of the week right at this URL:
http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/t...IC_ID=125151
You can find all the tunes from the inception of the topic which began in July, 2008.

How about some volunteers for December, folks? I have no volunteers for that nice month, and I need them - please email me at inquiry@siliconheights.com.

Judy


+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_
Don''t miss Mike Iverson''s performance in
Albuquerque November 19, 2008.
Also...a clawhammer workshop for
intermediate players is scheduled for
November 23, 2008. Email inquiry@siliconheights.com
for details or to register

Kitt - Posted - 11/15/2008:  09:56:38


Here's a fine 'organic' sounding version played by Bob Carlin. Marcy and Cathy recorded the tune for their CD/album that they produced titled Old Time Banjo Festival.

http://www.oldtimebanjofestival.com...-Boatman.mp3

rinemb - Posted - 11/15/2008:  10:40:06


Thanks, Judy. I figured you had it covered somehow.

Brad

You may be man enough to take my woman, but you''ll never get my banjo.

May not the incidence of success, nor the pretense of retirement-
Lessen the want of enlightenment.

frailin - Posted - 11/15/2008:  11:11:40


Wow! What fun! Adam, I hope you do such a search (for variations of tunes like this) for all the other TUNA the week! I especially like the choir!



quote:
Too bad they ran out of tape. I'm inspired to start polishing the brass on my "Boatman!" Another fine TUNA the Week.
WGE
Good news, Bill! In addition to a full-length MP3 of Boatman by the Eelpout Stringers on my MUSIC page (first one listed), there's actually a VIDEO of us playing the tune at a bar called Bensons in Walker, MN during our annual trek to our name sake festival in Feb of '06.

Here's that link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VThMj7qpWkE



Woo-hoo!

"Gospel. The most powerful music in this world and the next."



www.frailin.com
www.myspace.com/frailin
www.myspace.com/singletonstreet
www.myspace.com/eelpouts
&
www.autismhangout.com

Boyd1 - Posted - 11/15/2008:  11:22:26


Great choice!

I followed the first Youtube link to this. I don't think it is posted here yet. This guy is great!

Who is Fred Coon?

http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=qtFAFxqsSo8&NR=1

***************************
Anything you can imagine is real. - Pablo Picasso

janolov - Posted - 11/15/2008:  12:02:16


I found a minstrel version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlkFl21eno8
This is how the original Boatman may have sounded.

Jan-Olov

atracksler - Posted - 11/15/2008:  12:47:46


Kitt, mine was built a while ago and is different from the one Zepp has. It was an experiment, that I think came out well. It loks like Wildwood is making ths a production model. The rim is turned like a flathead, but has no tonering.

I was going to sell mine a while ago, buut thankfully didnt have to. Here is the link to the ad and the pictures. http://www.banjohangout.org/classif...asp?cid=3822

P.S. Have a Nice Day!
http://www.brycecreative.com


Edited by - atracksler on 11/15/2008 12:49:06

Nide44 - Posted - 11/15/2008:  13:14:35


Also
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17sTsOW9m1I&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJVqo1ip6aI&NR=1
and on a fretless
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH1bcV0H5Zc&NR=1


Bob B
My Level? Uh...kinda..."Advanced"...Novice ?


Edited by - Nide44 on 11/15/2008 13:24:53

rendesvous1840 - Posted - 11/15/2008:  13:38:47


http://www.ibiblio.org/jimmy/folkden-wp/?p=6970
Here's a link to Roger McGuinns version on The Folk Den. He also has some lyrics, albeit somewhat more modern wording.
Paul

"A master banjo player isn''t the one who can play the most notes. It''s the one who can touch the most hearts." Patrick Costello
http://www.banjohangout.org/forum/t...IC_ID=128303

LEUllman - Posted - 11/15/2008:  14:50:01


The version atracksler refers to as "wonder bready" is a choral transcription of Aaron Copland's "The Boatman's Dance," from his suite for voice and piano, Old American Songs. Here's an okay performance of this great piece on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiV2jCYrPMk. Copland also later transcribed the suite for voice and orchestra. Except for us old-timey banjo nuts, far more people will recognize Copland's version than any other.

