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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 3/2/2012 - Shady Grove


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/230200

SCclawman - Posted - 03/03/2012:  08:28:00



I couldn't believe when I saw that Shady Grove had NOT been a TOTW yet, so I am jumping at the change to share and learn more about one of the best old time songs that is out there.



As far as the title of the song - is it a place? is it a person? I say both, and that seems to be an answer that I saw repeated throughout some brief research on the web. Reading the lyrics to the song, it seems that is the case.



​Peaches in the summertime, apples in the fall

If I can't have my Shady Grove, I'll have no one at all

Shady Grove, my little love, Shady Grove I know


Shady Grove, my little love, I'm bound for the Shady Grove.



From Miles Krassen's Clawhammer banjo book - "This is one of the best known modal tunes in the Appalachian Mountains. In recent years (book was written in 1974), it has become popular among more urban audiences due to many popular recordings." His version comes from Oscar Wright and the Myers brothers, is "more representative of the appalchain playing than the more common versions because of the rarely recorded high part." Our very own blanham recorded his take from the book, and it's hard to beat his smooth playing.



Also, one interesting note is the relation to the song Mattie Groves. The melodies are very similar in places. Mattie Groves is an old english ballad from around the 1600's. I could be totally wrong here, but it seems that part of the Shady Grove melody has come from this song? One thing I had a hard time finding is the origins of the songs i.e date and place. It seems that it originated in the north carolina mountains, but I'm not sure when. I'd love to hear the input from those of you are much more knowledgeable than me in that area!



​Now, I am by no means an old time music expert, and I can't wait to learn from all the knowledge here on the hangout. It seems to me that there are about 300 verses to this song, and about 20 different variations/versions. There is one specific melody of Shady Grove that I know and play, but I know that there are different variations on the melody. 



It appears that over 100 artists have recorded this song, and there are probably too many to count.



One of my favorites is by Tony Rice - obviously no banjo in this version, but I love the way that he plays this song.

Also be sure to check out the version by Tony Rice, David Grisman, and Jerry Garcia on the pizza tapes. HOLY COW!



Now for some banjo versions



First one of the most legendary (in my mind) performances is Doc Watson - the banjo throughout this version is mesmerizing. 



BHO's own Mark Johnson - Incredible video of his arrangement



Mr. Zepp has about 100 versions on his own from when he did his Shady Grove series on a bunch of different banjos. Here's one of my favorites from him on a Cedar Mountain banjo which just happens to be my dream banjo



Here is a 2 finger up-picking version from janalov



I have also uploaded my take as well and have attached it on the thread. I hope you will enjoy it!



I'd love to see you guys and gals post your own versions for us to listen to. It would make my day!



 



Edited by - SCclawman on 03/03/2012 08:30:08



Shady Grove

   

cherbr - Posted - 03/03/2012:  08:43:30


Very nice. ☺

alubin - Posted - 03/03/2012:  08:48:12



Here's one of my youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv...LPCN2hKXjA">favorite versions, by Lee Sexton. It's a really haunting take on the song that's played out of Cumberland Gap tuning (fDGBD) 2-finger style.


f#dead - Posted - 03/03/2012:  08:49:07



I love your take, tune and tone.  Well done.  thnx


ndlxs - Posted - 03/03/2012:  09:20:39



Pierce Pettis wrote some great words to it on a recent album; doesn't seem to be on The You Tube, though.



 



Andy Alexis


mulepacker - Posted - 03/03/2012:  09:45:49



Awesome post. I play lots of different kinds of music on the banjo besides OT, but Shady Grove floats my boat best. I have yet to make it my own with either 2 finger or Clawhammer. This may have been the post that spurs me on. Love that song. Gotta get to it. Thanks again.


mulepacker - Posted - 03/03/2012:  09:45:53



Awesome post. I play lots of different kinds of music on the banjo besides OT, but Shady Grove floats my boat best. I have yet to make it my own with either 2 finger or Clawhammer. This may have been the post that spurs me on. Love that song. Gotta get to it. Thanks again.


jamesd - Posted - 03/03/2012:  10:02:15



Clawman, this is a wonderful tune you selected.  All the versions you posted are interesting.  I always have believed that this tune is one of the best.  Thanks....


