Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

361
Banjo Lovers Online


Discussion Forum

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!

 All Forums
 Playing the Banjo
 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW (OT) 3.28.14 Forks of Sandy


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/282282

ChuckJo - Posted - 03/28/2014:  18:25:57


Here’s a banjo version of Forks of Sandy, inspired a by Manco Sneed’s fiddle version recorded in 1964 by Peter Hoover in Cherokee, North Carolina, and Posey Rorrer and Gerry Milnes, and I am not sure who else.  Similar tunes with similar names were played by Clark Kessinger (“Three Forks of Sandy”), Burl Hammons (couldn’t remember the name), Clyde Davenport (“Boatin’ Up Sandy”) Glenn Smith (‘Forks of Sandy or Three Forks of Reedy”), and of course Ed Haley (“Three Forks of Sandy”).More recently, John Hartford andWalt Koken have recorded it.



Please note that I am aware that the accompanying video demonstrates that that I don’t know enough to come out of the rain.  There were extenuating circumstances.  Officer.



I am playing a Gold Tone BC 350+ banjo.



The following information about Forks of Sandy comes from Kerry Blech, who cites Kinney Rorrer as his major source of information:



Says Kerry [slightly reworded]:  According to historian/researcher/musician Kinney Rorrer, his kinsman Posey Rorrer, who was the fiddler for Charlie Poole (and Poole's brother-in-law), made the first recording of "Forks of Sandy" (Columbia 15106), recorded in NYC on September 16, 1926. The record label read, "North Carolina Ramblers led by Posey Rorrer." Posey Rorrer, fiddle, Charlie Poole, banjo, Roy Harvey, guitar. Kinney wrote that when they got to the recording studio in New York, Posey wanted to record "Sandy River Belle," but A&R man for Columbia (Frank Walker) declined, as Columbia already had recorded it, by Charlie LaPrade and the Blueridge Highballers. So Posey "reworked" Sandy River Belle and presented to Frank Walker "Forks of Sandy." Both tunes are supposedly meant to be about The Big Sandy River, which makes up part of the border between West Virginia and Kentucky, emptying into the Ohio River at Catlettsburg.

 

On page 35 of Kinney Rorrer's "Rambling Blues, the Life and Songs of Charlie Poole," he writes: "Posey Rorer had wanted to record Sandy River Belle at this session but Frank Walker would not allow it. The reason given was that a fellow Franklin County fiddler named Charlie LaPrade had already recorded it for Columbia in March 1926. Posey later claimed that, unknown to Walker, he simply changed Sandy River Belle around and called it Forks of Sandy.

 

The flip side of "Forks of Sandy" was "Flyin' Clouds" and the disk sold 13, 053 copies, far below the number of disks they sold of songs. Songs were much more salable than instrumentals in the 1920s and '30s.

 

The core of the tune ("Sandy River Belle") probably arose in West Virginia. Roy Harvey, the guitarist for the NC Ramblers, was from Beckley, WV. Charlie and Posey spent a lot of time at Harvey's place, usually rehearsing there for tours and recording sessions. It is unknown where Charlie LaPrade learned it, possibly from Posey Rorer. He just beat them to the punch, er... to the recording studio.  A year after Laprade recorded it, Dad Blackard's Moonshiners, from Virginia, recorded it for Victor. The Dixie Ramblers, with Posey Rorer on fiddle, recorded Sandy River Belle in 1930.




Manco Sneed and J. Laurel Johnson, photo by Blanton Owen, 1970


Charlie Poole, Posey Rorrer, Lonnie Austin


VIDEO: Chuck Levy plays Forks of Sandy (in the Rain)
(click to view)


VIDEO: Forks Of Sandy - Charlie Poole's North Carolina Ramblers (Columbia)
(click to view)

RG - Posted - 03/29/2014:  00:48:45


Inspired by Manco Sneed...good enough for me!  Nice TOTW Chuck!


Don Borchelt - Posted - 03/30/2014:  07:15:54


Great picking, Chuck, and a great choice for TOTW.  I just learned this tune from my friend John Reddick, who brought it to a jam session just a few weeks ago.  This version comes from the fiddling of Wayne County, Kentucky fiddler Clyde Davenport, who- as Chuck noted- called the tune Boating Up the Sandy.  I am three-finger picking my semi-fretless 1928 Vega Tubaphone, in standard open G tuning.  I've have posted my three-finger style tablature on my webpage.





     Clyde Davenport



-




VIDEO: Forks of Sandy
(click to view)

   

ChuckJo - Posted - 03/30/2014:  16:23:51


Wow Don,

Terrific rendition! What a nice addition to the discussion!

Thanks!!!

Chuck

Jay K - Posted - 03/30/2014:  18:16:04


Great tune, and enjoyed your write up and playing!  Thanks!


JanetB - Posted - 03/30/2014:  21:25:01


Chuck, you've often offered a Tune of the Week that stretches our repertoire and presents interesting history lessons.  Kit and I were checking out our maps to place the river locations and examine the various forks in that locale.  



I enjoyed yours and Don's videos, and so I made one, too.  I used the 1926 Columbia recording, having wanted to know more about Charlie Poole's music, though I hear the fiddler more here.  Sandy River Belle is one of my favorite tunes and I can hear it most in your video.  I'm playing in gEADE coincidentally called Sandy River Belle tuning.  I picked this tuning because the recording is in the key of F, which fits SRB tuning perfectly.




VIDEO: Forks of Sandy
(click to view)

   

CS Memphis - Posted - 03/31/2014:  08:35:11


quote:

Originally posted by Don Borchelt

Great picking, Chuck, and a great choice for TOTW.  I just learned this tune from my friend John Reddick, who brought it to a jam session just a few weeks ago.  This version comes from the fiddling of Wayne County, Kentucky fiddler Clyde Davenport, who- as Chuck noted- called the tune Boating Up the Sandy.  I am three-finger picking my semi-fretless 1928 Vega Tubaphone, in standard open G tuning.  I've have posted my three-finger style tablature on my webpage.





     Clyde Davenport



-






Wow!  Nice three finger setting of this tune, really like the three finger slides on the half fretless.  I'm about to build my first half fretless, and am so looking forward to having it around for a few days before I ship it off to the new owner...


majikgator - Posted - 03/31/2014:  12:51:46


Nice tune, playing and write up Chuck and yes i agree Don's additional input was a great addition (and of course great playing by Don). Also nice to hear JanetB's. Hope to see you at FOTMC Chuck.


majikgator - Posted - 03/31/2014:  12:54:54


Oh by the way Chuck that banjo is way to fancy to be playing in the rain


ChuckJo - Posted - 03/31/2014:  16:48:18


Hey Jim,



Great to hear from you.  I hope to make it to FOTMC. if I do, i will definitely say "Hi"/



Janet, I was hoping you would show up.  I always enjoy your tuneful interpretations.



Thanks as always for joining the conversation.



Chuck


JanetB - Posted - 03/31/2014:  20:43:06


Thanks, Chuck!  After reading that Ed Haley is well-known for this tune, I downloaded his recording, but find it's very scratchy, so I'll have to try and decipher his fiddling.  Much of Ed Haley's is similar to the North Carolina Ramblers, but there's a third part that seems to combine parts of the other two. 



If Posey Rorer re-worked Sandy River Belle into Forks of Sandy, did Ed Haley learn it from that recording?  Do you think he later added a third part?  Or is there no way of knowing?  I've been learning more of Ed Haley's tunes, so I'm interested in anything that can be added to the discussion.


Hilarie Burhans - Posted - 04/01/2014:  19:11:17


Wow, great tune pic, Chuck, and great playing, y'all. Inspired me to get my tackhead gourd banjo off the wall, b/c I was learning it from the Charlie Poole recording which is basically in F, and I can't really tune this thing up to G anyway :-) So here's my two bits:





 


vrteach - Posted - 04/02/2014:  07:38:19


That is a fun listen, Hilarie.

ChuckJo - Posted - 04/02/2014:  19:37:29


Hi Hilarie,



Good to hear you.  Sounding great as always.  Thanks for contributing!



Chuck


Piccolo - Posted - 04/03/2014:  22:25:40


Great playing Hilarie, loven the gourd, great sound...(are you the same Hilarie playing at Maldon, Australia a couple of years ago?)

banjo bill-e - Posted - 04/04/2014:  11:32:01


Nice tune, new to me, all versions posted are most enjoyable. I can hear the Sandy River Belle source clearer in some versions than others, but I don't hear any Boatin' up Sandy in any of them.



Edited by - banjo bill-e on 04/04/2014 11:32:25

stevel - Posted - 04/04/2014:  12:19:51


quote:

Originally posted by JanetB

Thanks, Chuck!  After reading that Ed Haley is well-known for this tune, I downloaded his recording, but find it's very scratchy, so I'll have to try and decipher his fiddling.  Much of Ed Haley's is similar to the North Carolina Ramblers, but there's a third part that seems to combine parts of the other two. 



If Posey Rorer re-worked Sandy River Belle into Forks of Sandy, did Ed Haley learn it from that recording?  Do you think he later added a third part?  Or is there no way of knowing?  I've been learning more of Ed Haley's tunes, so I'm interested in anything that can be added to the discussion.






here you go janet.  i tabbed this out on paper at home for myself awhile back.



home.hiwaay.net/~eabaggot/EdHa...forks.htm


JanetB - Posted - 04/05/2014:  17:18:19


Here's what I got from Ed Haley's historic, scratchy version.  It has three parts instead of two, but there are three forks of the Big Sandy.  I wonder if he performed this on the Big Sandy River, recalling that he played on steamboats.  Thanks, Steve, for providing your notation.  It's sure a tricky tune to figure out.




Three Forks of Sandy

   

stevel - Posted - 04/06/2014:  17:10:39


Hi Janet-you're welcome, but it's not my notation. I meant I turned that notation into banjo tab. I used gEADE.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.09375