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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 3/9/2012 - Big Sweet Taters in Sandy Land


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/230674

ScottK - Posted - 03/08/2012:  21:52:57



Hi All,



Since I just received a Clyde Davenport Action Figure as a gift last weekend (you can read about that and see a photo over on R.D.’s Are we losing the human element? topic), I thought I’d pick a Clyde Davenport tune for my TOTW this time.



I first learned Big Sweet Taters in Sandy Land from my fiddle buddy Clint Gorthy.  He picked it up in the string band class led here in Portland by Sophie Vitells and Maggie and Patrick Lind.  It comes from the playing of Clyde Davenport as recorded by Jeff Todd Titon in his book Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes.   You can hear Clyde playing it over at Larry Warren’s newish Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes page on his slippery-hill.com web site. 



I made a quick recording tonight of me playing it on banjo and posted it to my BHO music page.  I didn’t have time to write out a tab for it, but there’s a good YouTube video by FukadaBanjo that should be easy to follow if you need a little help learning it.  One of my favorite recordings of this tune is by Beverly Smith and Carl Jones on their Somewhere Over Yonder CD.



This tune is crooked, but it’s a really great jam tune.  You definitely want to get all your fiddle buddy’s to learn it! 



Cheers, Scott


jbritt - Posted - 03/09/2012:  06:37:54



This is a great tune!  Even animated bugs like it jam to it.

 


strokestyle - Posted - 03/09/2012:  07:30:09



Jbritt now that's the kind of video keeps me captivated and it's not Saturday Morning! Good tune there Scott!


J-Walk - Posted - 03/09/2012:  07:59:24



Good tune. I think it has lots of regional variations.



From Fiddler's Companion:



GREAT BIG TATER(S) IN SANDY LAND. AKA - "Great Big Taters." AKA and see "Sandyland," "Better Quit Kickin My Dog Around," "Sail Away Ladies." Old-Time, Breakdown. USA; Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi. A Major: G Major (W.E. Claunch, Kuntz, Sweet). AEAE or Standard. ABB (Rankin): ABB' (Phillips/Wills): AABB' (Sweet): AABBCC (Phillips/Eck Robertson). The melody is directly related to "Sail Away Ladies" (and thus to "Sally Ann") and some indicate it is merely a variant of that tune, though the title "Great Big Taters" and its variations is considerably disseminated in the South and Old Southwest. Arizona fiddler Kenner C. Kartchner knew a tune by this title in the very odd key of C Major (for this kind of tune), which he learned from Frank Pruitt, about 1900. The title was one of those in a list of traditional Ozark Mountain fiddle tunes compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, published in 1954, and it was mentioned in an article entitled "Fiddler's Jubilee" in the Fayette Banner (Fayette County, Alabama) of January 2, 1908 (Cauthen, 1990). 

hendrid - Posted - 03/09/2012:  08:51:33



Great tune. Bunch of names variations for this tune and variations on youtube.com. See also Sail Away Ladies and Sally Ann, Bob wills and such.



ibiblio.com fiddlers companion has quite a bit of information on this one and its different names.

BIG SWEET TATERS IN SANDY LAND. AKA and see "Great Big Tater(s) in Sandy Land," "Sally Ann [3]."

GREAT BIG TATER(S) IN SANDY LAND. AKA - "Great Big Taters." AKA and see "Sandyland," “Sandy Land,” "Better Quit Kickin My Dog Around," “Grease that Wooden Leg, Sally Ann,” "Sail Away Ladies."

BIG TATERS IN THE SANDY LAND. See "Great Big Tater(s) in Sandy Land." In the repertoire of Texas fiddler Bob Wills under this title.



I like this one:       youtube.com/watch?v=EOokRkVEE_A

 



Interesting stories and some lyrics:

Thede says the Henry Hilderbrand referred to in the lyrics that she collected with the Oklahoma version given in her book was a farmer who lived near West Plains, Missouri, and that Eli was a mule.

***

Great big tater in the sandy land,

Plow it up Henry Hilderbrand;

Great big tater in the sandy land,

Git there Eli of you can. (Thede)

***

Great big taters in sandy land,

We‑all dig 'em out as fast as we can.

The folds all buy 'em from a foolish man,

Raisin' great big taters in sandy land.

***

Sow them oats, but you can't get a stand,

Corn won't grow in that sandy land.

Folks won't think you're much of a man,

If you can't make a livin' on sandy land. (Ford)

***

Sift the meal and save the bran,

Goodby gals I'm goin' in

Raise big taters in sandy land,

Raise big taters in sandy land. (W.E. Claunch)



Edited by - hendrid on 03/09/2012 09:02:12

janolov - Posted - 03/11/2012:  07:24:27



The tune give some associations with Sail Away Ladies and the G version of Sally Ann. The notation giving in Fiddler's Companion and the youtube version linked by Hendrid seem to be very close to Sail Away and Sally Ann, while the Davenport version seem to be more independent.


hendrid - Posted - 03/12/2012:  07:48:58


Note that the Fiddlers Fakebook has Great Big Taters in Sandy Land in the key of A, three versions of Sail Away Ladies in G and two versions of Sally Ann in D and one in G. Don

ScottK - Posted - 03/12/2012:  16:58:32





The tune give some associations with Sail Away Ladies and the G version of Sally Ann. The notation giving in Fiddler's Companion and the youtube version linked by Hendrid seem to be very close to Sail Away and Sally Ann, while the Davenport version seem to be more independent. 





Janolov, that's my take on it as well.  Around here folk play both the Davenport version as well as versions closer Sally Ann/Sail Away Ladies and tend to treat them as distinct tunes.  I like both versions.



Scott


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