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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Tune of the Week - Hollow Poplar

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:

strokestyle - Posted - 10/16/2009:  07:32:21

I first heard this tune done by Henry T. Fiddler a couple years ago. He has it for sale on his website
and man can this guy fiddle....

Here is a recording of Billy Mathews, Rock Suzi Vause , Paul Breen and myself playing the tune at Battleground Indiana Festival this past June 2009 I have posted on my home site here on the BHO

From the Fiddler’s Companion...
HOLLOW POPLAR. Old#64979;Time, Bluegrass; Breakdown. USA, Nebraska, Tenn. G Major. Standard tuning. AABB. Popularized by Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith. Earnest Smith, the grandson of the famous Tennessee fiddler, told Susan Songer (1997) that this tune was his father’s favorite and that it was the first tune he played on the Grand Old Opry. Although Smith had played the tune since the 1930's, he never recorded it until he made his 'comeback' with the McGee Brothers in the late 1950's.
You can read more here

Here is a version on you tube lead by Tom Kingery

Sorry I have no tab I learned it by listening and playing. Maybe our Banjo Hangouter LyleK can come up with a version on tab for us. Thanks in advance if you do.
Fun Tune.... try it and then take it to your next jam!

Edited by - strokestyle on 10/16/2009 07:32:52

BANJOJUDY - Posted - 10/16/2009:  07:49:27

Great tune - first heard it on Dan Levenson's Boiled Buzzard's album.

It is a tune played in standard G tuning, and if you play along with any of the examples cited, you should figure it out just fine without tab.

However, if you want tab, it is available in Dan Levenson's Old Time Festival Tunes.

Next up in ABQ is KG and The Ranger. November 1. 7PM,
Email me for more information:

J-Walk - Posted - 10/16/2009:  11:49:18

Another good TOTW choice. This tune is really growing on me.

The Boiled Buzzards recording is a good one to learn from. It's on their "Eat At Joe's" CD. If you're tuned to A440, you'll need to retune your banjo to play along -- or use Amazing Slow Downer and raise the pitch of the recording by ~30 cents.

In another thread, BanjoJudy mentioned the recording by Red Mountain White Trash. I bought the track, and it's also good.

A few more links:

Free fiddle-only download to accompany Dan's Festival Tunes book. It will help get the melody solidified in your neurons.

From the Digital Library of Appalachia, a very fast and scratchy version from the Dixie Playboys.

If you read music, the melody (in music notation) from the Portland Collection

A nice photo of a hollow poplar.

And finally, from Wikipedia. An article about Pfafftown, NC:

The popular C.G. Hill Memorial Park contains a hollow poplar tree which was used by Confederate sympathizers to hide possessions, including not only weapons, but also cows, among other belongings, during the American Civil War. The tree is also said to have provided shelter to travelers during storms.

Dale Morris - Posted - 10/16/2009:  12:22:02

I believe the late Tommy Jackson played this tune frequently.

Dale Morris
Deep in the Virginia Blue Ridge

tfaux - Posted - 10/16/2009:  15:37:37

Nice tune Christine/
And thanks for posting that Battleground recording. That's what it's all about.

Originally posted by J-Walk
The popular C.G. Hill Memorial Park contains a hollow poplar tree which was used by Confederate sympathizers to hide possessions, including not only weapons, but also cows

oh come on, cows?

strokestyle - Posted - 10/17/2009:  10:57:49

Jwalk - very cool pics of the hollow tree, looks like you could hide your livestock in there.

banjered - Posted - 10/17/2009:  15:03:05

I learned Dan Levenson's version and it turned out to be quite different from a version I heard at a local jam session, different enough that it did not fit well at all. So I cobbled a version from the Portland Collection book along with various audio versions and have a pretty close rendition to what works ok at the session. I think my version sounds better and also plays a lot easier than Dan's, IMNSHO. Especially on the B part where you can use bar frets. I wish I had the know how to either post an audio or print a tab. Perhaps in the future it will be easier so computer klutz's like me can post and we all can share comparisons. I, like I am sure quite a few others, don't volunteer for the Tunatheweek simply because I lack the computer expertise, not because we don't care or have tunes to share. I wonder if someone could act as a go-between between us klutzes and BHO, a place to send tabs or cassettes that could be coverted to computerese. Just a thought or two. Go Banjo! TC

Don Borchelt - Posted - 10/17/2009:  22:08:45

Great choice, Christine. Great Battleground jam session! I've been tinkering with it all day, instead of doing my chores. Here's what I have come up with so far, I hope you can recognize it. The banjo is tuned gDGAD.

They should have carved some banjos from that Monticello tree...

"My mission in life is really very simple. I want to make somebody's dinner better." - Chef Paul Prudhomme
Check out my webpage.

Edited by - Don Borchelt on 10/17/2009 22:11:39

strokestyle - Posted - 10/18/2009:  12:27:37

Yep great playing Don! I am glad to be part of a reason your chores are incomplete. This tune is a good one. I was surprised to hear the different versions. That, I guess represents the hand me down process.

LyleK - Posted - 10/18/2009:  18:31:23

Good pick Christine (even if not an Illinois tune). It works well in gEADE (one of the "Cumberland Gap tunings") so I gave it a spin at:

Dan's tab is in gDGBD ("standard G") so if there's interest in a gEADE tab I can do that.


Don Borchelt - Posted - 10/19/2009:  17:53:37

Very fine picking, Lyle; even though it's not an Illinois tune, it should be.

"My mission in life is really very simple. I want to make somebody's dinner better." - Chef Paul Prudhomme
Check out my webpage.

Randy Adams - Posted - 10/19/2009:  18:28:41

That's some good picking right there Lyle...nice choice of notes....good tuning...yeah that's great allright dude...

Randy Adams

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