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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW - Spotted Pony


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/171352

Clawdan - Posted - 02/19/2010:  05:10:29


Had to happen sooner or later right? Well, here's the story:

TOTW – Spotted Pony
It has been many years now since I started using the tune Spotted Pony as a beginning teaching tune. I first heard it in my earliest days of playing old time music in Pittsburgh, PA. It was played by both Dolores Heagy – caller, clawhammer banjo player, fiddler and clogger extraordinaire and Ron Buchannan – another wonderful local caller and fiddler – both of whom I had the pleasure of playing with and dancing to. Somehow I saw (heard?) that they used this tune as a teaching tune because the first few bars are really just a D scale.
When I recorded my teaching video and wrote my instruction book “Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch” (Book - Mel Bay 20190 BCD; Video – MB 5003 DVD) it seemed a natural to make this the primary teaching tune. (BTW, the video has just the one tune, the book adds 11 more tunes in D.)
Most of the communities I have lived in or visited play this one and usually under the title Spotted Pony. Just recently, I heard the tune played here out west under the title of Snowshoe so I did a web search. Other than the reference to the name, I can’t really say I have any “history” of the tune, and web searches don’t really go too far into this one’s pedigree.
SO, many of you may never want to hear this tune again but others of us still find it a great jam tune.
I have it recorded by my band The Boiled Buzzards Eat At Joe’s and here is a link up here to my hangout music page where I have recorded it again for this week’s TOTW. banjohangout.org/myhangout/med...archived=
Perhaps we can make a whole pony disc as I am sure you will all be putting up your examples of this fine tune!
Enjoy the tune and Play Nice!

I'll get some recordings up later today. Happy Friday and...

Play nice,
Dan Levenson

ps - Remember, Clawcamp West is just a week away! Clawcamp.com


Edited by - Clawdan on 02/19/2010 05:26:11

must fret - Posted - 02/19/2010:  05:33:25


Thanks Dan
Spotted Pony is the first Banjo tune I learned, and I learned from your "Clawhammer from Scratch Book". (I'm sure my wife has it firmly imprinted on her cerebral cortex since that's all she heard for awhile)

I like the dexterity that it builds into the left hand as you go up that D scale. Always a good warm up also. As my playing has improved, I like to give Spotted Pony a little kick on the back beats (one,TWO,three,FOUR) - makes you want to dance.

Thanks - great choice!
Paul

jsmapr1 - Posted - 02/19/2010:  06:04:55


It was also the first tune I learned and, much to my surprise, it was the first tune I played in a jam (about 1 year after I learned it).

Here's a version by Don Zepp that I particularly like: youtube.com/watch?v=RqDsf0AcMvQ

mojo_monk - Posted - 02/19/2010:  06:16:01


quote:
Originally posted by Clawdan

...Other than the reference to the name, I can’t really say I have any “history” of the tune, and web searches don’t really go too far into this one’s pedigree...




Good choice Dan!

I've always heard this one identified as a "Missouri tune," but even among MO fiddlers there are different versions (at least one of which is played in the key of A!!!)

Never actually "learnt" it...I think I'll give this one a go. Thanks for the push.

-Sean

ZEPP - Posted - 02/19/2010:  06:32:41


A classic, indeed. I have used it for decades as the first 2D tune I teach.

Incidentally, I learnt it t'other way 'round, i.e., what I play now as a B part I originally learned as the A part; I changed because the locals here play it "backwards." Anyone else play it with the parts reversed, i.e. fine then coarse?

Cheers,
ZEPP


Edited by - ZEPP on 02/19/2010 06:34:20

vrteach - Posted - 02/19/2010:  06:59:24


Interesting. I never heard it until I was 30 years into playing. I must have always just left the room ("there goes Erich, let's play Spotted Pony!")

It is a great choice for TOTW. I think I'll give it a go, too.

slabounty - Posted - 02/19/2010:  07:20:52


Zepp, I don't, but I was just watching some youtube videos and at least one person played it that way.

