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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: "Old Joe Clark - Ward Style" - Clawhammer Tunetorial for 8/17/14


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/289967

schlange - Posted - 08/18/2014:  10:57:43




Key of G – gDGBD 



In this, Tunetorial number 13, we switch it up a bit when Dan "Clawdan" Levenson teaches Old Joe Clark in a Wade Ward influenced version, by request. 



Recorded this one in G though many folks play it in A.



Like all old time, everyone plays it differently, but the masters from the Round Peak area of the country (Mt. Airy, NC, Galax, VA) did things just a bit MORE different than others which added spark to the tunes and made them not quite what everyone else played.



In this tunetorial, Dan does things a bit differently too as he just starts into the tune and varies, adjusts, arranges and teaches the sections as he goes. Let him know how you like this different approach. 



This tune is tabbed out in Dan's book "Wade Ward - Clawhammer Master" (MelBay 22243). There is a tab both “as Wade played it” transcribed by Bob Carlin and “as Dan interpreted it” transcribed by me. The book contains 28 of Wade’s tunes transcribed in this manner.



BTW, as summer comes to a close and Dan is getting ready to head back west to Tucson, AZ, there might have to be a couple of weeks until the next tunetorial. Should be back on schedule by the first week of September so now is a good time to catch up on some of the other tunes and refine the ones you have been working on so far.



It would be great to hear some of your versions so far so post them here for all to hear!



You can purchase the video lesson (for unlimited streaming and download) here on the Banjo Hangout for $6.

Get it here >



Dan and I would love to hear any feedback you have on these videos, so feel free to post or email us. Our goal here is provide a steady, affordable way for people to learn a new clawhammer tune weekly (or as often as they'd like).



If you're working on the tune, record yourself and post it below--we'd love to hear your progress!

Banjosnob - Posted - 08/18/2014:  11:30:40


unable to access preview video, "access denied". Is it my settings?

Tatersoup - Posted - 08/18/2014:  16:26:14


Lynn,



It's hard to say if it's your settings since we don't know anything about your system.



The link took me right to it.


schlange - Posted - 08/18/2014:  16:29:09


quote:

Originally posted by Banjosnob

unable to access preview video, "access denied". Is it my settings?







No, I had linked the video incorrectly. It's fixed now!


gottasmilealot - Posted - 08/19/2014:  05:26:40


Works fine now. Thanks!


JimmyH - Posted - 08/20/2014:  09:44:48


I'd love to learn Peachbottom Creek by Wade Ward. Is that in the book ?

Clawdan - Posted - 08/20/2014:  17:51:49


Yes, it is in the same (Wade Ward) book. Mel Bay 22243.


RG - Posted - 08/20/2014:  22:45:08


Curious, in what way is this 'Ward Style?"  Melody?


Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 08/21/2014:  15:48:29


Alright, here's my stab at it:





I hope you "grade on a curve"...

V/R, Lew



Edited by - Brooklynbanjoboy on 08/21/2014 15:50:35

ceemonster - Posted - 08/29/2014:  16:30:32


think the consensus is that "wade ward style" would not be considered part of the charlie lowe-creed-cockerham line that came to be known as "round peak style," no? "wade ward style" might be more with the cluster of styles including Hammons Family, Dwight-Diller styles, i believe...

Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 08/29/2014:  17:06:05


That is interesting.  Yesterday, a musician familiar with, indeed adept at all these styles suggested to me, in response to my query, that Wade Ward's approach seemed almost to be the inverse of Dwight Diller's attack.  He made the case that if Diller's rhythm was "bump-a-ditty" the Wade Ward's was "ditty-bump."  I'm not exactly certain that this gets me closer to being able to capture any of the equation at the core of Ward's style, but it does hint at an interesting dimension of this playing style.


RG - Posted - 08/30/2014:  01:51:34


Wade Ward is definitely not in the Round Peak camp, as a cursory listening to his music would indicate, but to describe something as "Ward Style" would intimate a playing style very specific to my ears...remember that Wade was playing banjo "professionally" in 1919, before radio and 78's had a major impact on OT music...and I don't hear anything particularly  "Ward Style" in regards to playing style in the original OP's posted video which prompted my question as to why this lesson would be labeled "Ward Style" in the first place...again, just curious...



 



 



Edited by - RG on 08/30/2014 01:57:03

Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 08/30/2014:  02:28:13


OK, I agree: "style" might not express what I'm looking for in trying to figure out these tunes.  Ward tunes definitely have a different rhythmic core.  I hear him doing very unique things when he's playing behind the fiddler Charlie Higgins.  I haven't listened to enough of other recordings to know exactly (or even approximately) what he sounds like in other contexts.  I've been using Krassen's book to try and figure out some of the elements of what I called this style, the central "idioms" of this banjo "dialect," so to speak.  Stephen Wade made it very clear: this is not Roundpeak.  



I'm just asking questions.  I'll take any guidance or advice and try to follow it to see where it gets me because i havent been able to break this code myself.  



Thanks,



lew


Clawdan - Posted - 08/30/2014:  09:43:17


quote:

Originally posted by Brooklynbanjoboy

Alright, here's my stab at it:




I hope you "grade on a curve"... V/R, Lew







Nice Job Lew. Curve is unneeded! From here I would start to work on playing it without looking at your hand on the fingerboard (or even seeming to) with eyes closed as needed  in order to start to listen to your playing as you play and begin to vary the rhythmic emphasas and melody based on what you WANT to hear as well.


Clawdan - Posted - 08/30/2014:  10:01:22


RG - Wade ward style in that the playing of this tune is inspired by the recordings and transcription of Wade's actual playing incorporating some of the rhythmic and melodic direction that Wade used in his playing. (The actual transcription of Wade's playing is tabbed out by co-author Bob Carlin in our Wade Ward Clawhammer Banjo Master book).



You bring up an additional - what I'll call "distraction" - when you start to get into the "round peak" discussion. Wade lived most of his life in Peachbottom Creek though he was born in Independence, VA and attended the Galax conventions for many years making him a player from the Round Peak area. The problem comes when one talks about round peak as a style when it is not. Round Peak is a town in Surrey County and is a term that applies to the area surrounding the Galax, VA - Mt. Airy, NC area from which many great players came. They played many styles including bluegrass. The area is still today rich in musical styles which varried more person to person that region to region. Many of the players in the area were also "professional" with bands at the time effectively killing the notion that this was all just local folks hangin and playing without professional influences. Further many of those folks we consider rural were living in town so another myth lost.



Even Tommy Jarrell (and Fred Cockerham - the subjects of the almost done and released upcoming Clawhammer Masters books) and the many folks he played with from the area all had individual styles. When asked in an interview once, "Tommy, does everyone in this area play like you do?" his reply was telling, "Nope, I'm the only one". SO, using the Round Peak Style really doesn't help define how to play since is isn't a style at all and saying Wade Ward is definitely not part of the Round Peak ilk would be technically incorrect since he was from the area and did hang in the same "social circles" of the other so called round peak players.



Adding Hammons and Diller to the mix further shows personal "style" being more important than regional but again doesn't solve the question of personal style which we ALL develop if we play long enough.



As to style, as I said, we all develop our own but not until one goes beyond literal playing of the tabs or reproduction of recorded versions of tunes we may all know.



So, Lew, using the books (mine and others), recordings and tunetorials all will help add to the development of your style, but "your" style won't really develop until you start just playing the notes and rhythms you feel and hear. When it does happen (and it always continues to develop) it will be a product of all you have listened to and played and will continue to change as you listen to and play more. When it does happen, you willl hear the influences of Wade as well as others since you are working on their pieces as your workshop for banjo.



Perhaps we can say, "Style Happens".


RG - Posted - 08/30/2014:  18:32:14


Dan - "Round Peak" is a fairly standard colloquialism for the sake of discussion that most OT players use and understand the meaning of in reference or discussion to playing "style"...I've heard it used as far back as the early 80's, long before I was distributing your LP's on Flying Fish for Bruce Kaplan...



Lew - I was responding to ceemonster's question in her post, sorry if it seemed otherwise...



FWIW, I like Ward "style" as defined by his playing with the Ballard's Branch Bogtrotter's for the LOC just as much as I enjoy his "style" of CH...



 


Clawdan - Posted - 08/31/2014:  08:30:53


Hi RG,



Yes, I understand the RP reference but feel it is inadequate to describe a style when no one style exists in that region. I also feel it often confuses the beginner and prefer not to use that as a style descriptor but rather educate folks that it is a region of the country from which much great and varied old time music traces some of its roots. Hence your Ward/Boggtrotters reference is much more clear and descriptive when one looks to "style".


RG - Posted - 09/01/2014:  13:07:58


"Like all old time, everyone plays it differently, but the masters from the Round Peak area of the country (Mt. Airy, NC, Galax, VA) did things just a bit MORE different than others which added spark to the tunes and made them not quite what everyone else played." - schlange/clawdan



"Yes, I understand the RP reference but feel it is inadequate to describe a style when no one style exists in that region. I also feel it often confuses the beginner and prefer not to use that as a style descriptor but rather educate folks that it is a region of the country from which much great and varied old time music traces some of its roots." - clawdan



Hi Dan,



​These 2 statements would seem to be somewhat contradictory & confusing to a "beginner", the implication in the first being that there was something "a bit MORE different" to that region's style of play, and the second stating that "no one style exists in that region" that would make it "a bit MORE different."  



Additionally, a "beginner" might find it a little confusing to label something as "Ward Style" that doesn't incorporate any of Wade Ward's techniques, timing or even melody of the tune (Uncle Wade didn't have much use for that modern VII chord in this tune, nor did most of the old dead guys), stuff that is readily apparent in Bob Carlin's or Art Rosenbaum's transcriptions of Wade Ward's playing, or better yet, when actually hearing Wade Ward play it.



I fully encourage folks to find their own voices in whatever music they wish to express themselves, however I do think that there are certain boundaries in specific genres that should be acknowledged and an attempt made to stay between the lines.  I am also a firm believer that the old dead guys did just that, patterning their playing after people they admired and heard, and through that process developing their own "style"; this is borne out in COUNTLESS interviews with the old timers in which they state just such a process occurring in their own musical development.  



In spite of Tommy's oft repeated joke, listen to Ben Jarrell fiddle a tune and then listen to Tommy...there are more than a few similarities; and why Wade sounded like he did since he learned from his older brother Crockett who was born in 1872.  Uncle Wade's playing on both CH banjo and fiddle most certainly reflects this familial "style" influence.



So much of the OT music repertoire is played these days by folks who say that "anything goes" because "that's what the old people did"...but no one learns in a vacuum bereft of ANY musical influence, as noted by the examples above.  



However, I have found in my travels of 40+ years of playing, that most of the people who espouse this "anything goes" viewpoint do so for the precise reason that they DID come to the music bereft of any real exposure to it, and for the most part have no interest in the history of the tunes or the players who proceeded them....which they are certainly entitled to do; it's not a requirement to have this interest in the music to play the music, but in my mind it is absolutely essential if you want to play it like it sounded 90 years ago as opposed to 20 years ago.



Amid all of these ramblings, in my opinion and ears, if your version of the tune was "influenced" by Wade Ward's playing, I would expect it to sound a little closer to how Uncle Wade played it melody & technique wise...maybe I'm being overly analytical.



I do think it's confusing to the "beginner" to think that your version in this lesson shares a lot in common with Wade Ward's approach to the tune.  I think it's much less confusing to title this "Old Joe Clark - Clawdan Style" than the title used, especially to someone who is just coming to the music.



Take care...


Marc Nerenberg - Posted - 09/01/2014:  13:42:33


After all this discussion, I just sat down and listened to Wade Ward and the preview video back-to-back. I concur completely. Dan's playing of Old Joe Clark in the preview bears almost no resemblance to Wade Ward's version of the tune. Maybe in other parts of the lesson he plays something that sounds like Wade Ward - but one couldn't conclude that from this sample clip. This is not to say the lesson may not be of great value - just that the sample shown is not sufficiently close to Wade Ward's playing for me to consider the title "Ward Style" to be really an apt description.



Edited by - Marc Nerenberg on 09/01/2014 13:53:23

Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 09/01/2014:  13:59:02


RG, Marc, Dan:



Two questions:



 



One: Where does this version fit on the Wade Ward continuum...

 



youtube.com/watch?v=4_-msE9jwQ8



 



Two: Stephan Wade, in recent discussions of precisely this issue (and precisely this tune) told me that his sense of Wade Ward's Old Joe Clark differed from this version by Wade himself:



youtube.com/watch?v=UztsCrMtR0c



Here is Stephen Wade having at it:



youtube.com/watch?v=d-Z9Bqq_Hug



How does this fit into the discussion at hand? 



Just asking, from an advanced state of confusion...



V/R,



Lew



 



Edited by - Brooklynbanjoboy on 09/01/2014 14:03:55

Marc Nerenberg - Posted - 09/01/2014:  15:08:27


quote:

Originally posted by Brooklynbanjoboy

RG, Marc, Dan:



Two questions:




 




One: Where does this version fit on the Wade Ward continuum...

 




youtube.com/watch?v=4_-msE9jwQ8




 




Two: Stephan Wade, in recent discussions of precisely this issue (and precisely this tune) told me that his sense of Wade Ward's Old Joe Clark differed from this version by Wade himself:




youtube.com/watch?v=UztsCrMtR0c




Here is Stephen Wade having at it:




youtube.com/watch?v=d-Z9Bqq_Hug




How does this fit into the discussion at hand? 




Just asking, from an advanced state of confusion...




V/R,




Lew




 







(1) What is the Wade Ward continuum? I am not aware of its existence.



The linked video bears some resemblance to Wade Ward's version, but adds that gratuitous F chord.



(2) The Wade Ward tune you've linked is Cluck Ol' Hen, not Old Joe Clark.



Stephen Wade plays something rather nice, influenced by some of the timing of Wade Ward's version, but ultimately rather distant from what Wade Ward actually plays. It does give a general idea of how Wade Ward's version differed from the most common version of today, without actually playing a close rendition of Ward's playing. One might say that it "invokes" Ward's playing without "imitating" it.



I, for one, never ever play someone else's version of anything, so I might not be the best person to ask.



I have no idea whether or not these remarks will be helpful or not in sorting out your confusion.



Edited by - Marc Nerenberg on 09/01/2014 15:11:31

mbuk06 - Posted - 09/01/2014:  15:29:20


quote:

Originally posted by RG

Curious, in what way is this 'Ward Style?"  Melody?







I assume that means 'these are the notes he often played'? That is very interesting to study but is just one dimension and I agree that using the word 'style' may confuse anyone thinking that alone may be a template to sound like Wade Ward.   



It's rather like finding ancient footprints in stone. We can place our feet in them and 'walk' the exact route of those prints but our gait and balance, the equivalent to emphasis and timing, will be quite different to the original maker. And that's before even beginning to consider the way those patterns sound radically different in terms of timbre from different positions on different banjos.


oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 09/01/2014:  16:50:14


a note on the term "Round Peak Style"



I have most of the records produced by most (if not all) the Round Peak and Galax area players - and have studied them for as many as 40 years - My first clawhammer lessons were of Wade Ward tunes, taught to me by my then brother-in-law, Dennis Tang. So I think I have the knowledge to comment on the subject.



Round Peak Style is characterized by a close partnership between fiddle and banjo. Nothing more - but certainly nothing less. Other than that the styles of the various RP players vary widely - from J.P. Nestor who recorded in 1928 to current RP players like Kevin Fore. 



You will find Fred Cockerham and Kyle Creed standing as the two main pillars of the RP style even though they had completely different playing style. You will find an album of recordings of the Camp Creek Boys with Fred Cockerham on banjo, as well as an album recorded with 3 finger picker Bobby Thompson. Both are RP style recordings but if the banjo parts were isolated they have little more connection than that of any two banjo players with such divergent technique.



Wade Ward played 3 finger style on many of his recordings. He played fiddle on others. Check out Ward's recordings with Glen Smith. They are on the Folkways label.



I think the problem is that many banjo players lose the concept of Old Time music as "BAND" music and "find" binding elements between the players from the Round Peak area that don't really exist.



 


Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 09/01/2014:  17:41:30


By continuum i meant the range of possible ways Ward might play any one tune, varying in one direction or another from the typical way he might have played a tune.



thanks for your comments, Marc -- and everyone else. very useful ideas.



v/r



 



lew


banjo bill-e - Posted - 09/01/2014:  18:04:08


Just because a player comes from the Round Peak area does not make them a Round Peak player, just as every musician from Nashville today does not play "new county", thank God. Wade Ward never sounded anything like Fred, Kyle, and Tommy, who to me DO have some strong similarities, but I'll admit that I am not a student of this and by no means an expert. I just hear what I hear and like what I like.

As for Wade Ward's clawhammer style, I hear a strong emphasis on the One beat. And, he does not have a soft touch, his notes have a "hard" quality.

mbuk06 - Posted - 09/02/2014:  00:34:22


Bill, our ears is what we got. And all music and playing is a lifelong learning experience and old time is no different. We respect the past, style and tradition. But it's not sacred; we're all entitled to comment despite what some would have us think.



There really is some  over-blown hyperbole talked about the minutest detail at times 'I studied this for 40 years'.  I can hear the old timers themselves enjoying a good laughi together at that one. wink



 



I can't help but be reminded of Tom Sharpe's hilarious satires of academic rivalry and 'Donnish-ness'. big



 



 



Edited by - mbuk06 on 09/02/2014 00:48:03

Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 09/02/2014:  04:31:45


Marc:



Here's the OIld Joe Clark version I had meant to embed:



 


Clawdan - Posted - 09/02/2014:  06:06:27


I was just going to upload that one! HA. Thanks Lew. From my ear I would agree that my example is not the same and I never said it was, but the slide and rhythm at the beginning and the melodic structure follow this as a starting point. No, I don't drop the beats he does, and no I don't use exactly the same melody or chord structure all the time and for the old timers, yes, I too can hear them laughing at our discussion but to quote Kyle Creed, "yall can play it that way if you like it, it don't matter none".



Glad yall are enjoying the tune.



Play nice,

Dan

Clawdan.com.

 


RG - Posted - 09/02/2014:  11:48:02


I think it's a BIG stretch and mistake for anyone interested in this music  to assume that people who learned to play it long ago didn't care about how it was approached and handled...indifference is NOT the same as acceptance.  Perhaps Kyle Creed's quote was made with sarcastic intent; like if it were applied to the Rednex's version of "Cotton Eyed Joe?"  We hear what we want to hear to justify our opinions, which is why I find Mr. Davenport's playing of this tune and his comments afterwards (starting around the .30 mark in the attached file) to be particularly valuable, as they are completely contextualized with regards to this tune, and at this specific time of his playing it.



I don't think it's wrong to question minutiae in regards to these types of things; If no one cares about minutiae, we'll never fully understand or learn anything from the past, and that would be a shame in my opinion...cearly Mr. Davenport was concerned about minutiae of this sort...would the "old timers" laugh at his comments?  Rhetorical question.



 



Hi Dan,



"From my ear I would agree that my example is not the same and I never said it was, but the slide and rhythm at the beginning and the melodic structure follow this as a starting point. No, I don't drop the beats he does, and no I don't use exactly the same melody or chord structure all the time" - clawdan



Again, the title of the "tunetorial" is "Old Joe Clark - Ward Style", and as your quote states above,  the presentation/lesson is more clearly your interpretation of the tune "Clawdan Style", and again (and thoroughly beating a dead horse waiting for a direct response) for the sake of clarity of "beginners", why not label it as such?  Does labeling it "Ward Style" impart a greater sense of legitimacy in a marketing sense?  I think that's a valid question that deserves a valid answer, especially from an instructor.  I place a high value on veracity and clarity in such matters as a consumer, maybe that's a misplaced priority anymore...



 




Sugar in the Gourd performed by Clyde Davenport

   

Clawdan - Posted - 09/02/2014:  17:32:49


Hi RG,



In the dead horse dept we will have to agree to disagree. First I always say I play it my way, but the beginning slides and such are almost directly from the tab of his transcriptions and are - as I do state - my interpretation of his playing but inspired by his version as opposed to the more popular versions of this tune. As to Kyle's quoted comment, it was not sarcastic in any way and you can hear it (as can anyone else) on Tom Mylet's release of Kyle's lessons with him on Old Blue recordings. Mr. Davenport's comment to me directly was always, "Dan, the banjo players job is to follow the fiddler note for note".



Finally, as you may have noted, you only saw the teaser and if that is all you have seen you only got to see a pass of the tune and not heard the descriptions including my comments throughout this and other videos that I play what I like. Each player today and yesterday played their own way to distinguish their playing and did not expect or want you to copy them. What was it that Kyle said, "Gee -----, I used to have my own sound and now everywhere I go I hear my self playing."



Playing like anyone else, or copying someone else is not making "music" it is playing notes. I always strive to put my mark on it and express to my students and all consumers they should be trying to do the same. Honest music, honest representation. It doesn't come overnight and playing it just like x did note for note is not to my mind music nor is it what I sell or present.


oldwoodchuckb - Posted - 09/02/2014:  19:00:52


I have indeed studied the banjo for 40 years, and have known about Round Peak Style for all that time - as I said above, my first clawhammer lessons were of Wade Ward tunes like June Apple and Peach Bottom Creek. Old Joe Clark and Chilly Winds were probably lessons 3 and 4. So I've studied RP style for 40 years and more.



All of us here are banjo students. Even the guys who give up the instrument for a decade or three are still studying the banjo and will put the knowledge they have acquired to use when they return to the banjo. In fact we are all students of everything we do. If you aren't learning, you're forgetting.



 



I like The Wade Ward Continuum - If I ever go to Galax or Mount Airy again my contest band will have that name.



Edited by - oldwoodchuckb on 09/02/2014 19:07:09

Chadbanjo - Posted - 09/02/2014:  19:27:03


I'd like to see The Wade Ward Continuum play. Wade Ward for banjo president of the world.


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