I’m doing this a day early because I have the time in my schedule right now.
The TOTW this week is the song known as “Whoa Mule” or “Kicking Mule”.
I believe that I first heard this song on Art Rosenbaum’s “Art of the Mountain Banjo” – on vinyl, of course, although I now have it on CD as well. Art uses it to demonstrate the 4 basic styles of old-time banjo: up-picking (Seeger style), downpicking (clawhammer), 2-finger picking and 3-finger picking.
I don’t have a way to link to Art’s version, but if someone else can link it that would be great.
On banjo, it’s usually played in the key of C and in C standard tuning: gCGBD. That’s where Art plays it. I play it in the same key and tuning, pure bum-ditty.
Some versions, like Art’s, have just the I and V chords. Some add the IV chord.
This version, from Tom Paley and Peggy Seeger, sticks to the I and V chords:
Ha! I was pecking around with this tune today. I used to love this song until Raymond Fairchild's hotdog performance intimidated the bejesus out of me. Funny -- meaning no disrespect to an amazing skill -- but I don't even much like his version.