I love playing this tune both clawhammer and stroke style on my minstrel banjo. One of my favorite renditions is Marvin Gaster's two-part version. Do a search on his name on iTunes and you you can preview it.

"Oh, the banjo am the instrument for me!"


Edited by - LEUllman on 11/15/2008 14:53:51

maxmax - Posted - 11/15/2008:  16:22:28


quote:
Originally posted by Nide44

Also
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17sTsOW9m1I&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJVqo1ip6aI&NR=1
and on a fretless
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH1bcV0H5Zc&NR=1


Hey that second one is me in a life before a beard. I look so weird without it!

J-Walk - Posted - 11/15/2008:  16:33:09


quote:
Hey that second one is me in a life before a beard. I look so weird without it!

For those of us who know you by your avatar photo, you look just right!

Nice playing. I also like Redwing on the Bowlin -- even though it's nothing like the Redwing that I know. You should make more videos, maxmax.

And thanks to atracksler for choosing a nice tuna.

I often play Boatman and Little Billie Wilson together. They both have three parts.

fernando - Posted - 11/17/2008:  06:29:09


I love this tune. I can play the arrangements published by Ken Pearlman and I’m almost there with D.Levenson´s one (Hahah, I’m slowly improving and I had to tell someone! ).
As references I used Maxmax’s video and a recording from Marvin Gaster but now I have lots more. Thanks.
Maxmax, I wonder if you play your own arrangement and if you have a tabbed version I could look at and compare.
May I also add that this is a terrific post. There’s opinion, information, plenty of references a bit of history… It gives depth to the banjo and OT experiences, at least for those who like me, are far from its natural scene and live it next to the computer screen.
Thanks.
f

Jonnycake White - Posted - 11/17/2008:  10:03:46


This is the first tune of the week to really grab me. Maybe because it is referenced in one of my favorite songs, "The Glendy Burke" - "The Glendy Burke has a funny old crew, dey sing de boatman's song. Dey burn de pitch and de pine knot too, for to shove de boat along."

I guess I'll have to learn both.

Jon W.
"The day is never dreary with the banjo''s dulsome tones"

vrteach - Posted - 11/17/2008:  11:39:32


Great choice.

I learned this tune kind of sideways from one of Debby McClatchy's albums (with the Red Clay Ramblers) from 1976 (the same year I bought my first banjo, as well as my second one which my frog is holding). She does it with California Gold Rush words, and it is called "Seeing the Elephant". Recently a BHO member (I forget his name) posted a link to his site where he is gathering period music for his re-enactment group, and it included a link to the 1868 source of the words.

Put's Original California Songster in PDF format. Warning, this is mid-19th-century humor, McClatchy bowdlerized it a bit, as would I. Seeing the Elephant begins on page 19 of the book, which is page 11 in the PDF file.

Music of the Gold Rush and Civil War, nice collection of sources.

Debby McClatchy's page describing the album where you can hear a short clip (in wav format) of Seeing the Elephant, and can also apparently order the album.

My version in G (it's easier for me to sing, but I'm not doing that).

Erich -- There''s always room for cello..

http://vrteach.org/banjo/
http://prairiegrapevine.org/
U of Illinois-Springfield Old Time Music


Edited by - vrteach on 11/17/2008 11:59:47

RWJones1970 - Posted - 11/17/2008:  16:34:15


*** I love this tune and have a few postings of my versions on my homepage. One of the first clawhammer cd's that I bought was Dwight Diller's JUST BANJO 99. The first track is BOATMAN. I fell in love with it instantly. My recording is similar to Dwight's yet doesn't come close as far as playing ability. There are many interesting versions of it here on the hangout and I enjoy all of the different variations. Great selection for the tune of the week. I would like to do this but I need help learning how to insert pictures, recordings, and other stuff. I'm pretty computer illiterate.