Dan, Thanks, I now will have this stuck in my head for the next couple of days. Might as well give in and go home and play it. ;-)

Scott

raybob - Posted - 02/19/2010:  08:03:45


Good one Dan. I first learned this tune in a slow jam led by Cathy Fink. The Buzzard's version moves along really nice, thanks for posting it.

prtidwell - Posted - 02/19/2010:  08:24:06


My first tune also! This is definately my "best" tune. Every time I learn a new lick or scale-run I invariably find a way to work it into Spotted Pony. My parents, roommate and girlfriend all know this one quite well too

Interesting note about it also being called Snowshoe. Mike Snider plays a tune called Snowshoe(s) that I've always thought sounded very similar to Spotted Pony. I'd love to know more about this tune too. I play it so much, it deserves a story!

WildJimbo - Posted - 02/19/2010:  09:04:04


I learned this tune years and years ago as a 3-finger piece back when I was learning fiddle-tunes for bluegrass banjo. I never really bothered with it much until recently I stumbled across it sitting and noodling in D. I then had to make my brain work to even remember the name of the tune.

It will, however, from this point on, be one - if not the first - D tune I show to students.

J-Walk - Posted - 02/19/2010:  09:14:55


I found a recording of Snowshoes by Rollie Hammon. It's from an old out-of-print album (from 1985?) called "Seems Like Romance To Me - Traditional Fiddle Tunes from Ohio."

If you'd like to hear it, here's an MP3:
j-walk.com/Snowshoes-Rollie_Hammon.mp3

Feo - Posted - 02/19/2010:  09:47:18


This is the version of Spotted Pony that Ive always heard at dulcimer jams and I always figured it must be a dulcimer-ization of Spotted Pony ..... but it seems that y'all are playing that version too and you ain't even dulcimer players.....hhhmm, maybe mine is one of them Missouri versions .... yeah, I think they have an A-version for every tune in MO. !!

prtidwell - Posted - 02/19/2010:  09:55:17


Snowshoes by Ronnie Hammon is the definately the same tune Mike Snider plays... which sounds like the same tune as Spotted Pony, just phrased differently? Like an eastern compared to a western dialect maybe?

jamesd - Posted - 02/19/2010:  10:25:47


Well, I had to go find my copy of "Clawhammer From Scratch" and pull this one out again. This was the first tune I learned as a beginner. I had not gotten it down as I should have because there were 11 other tunes to learn....

Today it actually sounds good (to my ears)...

Dan, thanks for choosing this tune for this weeks tune. I am looking forward to all the different versions here.... It is a lively and fun tune.

James





BANJOJUDY - Posted - 02/19/2010:  16:52:03


I love Spotted Pony. It is a really popular piece in ABQ - easy to play and a great starter piece for those getting into d tuning.

Dan - did you find your earpiece, and if so, where?

Judy


Edited by - BANJOJUDY on 02/19/2010 18:08:53

olbap - Posted - 02/20/2010:  04:59:07


great. I'll give the link to my fiddler ! bye

handsup8 - Posted - 02/20/2010:  05:43:50


The contradance folks up here in Vermont seem to play this with the "coarse/low" part first, whereas the oldtime folks up here tend to play the fine part first. I like the fine part first; for me it establishes the grain for the "walk up" to cut against.

Tamarack - Posted - 02/20/2010:  06:24:47


Thanks Dan! Spotted Pony has been imprinted in my brain since I heard Leo Kretzner's dulcimer version in the early 80s. It has eluded me on the banjo -- perhaps I am over-playing it with a rapid series of hammers, pulls, and dropped thumbs. A family member is using a Wii Fit in the next room -- I think I'll go hide in the basement and give Spotted Pony another try.

pernicketylad - Posted - 02/20/2010:  16:16:41


Really enjoyed that Dan.
Hope all is well with yourself and Jennifer.

P.S. The help you gave me with my right hand is definitely paying off........a work in progress but definitely getting there. Won't make Clifftop this year but hope to make it in 2011.
All the best,
Shane.

Clawdan - Posted - 02/21/2010:  08:05:49


Hey Shane!
Great to hear from you. Glad you are making progress. A little secret to all of you. It is ALWAYS a work in progress. For me too. Keeps me going working to get better all the time.

We won't make Clifftop this year either. Teachin in Texas that weekend. I'll post details in another thread. Cheers!

play nice,
dan

madkelt2004 - Posted - 02/21/2010:  09:47:09


[quote]Originally posted by ZEPP

A classic, indeed. I have used it for decades as the first 2D tune I teach.

Incidentally, I learnt it t'other way 'round, i.e., what I play now as a B part I originally learned as the A part; I changed because the locals here play it "backwards." Anyone else play it with the parts reversed, i.e. fine then coarse?

Second tune I learned from Dan, Forked Deer being the first!
Thanks, Dan! And say "Howdy" Jennifer!
Tweaked it at a workshop with Mark Johnson, B part then A part.

pernicketylad - Posted - 02/21/2010:  13:39:44


Well at least I won't be missing yourself and Jennifer Dan........if nobody went I wouldn't miss a thing but I don't think I'll get too many volunteers.

oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 02/21/2010:  16:10:59


I have no clear history of SP either but there are a lot of similar tunes that I tend to refer to as the "Whiskey Before Breakfast" family, since that was the most popular of a rather large bunch back in the 1970s. Consequently, with absolutely no research I assume it to be related to "The Grand Hornpipe" and of British Isles origin. Like "Soldier' Joy" many hornpipes have turned into reels, especialy but not entirely in North America.

rendesvous1840 - Posted - 02/21/2010:  18:36:48


I learned it on mt. dulcimer some time back, but never really tried to play it on banjo. Until last Friday night. I went to jam with a friend who happens to be learning from one of Dan's books, and Spotted Ppony is one he's working on.I attempted to keep up, so I guess I better aughta learn it propper. It seems to be calling out to me,as it's showed up twice in 3 days.
Paul

Clawdan - Posted - 03/25/2010:  09:59:57


As promised here is a solo recording of Spotted Pony. Recorded on a Jason Burns Tubaphone with an Audio Tech 2020 USB mic. banjohangout.org/myhangout/med...archived=
Enjoy and...
Play Nice,
Dan

arnie - Posted - 03/25/2010:  18:49:54


I think I learned this tune years ago with inspiration for your buddy Mr. Carlin. It's still really a lot of fun to play on the banjo, and it's a regular jam tune wherever I go.

J-Walk - Posted - 03/25/2010:  19:11:33


Man, that banjo sounds great Dan.

Wish I had more time to play it in Aho.

J-Walk - Posted - 03/25/2010:  19:25:08


BTW, here's that banjo:

burnsrepair.com/Banjo%20Gallery%2014.html

robertsart - Posted - 03/25/2010:  19:46:54


I first learned this tune years ago, off a CD from a great player that doesn't get a lot of mention on the Hangout...

Mark Schatz is better know as a bass player (for everyone, from John Hartford to Nickel Creek) but he is also a GREAT clawhammer player. He does Spotted Pony in a medley with Sally in the Garden (one of my favorite versions of that tune) and Soldier's Joy. The CD is called "Brand New Old Tyme Way" and it's on Rounder Records.

Scott Roberts
oldgroove.com

Clawdan - Posted - 03/25/2010:  20:35:07


quote:
Originally posted by J-Walk

Man, that banjo sounds great Dan.

Wish I had more time to play it in Aho.




Come to Salome next month.

Bisbonian - Posted - 03/25/2010:  22:07:30


Ajo. Salome. You get to go to all the fun places.

For some reason, I still haven't learned this! (And I have loaned out your book).

Edit: Never mind...just figured it out. J-Walk, I'll have it down by the next time I see you.


Edited by - Bisbonian on 03/25/2010 22:09:50

Clawdan - Posted - 03/26/2010:  05:29:30


quote:
Originally posted by Bisbonian

Ajo. Salome. You get to go to all the fun places.

For some reason, I still haven't learned this! (And I have loaned out your book).

Edit: Never mind...just figured it out. J-Walk, I'll have it down by the next time I see you.



Was up around Cottonwood last weekend. I love to go where the fiddlers are. Camping out, fiddle and banjo, me and the mrs., tunes for all...

Big Dan - Posted - 03/26/2010:  21:32:46


Yep, it's a great version, alright. I'd love to play like that. The other day I was playing just like that. But then the alarm clock went off...

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