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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 10/22/2010: Down at the Mouth of Old Stinson

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:

ScottK - Posted - 10/22/2010:  00:31:12

Hi All,

After wormpicker posted that great video of Big Hoedown from the Tucson jam a week ago (with J-Walk on banjo) I thought I would make that tune my TOTW. I've followed it in jams a couple of times and really like it, so it was on my "to learn" list already. But alas, I got busy this week and also caught a cold and didn't have time to learn it. So I'll have to leave that one to somebody else. Great tune, though!

So, given my busy week, I had to fall back on a tune I already know. When I finally sat down with my banjo this evening, it just gravitated to "Down at the Mouth of Old Stinson". This is a tune I first heard at the Oly Old Time Festival last year in a jam around 1:00am. I didn't quite catch it on the fly, so went back later to the Centralia Parlor Pickers web site and learned it from the recording posted there.

For this TOTW post I looked it up on The Fiddler's Companion and found:

DOWN AT THE MOUTH OF OLD STINSON. Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, West Virginia. D Major. Standard tuning. AB. John Hartford notes that the area around Stinson Creek in Calhoun County, West Virginia, was at one time a very rough place and best avoided (although it was near Old Laury Hick’s place, where Wilson Douglas used to hear the regionally famous fiddler Ed Haley play). Gerry Milnes reports that source Douglas placed the tune at the Mouth of Stinson Creek in Clay County, and recalled that there was a picnic attended by the ‘woodhicks’ there during which part of the entertainment was a wrestling match. Something went amiss and one of the participants was severely injured and died the next day. This ‘crooked’ tune is supposed to reflect the sadness of the event. Marimac AHS#1, Wilson Douglas. Rounder 0392, John Hartford - “Wild Hog in the Red Brush (and a Bunch of Others You Might Not Have Heard) {1996}. Shanachie Records 6040, Gerry Milnes & Lorriane Lee Hammond – “Hell Up Coal Holler” (1999. Learned from West Virginia fiddler Wilson Douglas).

That John hartford Wild Hog in the Red Brush is a great recording, but I like the version of Down at the Mouth of Old Stinson from the Centralia Parlor Pickers web site better.

Anyway, I posted a quick & dirty recording of my banjo version to my BHO music page. Didn't have time to write up any tab for it. I play it in D with the banjo in aDADE. It's a fun tune to play.

All for now, Scott

bagunhe - Posted - 10/22/2010:  01:31:22

Originally posted by ScottK
That John hartford Wild Hog in the Red Brush is a great recording, but I like the version of Down at the Mouth of Old Stinson from the Centralia Parlor Pickers web site better.

Great tune, Scott!
It sounds like John Hartford's version is based on Wilson Douglas' and the one in the Centralia Parlor Pickers web site is from French Carpenter.

mojo_monk - Posted - 10/22/2010:  06:08:55

Great tune.

French Carpenter:

Wilson Douglas:


vrteach - Posted - 10/22/2010:  07:38:01

New tune to me. Good one, too.

ScottK - Posted - 10/22/2010:  10:27:06

Hey Bosco and Sean,

Thanks for the info and recordings of the Wilson Douglas and French Carpenter versions! I hadn't been aware of the French Carpenter version and hadn't heard either of those recordings.


cashwo_wv - Posted - 10/22/2010:  16:57:19

great tune. kim johnson released a cd last year called keepers and it has her and wilson playing it.

Tamarack - Posted - 10/23/2010:  06:27:57

Great tune with a great (albeit dark and tragic) story attached.

I like the not-quite-modal character of it (can I say quasi-modal?)

ramjo - Posted - 10/24/2010:  06:54:18

Good call on this TOTW. I really like your playing on that one Scott and the nice bubbly sound on the recording. Thanks for pointing me back to the "Wild Hog in the Red Brush" album too. Lately when I listen to John Hartford string band music, I tend to put on "The Speed of the Old Long Bow." But I've had the Hog on in my car the past couple of days--which, of course, also led me to revisit "The Fun of Open Discussion." So, for me, this tune of the week has swirled up some sweet music dust around my ears. Thanks again!

Bill - Posted - 10/24/2010:  09:34:18

Great choice, and really well played, Scott.

Here's my version, played at a slower tempo (I'm just naturally a slow guy -- my research career involved a lot of microsurgery) and in double C because a capo wasn't handy (no fiddles at my house).

I learned this from Dave Bing, whose A part I use throughout. I alternate B parts between one similar to Dave's and one similar one used by Diane Jones. Dave's is similar to French Carpenter's version and Diane's is similar to the one by Wilson Douglas. I like the shift in emphasis in the second phrase of the A part. It makes my foot stop tapping for a moment.


LyleK - Posted - 10/27/2010:  04:54:21

Nice one! I went ahead and did a tab, which is at


Note: this is from the "abc" version at Fiddler's Companion

Edited by - LyleK on 10/27/2010 04:56:00

banjoannie - Posted - 10/27/2010:  08:06:04

Thanks LyleK I needed that !!!!!!!!!

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