Edited by - RWJones1970 on 11/17/2008 16:35:49

gorf - Posted - 11/17/2008:  16:48:54


Very nice tune, it's new to me, and I like it.

maxmax - Posted - 11/17/2008:  22:30:19


quote:
Originally posted by fernando
As references I used Maxmax’s video and a recording from Marvin Gaster but now I have lots more. Thanks.
Maxmax, I wonder if you play your own arrangement and if you have a tabbed version I could look at and compare.


I orginally learnd Boatman from Bob Carlins recording on "The Old Time Banjo Festival" CD. But later on I met Dwight Diller and I liked the version he played better. So I stole a bunch of stuff from him! I did this video right after I met Dwight and I presume the arrangment is pretty close to how he plays it. I'm not sure if he has tab for it, but he might.

quote:
Originally posted by J-Walk

quote:
Hey that second one is me in a life before a beard. I look so weird without it!

For those of us who know you by your avatar photo, you look just right!

Nice playing. I also like Redwing on the Bowlin -- even though it's nothing like the Redwing that I know. You should make more videos, maxmax.


Thanks for the nice comment J-Walk! I've been meaning to make more videos, or at least just sound recordings, but never seam to get around to do it. I will though! I've also been meaning to get a new avatar picture.

Max

dculgan - Posted - 11/18/2008:  04:47:33


Also one of my favorites to play and sing. My band does this one and I was mighty pleased to be contacted by Natchez National Historical Park in regards to our recording. They wanted permission to use it as background music for an exhibit on the boatmen. Opening in late 2009 I think.

Dave

LEUllman - Posted - 11/18/2008:  10:08:52


Dwight Diller's tab is here: http://www.dwightdiller.com/tab/boatman.html. It's a great version, easy and fun to play.

"Oh, the banjo am the instrument for me!"

slabounty - Posted - 11/18/2008:  14:56:56


I'd just like to chime in with a "thanks for the great tune"! I was playing it all weekend long.


Scott LaBounty
Orange, CA

deuceswilde - Posted - 11/18/2008:  16:37:26


Here it is with guitar accompament from 1844-

http://tinyurl.com/6hpztc

and another with piano-

http://tinyurl.com/68ao3o

one more.

http://tinyurl.com/5au92j

-Joel

Success always comes to those who have the money to buy it.

-The Adventures of a Banjo Player, 1884 p.26

unclekurty - Posted - 11/19/2008:  07:21:20


In another thread there was a request for a soundfile of a Reiter Roundpeak so I posted one of Boatman at my homepage on my Reiter RP.

http://www.banjohangout.org/myhango....asp?id=5000

It's a fun tune to play.

BAZ - Posted - 11/24/2008:  14:53:50


Sorry to jump in so late but this guy's version is really great...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17sTsOW9m1I&NR=1

I also really love the version by 2d South Carolina String Band. It can be found on their Southern Soldier CD....

http://cdbaby.com/cd/2scsb


banjoholic - Posted - 11/24/2008:  15:55:05


My friend Joel (aka "DelusionsOBanjer") and I recorded a few tunes and songs this past weekend, one of which was Boatman. Joel is providing the mighty fine guitar pickin on these.

http://www.banjohangout.org/myhango....asp?id=1823

jamieholmes - Posted - 12/04/2008:  01:03:38


sorry I just joined you'r thread.
But is there any tabulature out for this song cause I really wanna learn it.


jamieholmes - Posted - 12/04/2008:  01:06:38


oops
diden't see there was a second page tio this thread....

clawfootcurt - Posted - 12/04/2008:  09:27:17


I like Craig's version too. I have been working on this one for a while. I had better try Dwight's version. Looks fun.

Your talk talks, and your walk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks!


Edited by - clawfootcurt on 12/04/2008 10:53:43

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories