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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 9/21/12 Red Haired Boy - Little Beggarman


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/245486

SCclawman - Posted - 09/21/2012:  08:35:47



Red Haired Boy is my selection for this tune of the week!



This is a well known tune that goes by many other names: Gilderoy, The Old Solider With a Wooden Leg, The Little Beggarman, The Jolly Beggar, The Rigadoo, Johnny Dhu, Injun et a Woodchuck, and a few other odd names popped up here and there.



Here is the link to the fiddler's companion for those who are interested - FIDDLER'S COMPANION



It seems the tune is Irish and Scottish in its origins. "Red Haired Boy is the English translation of the Gaelic title "Giolla Rua" (or, Englished, "Gilderoy"). Another website claims that the name 'Gilderoy' is an English corruption of the Gaelic words 'Giolla Ruaidh'; giolla is generally taken to mean a servant or a young person, while ruaidh literally means red, though when used in conjunction with a person it refers to red hair.



The tune seems to be done traditionally in the key of A, but some in key of G as well.



I like the lyrics to the Soldier with a Wooden Leg version-

There was an old soldier and he had a wooden leg,

He had no tobacco and tobacco he would beg.

Says this old soldier: "Won't you give me a chew?"

Says t'other old soldier: "I'll be darned if I do."  



Here are some lyrics in the Little Beggarman variety - Here is a LINK to the complete lyrics

I am a little beggarman, a begging I have been,

For three score years in this little isle of green;

I'm known along the Liffey from the Basin to the Zoo,

And everybody calls me by the name of Johnny Dhu.



Now for some BHO versions. There are no shortage of awesome versions out there.

Here's Janet B playin and a singin - LINK

Jim Reed at his best - LINK

Mark Johnson's perfect clawhammer - LINK

Dave Hum's nice arrangement - LINK

Rick Hayes nice Irish feel - LINK



Here is a really neat version by the Clancy brothers and Tommy Makem - LINK



There was a nice "Post-a-thon" In the sound off forum in July that you can read and check out here - LINK



I came across one story that I found really interesting. You may remember Daniel Pearl - the American journalist who was kidnapped and then killed in 2002. Danny was a bluegrass and old-time fiddler and apparently "Red Haired Boy" was his favorite fiddle tune. There seems to be a group of people, at least back in mid 2000's after he was killed, that have renamed this song Danny Pearl's favorite. I'm not sure if that name still has any traction, but I thought it was an interesting story. Have any of you ever heard this song go by that name in any jams recently?



Finally, I've attached the version that I recorded a few months ago. I had hoped to record something new or maybe a video, but I honestly haven't picked up a banjo in the past 2 weeks but about one time. That's one thing I need to fix real soon!  



Chime in with your thoughts on the song. I'd love to hear some new versions posted to the hangout.



 



**edited to add my attachment which i forgot the first time! Thanks Janet!



Edited by - SCclawman on 09/21/2012 15:04:51



Red Haired Boy

   

Couchie - Posted - 09/21/2012:  09:05:09



Here is my take on it.



 



Don Couchie.




VIDEO: Red Haired Boy (Little Beggerman)
(click to view)

   

blockader - Posted - 09/21/2012:  10:45:29



Holy of Holies, both children asleep simultaneously so i can actually record something for TOTW!



This isn't one i play a lot but its a good one. Its especially nice to know for when you find yourself amongst bluegrassers.



Heres a quick and dirty of how i play it, more or less.



-justin




Red Haired Boy TOTW

   

vrteach - Posted - 09/21/2012:  11:50:52



Fine, and popular, tune. I've got a version in G at: vrteach.org/content/red-haired-boy



Our band has been doing a vocal version of Little Beggerman, but the singer needs it in D. I was supposed to work it out in D, but decided that  it would be more effort than I wanted to expend, so I capo up to the 7th fret. Makes an interesting sound. We also play it kind of slow so that his tongue doesn't wrap itself around his teeth.


BanjoFlyboy - Posted - 09/21/2012:  13:30:15



This is my first exposure to TOTW, but I saw my friend Don Couchie's fine entry and thought "why not"?  So, here it is.  BTW I listened to all the entries, and all were excellent!!   Oh, and that was my wife who came in while the camera was rolling. big



Edited by - BanjoFlyboy on 09/21/2012 13:33:35



VIDEO: "Red Haired Boy"
(click to view)

   

ZEPP - Posted - 09/21/2012:  14:44:46



Thanks folks; some really neat versions here!  



I'll play, too:  Here's a version I recorded on a Chuck Lee Chautauqua (Silver Bell) in 2004. aDGBD capoed 2 to become aEAC#E.



Cheers,



ZEPP


bd - Posted - 09/21/2012:  17:51:18



quote:


Originally posted by BanjoFlyboy




This is my first exposure to TOTW, but I saw my friend Don Couchie's fine entry and thought "why not"?  So, here it is.  BTW I listened to all the entries, and all were excellent!!   Oh, and that was my wife who came in while the camera was rolling. big






That was real pretty!


Ho C Ying - Posted - 09/21/2012:  18:55:53



quote:


Originally posted by ZEPP




Thanks folks; some really neat versions here!  



I'll play, too:  Here's a version I recorded on a Chuck Lee Chautauqua (Silver Bell) in 2004. aDGBD capoed 2 to become aEAC#E.



