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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 9.20.13 Johnny Booger


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/270786

ChuckJo - Posted - 09/20/2013:  10:38:39


Here is a tune from the playing of Lee Hammons as documented so well on the CD "The Hammons Legacy: Field Recordings from Dwight Diller and Wayne Howard.  Lee Hammons Banjo Complete Recordings".



I recorded this before the sun was fully up, as you might have guessed.  I am playing a Wayne Sagmoen banjo with a 12" rim made of makore with a Dobson tonering. Wayne built this instrument for Ray Alden.  The tuning is gCGCD.



I never met Lee, but find myself continuously amazed by his music.  His arrangements are both spare and rich at the same time.  His tone is full, his timing precise, and his touch is clean.  His music evokes a powerful timeless stillness.  As far as I am concerned, he embodies old-time banjo.  I hope that I have done him justice with this selection.



Brooklynbanjoboy posted a fine version of Lee Hammon’s Calloway recently: banjohangout.org/topic/270256 and JanetB was here usual wonderful self with Deadman’s Piece and Calloway posted in January: banjohangout.org/archive/254241




VIDEO: Chuck Levy Plays Johnny Booger From Lee Hammons
(click to view)


Lee Hammons FIddle


Lee Hammons, Banjo

janolov - Posted - 09/20/2013:  10:54:40


Isn't there a printing error in the tab? You say the tuning is gCGCB, but shouldn't it br doubble C gCGCD?


Bill - Posted - 09/20/2013:  11:25:42


A great tune.

Here is the effort I posted 3 weeks ago.



I learned it from Bruce Molsky.



Edited by - Bill on 09/20/2013 11:29:29

ChuckJo - Posted - 09/20/2013:  11:46:24


Hi Janolov,



Right you are!  Should be gCGCD.  I have corrected the tab.  Bill, nice effort!



Chuck




Johnny Booger Tab

   

mworden - Posted - 09/20/2013:  13:16:06


Chuck, great tune and great playing.  Love the sound of that banjo, too.  Almost hypnotic.  



A couple more:



Clyde Davenport (known more for his fiddle playing) recorded a banjo version with lyrics on one of the Field Recorder's Collective album (FRC 103).



Rhys Jones and Christina Wheeler recorded a 2 fiddle version on their excellent album "Starry Crown" under the name Johnny Bucker.


atleson - Posted - 09/20/2013:  14:49:42


a fine zen-type tune tune, wonderfully played.  Thanks Chuck.   Lee Hammons is one of my favorite players as his tunes tend to be sweetly and lovingly played with a soft touch.



 



jim


Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 09/20/2013:  16:19:00


Chuck, Thanks for your kind remark on my stab at Calloway.  Your Johnny Booger is sweet.  Nice recording, though I kind of miss the backdrop of cicadas that graced past recordings of yours from this summer. 



Yew Pine Cultural Traditions YPC-H-001, “Lee Hammons, Complete Banjo Recordings,” has two versions of Johnny Booger, one recorded in 1972 and the other a year later.   



In fact, the CD has multiple versions of many tunes.  I couldn’t find a complete listing of the tunes online so I took a photo of the way the CD shows up on my iTunes  system (attached).   (That’s a pre-IOS7 upgrade.  I have no clue what my iTunes look like now). 



I hope posting this photo is not a violation of someone’s intellectual property rights.



I don’t recall whether it was Dwight or Bates Littlehales who told me that sometimes the tune was referred to by the name Johnny Booker, if only to avoid snide remarks about olfactory secretions.  Not sure whether that was a “modern” affect or a re-christening of the tune that dates back a while.  



I remember when Bates taught me the tune, sometime in the early 1990s, he stressed that the open 4th string be hit with power, a real deliberate blow, to keep it ringing while the rest of the phrase is played.  If I glanced off the string too shyly, he’d stress the need to come down on the string almost vertically, with meaningful force, suggesting the worst thing that could happen would be the string might break, reassuringly adding that we could probably buy new strings somewhere.



I learned a much more rough and tumble version of the tune – or at least what I remember of what I learned turns out to require a lot more fist than Chuck’s very graceful, nuanced playing of Lee Hammons’ tune.  So, though I’ve labeled my video “Lee Hammons’ Johnny Booger,” in fact it’s probably little more than an artifact of what I believe I learned a while ago, and might not be nearly as close to the tune as Chuck’s fine playing.



But I thought I’d add it to the thread rather than (1) trying to figure out Chuck’s playing, or (2) pausing to figure out where I might have gone off course in trying to capture elements of the two versions of Hammons’ tune on the Diller/Howard CD.  I have a vague memory that when Dwight tried to push the tune into my brain, we focused something that sounded closer to track 24.   



 





I'm playing my A scale -- Fawley neck/Vega Little Wonder pot. It's small enough to fit right behind my computer on my desk, so it's the first thing I reach for when I need a banjo. Plus you gotta love that Fawley neck.

 


Thanks, Chuck, for this great tune choice.



Play hard.



 



Lew




   

cbcarlisle - Posted - 09/20/2013:  20:54:02


I've known it forever and always as Johnny Booker. Here's Cousin Emmy and the NLCR. The tunes are structurally related.



folkways.si.edu/TrackDetails.a...mid=25050


ScottK - Posted - 09/21/2013:  01:43:57


quote:

Originally posted by ChuckJo

I hope that I have done him justice with this selection.







You did just fine.  Great selection and great picking. Really enjoyed it!



Scott


rgoad - Posted - 09/21/2013:  07:00:48


Joe, Interesting how you describe the picking of Lee Hammons as spare, full tone, clear touch, etc. The entire Hammons musical tradition seems to emphasise those characteristics. They are all worth the study. Thanks for this.

ChuckJo - Posted - 09/21/2013:  10:00:25


Hey Lew,



Thanks for adding to the conversation with your fine rendition!  CB, thanks for adding Cousin Emmy.  I have added a recording by her.  This is fun!



Chuck




VIDEO: Cousin Emmy and her Kinfolks - 1939 1947 Johnny booker
(click to view)

   

bd - Posted - 09/21/2013:  10:23:01


quote:

Originally posted by ChuckJo

 

Hey Lew,




Thanks for adding to the conversation with your fine rendition!  CB, thanks for adding Cousin Emmy.  I have added a recording by her.  This is fun!




Chuck







You can really hear, in Cousin Emmy's version, a common ancestry to the Briggs version



 



orangikan - Posted - 09/21/2013:  11:53:39


Thanks, ChuckJo, for the tab and for your lovely pre-dawn version.  "Powerful timeless stillness" is probably about as close as three words can get to describing Lee Hammons' banjo playing.



Ron Mullenex also has a lovely version, labeled as Johnny Bugger, on his Sugar In My Coffee cd.


JanetB - Posted - 09/21/2013:  16:36:17


Chuck, you've come up with another gem.  I'm playing on a Gold Tone Cripple Creek mini.  Your video is zen-like, as Jim said, and all the different versions are related in structure and melody, very enjoyable.  Hope you all enjoy mine, too.




Johnny Booger

   

ChuckJo - Posted - 09/24/2013:  04:20:31


He Janet,



Thanks for including that sweet sweet version of Johnny Booker.  Lew, thanks for reminding me of the deliberate strike on the bass note.  I recorded the tune a second time, this time at the close of day (sheeesh!) with more emphasis on the bass string.  It is great to spend time with Lee Hammons music!




VIDEO: Chuck Levy plays Johnny Booger Take 2
(click to view)

   

frailfellow - Posted - 09/24/2013:  08:07:02


I've read music for years, but am new to tab. This is written in 4/4, but most measures don't seem to have 4 beats. Is an 1/8 rest understood before each 1/8 note and is the 3rd note in measure 6 a half note?



Also in measures 4 and 7 is drop thumb the method to use?


ChuckJo - Posted - 09/24/2013:  09:53:31


Hi Frailfellow



Each measure is 4 beats in duration, and a quarter note equals one beat.



 



The first, second,and third measures start with an 8th note hammering on to a quarter note followed by an 8th and two quarter notes. You are correct that the third note in measure 6 is a half note, and that drop thumb occurs in the 6th and 7th measures.



Chuck


csbdr - Posted - 09/24/2013:  10:41:58


quote:

Originally posted by frailfellow

 

I've read music for years, but am new to tab. This is written in 4/4, but most measures don't seem to have 4 beats. Is an 1/8 rest understood before each 1/8 note and is the 3rd note in measure 6 a half note?



Also in measures 4 and 7 is drop thumb the method to use?






There is a 1/2 beat rest before the thumb strike which is missing in measures 1, 2, and 3 of the tab. there is also a whole beat rest missing in measure 6 as well as measure 8 (of the second repeat).That's why they arent adding up. it's an M-skip or brush-skip if I have my techniques right (someone set me straight if I dont....I'm easily confused) . Follow the tab and listen to chuck at the same time and you'll see it.


csbdr - Posted - 09/24/2013:  10:42:46


quote:

Originally posted by csbdr

 
quote:


Originally posted by frailfellow

 


I've read music for years, but am new to tab. This is written in 4/4, but most measures don't seem to have 4 beats. Is an 1/8 rest understood before each 1/8 note and is the 3rd note in measure 6 a half note?



Also in measures 4 and 7 is drop thumb the method to use?






There is a 1/2 beat rest before the thumb strike which is missing in measures 1, 2, and 3 of the tab. there is also a whole beat rest missing in measure 6 as well as measure 8 (of the second repeat).That's why they arent adding up. it's an M-skip or brush-skip (in 1-3) if I have my techniques right (someone set me straight if I dont....I'm easily confused) . Follow the tab and listen to chuck at the same time and you'll see/ it.






 


csbdr - Posted - 09/24/2013:  10:43:44


that was wierd...sorry. dont know how I did that

pcollings - Posted - 09/25/2013:  17:36:02


This tune is mesmerizing. I have been humming it all day.

But Lew, do you by any chance have a video version with your left hand in view? I've had some success trying to figure out what you're doing with your left hand, but it would be great to see how you fit everything together.

And Chuck, thanks for posting this. Though I must admit it is trying to drive Cuffy right out of my brain.

Pete

csbdr - Posted - 09/26/2013:  14:00:11


quote:

Originally posted by pcollings

 

This tune is mesmerizing. I have been humming it all day.



But Lew, do you by any chance have a video version with your left hand in view? I've had some success trying to figure out what you're doing with your left hand, but it would be great to see how you fit everything together.



And Chuck, thanks for posting this. Though I must admit it is trying to drive Cuffy right out of my brain.



Pete






Its definitely one I can get into a groove with....reminds me of "Walkin in the Parlor" that way. In fact one leads into the other pretty nicely.


H Kimball - Posted - 10/01/2013:  09:35:38


Thanks for posting this tune. I've been thinking about learning it since I heard it on Bruce Molsky's recent release "If It Ain't Here When I Get Back".   The tab will speed along the process.


JanetB - Posted - 10/01/2013:  17:32:40


Since there was discussion about the name of Johnny Booger, I thought you might find this interesting. There's a place called Booger Hole in Clay County,  WV.  Wilson Douglas describes it as a haunted place in Gerald  Milnes' book Play of a Fiddle:  "We moved back up there on the old Douglas place...on the right hand fork of Booger Hole....You'd hear people coming up this little road, riding a horse...wide open.  But they'd never get there.  Never get there.  People'd talk all night...And you'd see people dressed in white going in every direction once in a while.  You'd never catch up to 'em.  They'd disappear.  By God, it just beat anything I ever saw.  I can tell a million tales about that place."


jamesd - Posted - 10/03/2013:  15:29:56


Chuck, thanks for posting this tune and the tab.  I have listened to and played this tune so much the last few days that it has become stuck in my head.  Thanks....


cbcarlisle - Posted - 10/03/2013:  17:30:44


Lest we are misled by nomenclatural relativism, the tune originated as a Minstrel number, Johhny Bigger, to rhyme with guess-what?



Google shows 12 references to Johnny Bigger, 749 to Johnny Booger, 6200 to John Booker, and 33,400 to Johnny Booker. It's good to retain the name from an original source as long as we don't expect that to be the norm.


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