SCclawman - Posted - 03/03/2012:  11:52:23



quote:


Originally posted by mulepacker




Awesome post. I play lots of different kinds of music on the banjo besides OT, but Shady Grove floats my boat best. I have yet to make it my own with either 2 finger or Clawhammer. This may have been the post that spurs me on. Love that song. Gotta get to it. Thanks again.






mulepacker, now is the time! go get to it, record it, and let us hear! I agree, shady grove floats my boat the best too...



 



quote:


Originally posted by f#dead




I love your take, tune and tone.  Well done.  thnx






THANK YOU F#dead


 



Edited by - SCclawman on 03/03/2012 11:54:49

SCclawman - Posted - 03/03/2012:  11:56:48



quote:


Originally posted by ndlxs




Pierce Pettis wrote some great words to it on a recent album; doesn't seem to be on The You Tube, though.



 



Andy Alexis






Andy, thanks for the pierce pettis heads up...he's an incredible songwriter..very neat version...you can download it from amazon here for those interested in checking it out


R.D. Lunceford - Posted - 03/03/2012:  12:48:09



This is my all-time favorite version:



youtube.com/watch?v=b-kaG1NuLZ...e=related



I had it on a double LP set called "The Essential Doc Watson"  when I was a teenager.



I'd throw it on the turntable and play it about 20 times in a row until my Dad told me to stop playing it.


Marc Nerenberg - Posted - 03/03/2012:  14:23:29



I too am amazed this song/tune had not been featured already in a TOTW. Excellent thread - and Mr. SCclawman, I really like your version - including its very tasteful and interesting use of a few extra chords thrown in there.


mworden - Posted - 03/03/2012:  15:08:39



I really love the version of this tune that Laura Boosinger does on the "Return to Cold Mountain" album.


H Kimball - Posted - 03/03/2012:  15:46:42



RD - Thanks for posting the Doc Watson version, my favorite!  Before I ever heard Doc's version I remember hearing Charlene sing Shady Grove on the Andy Griffith Show. youtube.com/watch?v=W2nEgYiqQUk.  This is not my favorite version but I'll have to give the Dillards (and Andy Griffith) credit for familiarizing many folks with the tune.   


mojo_monk - Posted - 03/03/2012:  16:09:44



While variants of the melody date back as early as the 17th century (1786 in the US in Henry Beck's Flute Book), it was first collected in the S. Mountains in 1905 by E.C. (Eber Carl) Perrow "from mountain whites; east Tennessee." Here are the lyrics he published in his monumental "Songs and Rhymes From the South":



Once I wus a little boy

Playin' in the san';

Now I am a great big boy

En think myself a man.



CHORUS:



Shady, shady, my little love,

Shady I do know;

Shady, shady, my little love,

I'm boun' fer shady grove.



When I wus a little boy,

All I wanted a knife;

Now I am a gret big boy

En now I want a wife.



Some come here to fiddle en dance;

Some come here to tarry;

Some come here to fiddle en dance;

I come here to marry.



Ev'ry night when I go home,

My wife I try to please her;

The more I try, the worse she gets;

Damned if I don't leave her!



The first recording was made in 1927 by the Kentucky Thorobreds (Doc Roberts f., Ted Chestnut b.&v., & Dick Parman g.&v.). I'm in the camp with folks who think the British ballad Matty (Mathie) Groves and Shady Grove are unrelated other than in name. They definitely co-existed at the time of Shady Grove's composition somewhere in the neighborhood of Tennessee or Kentucky back in the early 1800s, but Matty Groves was popular enough in the region that it wouldn't have been supplanted by a "new" song...



Either way, this is one of my favorite songs/melodies and maybe the second piece I learned to play on the banjo. These days I'm specially fond of the one from Lee Sexton as linked above. Good pick!



 



-Sean



Edited by - mojo_monk on 03/03/2012 16:10:26

J-Walk - Posted - 03/03/2012:  16:10:57



All Music lists 515 recording of this tune/song:



allmusic.com/search/track/Shad...fault-asc



I'm sure it missed at least 500 others..



 


oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 03/03/2012:  16:22:24



THE first recording I ever heard of Mattie Groves (Child Ballad: Lady Barnard and the Little Musgrave) that used the melody of Shady Grove was by a British folk rock band (name forgotten) featuring Dave Swarbrick on fiddle and the late Sandy Denny as lead vocalist. That was the album Leige and Leif from roughly 1970.



Every version of the Little Musgrave, collected in the field with a melody, in either Britain or the US had a different tune than Shady Grove. According to people I've talked to, Sandy Denny might have been the one to first combine the two, before she joined the folk rock group, but she only recorded it with them.



I strongly suspect Sandy Denny to be the only real connection between the two songs


Marc Nerenberg - Posted - 03/03/2012:  17:39:42



quote:


Originally posted by oldwoodchuckb




THE first recording I ever heard of Mattie Groves (Child Ballad: Lady Barnard and the Little Musgrave) that used the melody of Shady Grove was by a British folk rock band (name forgotten) featuring Dave Swarbrick on fiddle and the late Sandy Denny as lead vocalist. That was the album Leige and Leif from roughly 1970.



Every version of the Little Musgrave, collected in the field with a melody, in either Britain or the US had a different tune than Shady Grove. According to people I've talked to, Sandy Denny might have been the one to first combine the two, before she joined the folk rock group, but she only recorded it with them.



I strongly suspect Sandy Denny to be the only real connection between the two songs






I think the band was Fairport Convention.



I agree with you that their version is the origin of the joining of the two songs.


J-Walk - Posted - 03/03/2012:  19:37:57



Definitely Fairport Convention. I listened to Liege and Lief a million times when I was young.



youtu.be/1it7BP5PckI


oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 03/03/2012:  21:11:08



Fairport Convention - I knew it was right off the tip of my tongue. I must be getting the oldtimers.



One of the most obvious clues that the Little Musgrave song was made on a different melody is the changes that had to be worked in the lyrics to make it fit into the Shady Grove melody. Still it was a Bi*chin' good version of the song, and the Tam Lin from that same album is a classic.



For the most part I preferred Steeleye Span for British folk rock, although as they went on it seems like the rock got more and more simplistic and headbangy. When they added a drummer I started losing interest. The band needed a real percussionist but hired a straight up hard rock type who forced them to abandon all the wonderful rhythms of their early days



I just listened to a bit of that Little Musgrave track from Leige and Leif. I had forgotten how bad the electric fiddle sounded on that recording. Sound equipment and micing have come a loooong way since those ancient times. It sounds as if Swarbrick is playing a 10 dollar fiddle in a tile bathroom on that recording.



Edited by - oldwoodchuckb on 03/03/2012 21:16:59

Randy Adams - Posted - 03/04/2012:  05:22:34



quote:


Originally posted by alubin




Here's one of my youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv...LPCN2hKXjA">favorite versions, by Lee Sexton. It's a really haunting take on the song that's played out of Cumberland Gap tuning (fDGBD) 2-finger style.






One of my fav versions to play also alubin! I play it in open C but tuned down to A or thereabouts. I also like to play John Salyers Shady Grove but I can't find an mp3 of it right now. I play them both here.



youtube.com/watch?v=O6sV0dfYzAk


Don Borchelt - Posted - 03/04/2012:  14:15:34



I lrecently earned this squirrely version of Shady Grove from Phil MacArthur, a brilliant clawhammer picker from Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He drops in occasionally for the Monday night old time jam at Sandy's Music.  Phil's version is loosely based on Bruce Molsky's banjo version, which is based in turn, it sounds to me, on Wade Ward, but Phil makes some subtle changes that really make this unique and compelling. The banjo is tuned to G Variant (gDGAD), with the capo on the second fret.  



- Don Borchelt



Edited by - Don Borchelt on 03/04/2012 14:17:18



VIDEO: Phil MacArthur's Shady Grove
(click to view)

   

Don Borchelt - Posted - 03/04/2012:  15:00:05



Oops, typo.  Supposed to read "I recently learned..."  I guess I should have looked at it.



 


majikgator - Posted - 03/04/2012:  15:05:01



Well you did earn it if you learned it i guess Don. It is pretty hard to believe Shady Grove had never been a TOTW, well that omislon corrected, thanks.


blockader - Posted - 03/04/2012:  15:28:56



this was the first thing i learned on the banjo. the melody was already ingrained in my memory, i just had to make it come out of my hands. its a great song, i'll try and record my take tomorrow if i get a chance. i've enjoyed everyone elses so far!



-justin


C Nyal de Kaye - Posted - 03/04/2012:  15:59:50



Lovely piece and well played too.



We all seem to agree that this is one of the great old time modal tunes.


steelhead - Posted - 03/04/2012:  18:54:37



One of my favorite versions is The Chieftains with Tim O'brien on mandolin......sorry no banjo.  Here's the url.



youtube.com/watch?v=Jw5Knvdtutk



I guess you'll have to copy and paste it.



Hey RD, any idea what tuning Doc used on his version?  It seems like he's playing in D# or Eb, however you want to call it.  I tuned to gCGCD# (basically Cm) and bumped it up three frets and got close but just not sure that I have the  tuning right.  I love his version because it falls within a good range for my voice.


Don Borchelt - Posted - 03/05/2012:  05:21:33



Here is the direct link to the Chieftains:



youtube.com/watch?v=Jw5Knvdtutk


SCclawman - Posted - 03/05/2012:  06:19:07



quote:


Originally posted by Marc Nerenberg




I too am amazed this song/tune had not been featured already in a TOTW. Excellent thread - and Mr. SCclawman, I really like your version - including its very tasteful and interesting use of a few extra chords thrown in there.






 Thanks Marc! Those chords just kind of happened when I was playing around with it. It's always nice to stumble on to something and then find a way to make it work. 



Don, thanks for sharing your version! I really enjoyed it, as always.



R.D - great minds must think alike - that's the same Doc Watson version that I originally posted. smiley I love that version. I wish I had it on vinyl, b/c I would spin it all the time as well. I'm actually going to try to track down a used copy of that right now.



Steelhead - I don't think you could ever go wrong with the Cheiftains and Tim O'Brien. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the link Don.



Justin - please share your version. I would love to hear it for sure!



Randy - thanks for sharing your version as well! I have always loved your videos.



So, we are at 515 versions and counting! Looking forward to hearing lots more. Thanks for all of the feedback and info from all of you on the song. This has been a fun TOTW to be a part of!



 


mbuk06 - Posted - 03/05/2012:  06:21:02



Another great TOTW thread. Shady Grove is a song that really gets under your skin. Makes me want to go find a version of 'Mattie Groves' and 'Little Musgrave' to listen to now.


blockader - Posted - 03/05/2012:  11:45:16



alright, heres a bit of how i do it. one take, a bit quick and dirty as we have a newborn and i have pretty limited time right now. threw in a few of the verses i sing that i altered up to suit myself. you can't really hear them so great, i need another mic or to figure out how to record vocs separately.



-justin



a kiss from pretty little shady grove



sweet as brandywine



and ain't no whiskey in this world



as good as shady's shine.




Shady Grove TOTW

   

SCclawman - Posted - 03/05/2012:  14:16:47



well played justin! well played.



enjoyed the singing too! that was great!


sbryan - Posted - 03/06/2012:  11:35:18



Sweet.


mwc9725e - Posted - 03/06/2012:  12:22:06



quote:


Originally posted by blockader




alright, heres a bit of how i do it. one take, a bit quick and dirty as we have a newborn and i have pretty limited time right now. threw in a few of the verses i sing that i altered up to suit myself. you can't really hear them so great, i need another mic or to figure out how to record vocs separately.



-justin



a kiss from pretty little shady grove



sweet as brandywine



and ain't no whiskey in this world



as good as shady's shine.






 Loved it, Justin, it has a genuine old time feel to it.


manomusic - Posted - 03/06/2012:  16:40:39


That Tim O'Brien version had the hairs up on the back of my neck.

I play this on our jam nights and learnt it off of Zepp's recordings.
Now have to learn Don's version to really cap it off :)

It's great how you can go to youtube to see a video and then find
other great renditions of old tunes.

Check out pentangle's version of House Carpenter.
I know it's already been done as TOTW but worth a look

youtube.com/watch?v=-4jXfMEu1YY

Don Borchelt - Posted - 03/07/2012:  06:22:13



Okay, I got another one.  This unusual version of Shady Grove comes from the legendary western Virginia fiddler Henry Reed, whose repertoire reached back before the Civil War. Reed's A fine part sounds much like the melody of several Appalachian ballads, including Georgie, and some versions of Gypsy Davey. My banjo is tuned in G Variant tuning (gDGAD), capoed on the second fret.





Henry Reed (1884 - 1969)




VIDEO: Henry Reed's Shady Grove
(click to view)

   

blanham - Posted - 03/09/2012:  13:49:45



Speaking of the Henry Reed version of Shady Grove, one of favorite recordings is on the album "Hollow Rock Legacy."  It's a great double CD to have.  As Alan mentions on his web site, "there is no

better collection anywhere of the oldtime banjo playing of Tommy Thompson, who passed away in 2003.
"



alanjabbour.com/shop.html



 



 


ScottK - Posted - 03/09/2012:  16:20:32



Great picking, all!  Really enjoying all the versions posted so far!



Yet another version that's popular around here is Kilby Snow's version.  You can hear a sample of that on the Smithsonian Folkways page for his Country Songs and Tunes with Autoharp album.



Scott


ZEPP - Posted - 03/09/2012:  18:28:24



quote:


Originally posted by ScottK




Yet another version that's popular around here is Kilby Snow's version.  You can hear a sample of that on the Smithsonian Folkways page for his Country Songs and Tunes with Autoharp album.



 






And here on banjo in a recording I did in 2003.



Cheers,

ZEPP



Edited by - ZEPP on 03/09/2012 18:31:03

Don Borchelt - Posted - 03/10/2012:  06:33:32



...then there is the version of Shady Grove that West Virginia fiddler Melvin Wine played.  A lot of us who go to Tim Rowell's bi-weekly old time jam at the Real School of Music in Burlington, Massachusetts learned this from fiddler Adrienne Howard, who learned it directly from Mr. Wine. Attached is my setting; the banjo is in G Variant tuning, capoed on the 2nd fret.





Melvin Wine (1909 - 2003)



- Don Borchelt



Edited by - Don Borchelt on 03/10/2012 06:34:47

Don Borchelt - Posted - 03/10/2012:  06:57:15



Here's my video of Melvin Wine's Shady Grove:




VIDEO: Melvin Wine's Shady Grove (New Orleans)
(click to view)

   

SCclawman - Posted - 03/11/2012:  01:37:06



quote:


Originally posted by ZEPP




quote:


Originally posted by ScottK





Yet another version that's popular around here is Kilby Snow's version.  You can hear a sample of that on the Smithsonian Folkways page for his Country Songs and Tunes with Autoharp album.



 






And here on banjo in a recording I did in 2003.



Cheers,

ZEPP






 



Wow, that's really neat...thanks for sharing...really enjoyed that.



Don, I enjoyed both of the versions you shared as well...really glad to learn about these versions


janolov - Posted - 03/11/2012:  06:53:38



Little Margaret is a wonderful old ballad that is based on  Shady Grove. Here are a few versions:



Obray Ramsey



Carolina Chocolate Drops



Sheila Kay Adams



 


Califiddler - Posted - 03/11/2012:  07:27:28


I currently play this tune on banjo in G or A modal. But on guitar I play it in Dm, and I have a friend who plays it in Dm on flute.

What banjo tuning do you use to play in Dm/D modal? Is there a D modal banjo tuning?

Don Borchelt - Posted - 03/11/2012:  09:59:24



Califiddler asked: "What banjo tuning do you use to play in Dm/D modal? Is there a D modal banjo tuning?"



I use aDGAD, works basically like sawmill for open D tuning.  Doc Boggs used a similar tuning, but with the 5th string tuned to F#.  He used f#DGAD, and a variant, f#CGAD, the latter allowed him to hammer onto the D (at the 2nd fret) on the 4th string.  Sometimes he was tuned to a different absolute pitch.



Most clawhammer pickers I know just play out of double D, aDADE (or double C up 2).



Edited by - Don Borchelt on 03/11/2012 10:03:23

R.D. Lunceford - Posted - 03/11/2012:  10:51:47



quote:


Originally posted by janolov




Little Margaret is a wonderful old ballad that is based on  Shady Grove. Here are a few versions:



Obray Ramsey



Carolina Chocolate Drops



Sheila Kay Adams



 






 Perhaps this should be a different thread, but I'll interject anyway.....



The above 3 versions are obviously the same/related and are somewhat similar to what was collected from Bascom Lamar Lunsford as published in Pete Seeger's book.



I've heard a few versions of "Lady Margaret", and am always interested as to how she is portrayed in the song.  At times a slighted bride/lover and at other times a malevolent spirit haunting Prince Williams bed chamber on his wedding night.



I've heard a few versions that retain most of what is sung in the above links but add as many as a dozen more verses.  Some of these versions end with the typical "entwined rose and briar in a true-lover's knot" verse common to many old ballads, but also some I've never heard in any other song:



In one version, a verse with Prince William relating a dream he had:



"Such dreams such dreams I do not like



  Such dreams they are not good



I dreamt my hall was full of white swine



 And my hall was full of blood"



That was collected in south Missouri over a hundred years ago, but obviously is centuries older.  The "white swine" allusion dating back to pagan Europe no doubt.


Bisbonian - Posted - 03/13/2012:  09:10:35



quote:


Originally posted by janolov




Little Margaret is a wonderful old ballad that is based on  Shady Grove. Here are a few versions:



Obray Ramsey



Carolina Chocolate Drops



Sheila Kay Adams



 






I've always wondered if that wasn't the other way around...Shady Grove based on Lady Margaret?



Edited by - Bisbonian on 03/13/2012 09:12:28

janolov - Posted - 03/13/2012:  12:24:08



quote:


Originally posted by Bisbonian




quote:


Originally posted by janolov




Little Margaret is a wonderful old ballad that is based on  Shady Grove. Here are a few versions:



Obray Ramsey



Carolina Chocolate Drops



Sheila Kay Adams



 






I've always wondered if that wasn't the other way around...Shady Grove based on Lady Margaret?






 Interesting question. I think you are right. Lady Margaret seems to have been traced back to 1611 (source: Lyle Lovgren). Shady Grove seems to be known from the 1920's (source: Fiddler's Comapnion)


JanetB - Posted - 03/14/2012:  20:30:32



This has been a great post by Travis and everyone who's contributed.  Wish I'd noticed sooner.  Here's Kit's and my contribution.




Shady Grove

   

SCclawman - Posted - 03/15/2012:  04:27:29



quote:


Originally posted by JanetB




This has been a great post by Travis and everyone who's contributed.  Wish I'd noticed sooner.  Here's Kit's and my contribution.






Janet and Kit, thanks for showing up!! smiley That was fantastic...sounded very authentic


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