Cheers,



ZEPP






Love your version (and your Chuck Lee)! big


Jay K - Posted - 09/21/2012:  19:53:59


A beautiful tune, and an abundance of great versions! Not sure I've ever heard it before, but look forward to giving it a try. Thanks!

Kitt - Posted - 09/22/2012:  04:36:05



I think Zepp forgot to post the link. This is, I believe, the link he intended to post. Hope it works


zeppmusic.com/MP3/red-hair_cha...-bell.mp3quote:


Originally posted by ZEPP




Thanks folks; some really neat versions here!  



I'll play, too:  Here's a version I recorded on a Chuck Lee Chautauqua (Silver Bell) in 2004. aDGBD capoed 2 to become aEAC#E.



Cheers,



ZEPP






 


ZEPP - Posted - 09/22/2012:  05:54:23



Oh, phoo.  You're right.



Thanks!



Cheers,

ZEPP




Red-Haired Boy

   

Don Borchelt - Posted - 09/22/2012:  06:33:36



Some really fine versions of Red Haired Boy, with some very interesting variations-  Janet's deliberately spare, polyphonic brushing, the perfect accompaniement to her singing, Mark's lush, deeply tonal setting, Hum's celtic romp, Rick Haye's jig time, and Couchie's intricate melodic explorations.  Really, everybody's picking was fine, fine.  My contribution is a recording from my brief stint as a bluegrass banjo picker with the Boston area band Adam Dewey and Crazy Creek, back in the mid-90s. Adam was on mandolin, the great Lincoln Meyers was picking guitar, and Brad Wheeler was on bass.   It was great fun, but I did kind of learn that in the end I was more inclined to the communal approach of old time than I was to the competitiveness of bluegrass, despite the great excitement inherent in the latter.



My banjo break starts at 0:34.  Ironically, I was attempting evoke get an old timey, pseudo-clawhammer feel in my three finger arrangement, relying heavily on the box roll, and it's bum-dittyish variant (TITM, THTM, and the even more imitative variation T-MT).  Below is the tab of the first line, to illustrate what I mean:





The other thing about this arrangement is that I tuned the banjo to sawmill (gDGCD), and let the second string ring unobstructed in sympathy as much as possible, to give a different feel to the background tonality of the thing.  You can't really hear it in this recording, with all the back-up music going on, but it is kind of interesting.  Oddly, it is just about the only tune I still play in sawmill; all my Appalachian modal tunes I play in a G Variant (gDGAD).  Go figure.  I never claimed that I made any sense.





- Don Borchelt



 



Edited by - Don Borchelt on 09/22/2012 06:41:07



Red Haired Boy with Crazy Creek


Adam Dewey and Crazy Creek, 1995

SCclawman - Posted - 09/22/2012:  06:35:55



Those are some great versions. I enjoyed listening to them all! 



Banjo Flyboy, your video cracked me up when your wife came in and you didn't even miss a beat. 



Thanks to everyone for contributing! Looking forward to hearing more.


banjoholic - Posted - 09/22/2012:  09:40:47



quote:


Originally posted by SCclawman


Banjo Flyboy, your video cracked me up when your wife came in and you didn't even miss a beat. 






Hilarious. I think every married banjo player can identify with that clip.



To this day, despite an abundance of evidence in support of these facts, nobody in my family understands that:



       a) I cannot talk while I play (not that I will not, I'm just physiologically incapable)



       b) A banjo tune, once started, must be played to completion



Enjoying this totw!


blockader - Posted - 09/22/2012:  10:34:11


Great stuff, i love the totweeks that get lots of participation! Good to see don back and great to see mr. Zepp join in. It just occured to me that there are lots of amazing banjo players named Don or Donald. Wonder if theres still time to change my sons name?

Justin

rjs808 - Posted - 09/22/2012:  11:04:51



I thought I'd contribute a version.




VIDEO: Red Haired Boy (Banjo & Guitar)
(click to view)

   

olbap - Posted - 09/23/2012:  00:50:35



Hum some really cool stuff here.



my yesterday evening version (with cigar & glasses of wine).



 




982 - 2012 - Red Haired Boy

   

thebanjobert - Posted - 09/23/2012:  10:16:35



I know this is posted as clawhammer and old time playing, but may I join the party?



 



 




Red-Haired Boy

   

Banjowik - Posted - 09/23/2012:  23:16:19



Heres our take on it, our band Paupers Abbey play it with June apple as a bit of a medley, lots of fun to play!



Enjoy!!




Red Haired Boy/June Apple

   

Mark Johnson - Posted - 09/24/2012:  09:17:12



A great tune, and this is turning into a great post-a-thon.  I really love seeing all the unique takes on well-trod tunes.



 


JanetB - Posted - 09/26/2012:  05:48:02





This melody has universal appeal and it grabbed me right away when I was learning banjo.  Later I learned about the "mixolydian mode" with its unique feel.  Much has been written about it and several songs fall into its category like Red-Haired Boy.  I wouldn't be surprised if a great number of the TOTW songs over the years have the same "double tonic" chordal sound.  Great choice, Travis.  We can always count on you for musical enjoyment!


SCclawman - Posted - 09/26/2012:  13:59:41



I couldn't tell you anything about mixolydian mode, but I can tell you I like it. Thanks to everyone who has posted versions. I enjoyed them all!



 


chip arnold - Posted - 09/28/2012:  16:01:34


Five12gal (Amy) and I playing Red Haired Boy in two-finger style, one thumb lead and one index lead.



Red Haired Boy

   

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