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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 5/15/15 Sweet Ellen


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/303774

bd - Posted - 05/15/2015:  06:23:08


Hi I'm the last minute TOTW volunteer. I've been having some tech troubles getting my topic to post, I may have to do this in a few pieces.



The tune I've chosen is Sweet Ellen which was collected by Sam Bayard in his book Hill Country Tunes. The "hill country" in question being Western PA.



Bayard's source for this tune was Irvin Yaugher



 



Don Borchelt & Janet B both have very good version of Sweet Ellen HERE



And here's my attempt



Edited by - bd on 05/15/2015 09:22:34



VIDEO: Sweet Ellen
(click to view)

   

bd - Posted - 05/15/2015:  06:39:18


Alright well something worked that time. I'll attach a photo of Yaugher & a pic of the score from the book.



Don Borchelt has a tab for 3 finger on his site HERE



Bayard links the tune to Irish antecedents--Namely a tune called Gem of Ireland. I couldn't find any recordings of that but I found the Irish tune that supposed to be pretty much the same:



Clarkson's Reel




Sweet Ellen score


bd - Posted - 05/15/2015:  06:42:56


And here's a good rendition by some folks on youtube



 


Don Borchelt - Posted - 05/15/2015:  10:02:57


Those are my good friends Linda Henry and Jerry Dallal, I learned Sweet Ellen from them.  We just jammed last night.  Besides having a voracious appetite for unusual fiddle tunes, Linda and Jerry also do some of the prettiest duet singing I have ever heard.



Some forty-two years after he published Hill Country Tunes, Samuel Prestong Bayard published a much larger collection, called Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife: Instrumental Folk Tunes in Pennsylvania.  In this collection, he included six different versions of Sweet Ellen.  I have scanned them in, they are attached below.  It just goes to show you, there is no one right way to play a tune.




Sweet Ellen from Bayard's Dance ot the Fiddle

   

J-Walk - Posted - 05/15/2015:  19:33:35


There's a great version of that tune by the Canotes. On a CD called Sugarbaby -- which seems to be mysteriously no longer available.


J-Walk - Posted - 05/15/2015:  19:52:47


The first time I heard this tune was in Centralia, a few years ago. ScottK played it on fiddle, and I tried to pick it up on banjo. That's what made me buy that Canotes CD.


bd - Posted - 05/15/2015:  19:53:51


quote:

Originally posted by Don Borchelt

Those are my good friends Linda Henry and Jerry Dallal, I learned Sweet Ellen from them.  We just jammed last night.  Besides having a voracious appetite for unusual fiddle tunes, Linda and Jerry also do some of the prettiest duet singing I have ever heard.



Some forty-two years after he published Hill Country Tunes, Samuel Prestong Bayard published a much larger collection, called Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife: Instrumental Folk Tunes in Pennsylvania.  In this collection, he included six different versions of Sweet Ellen.  I have scanned them in, they are attached below.  It just goes to show you, there is no one right way to play a tune.







Well shoot, banjo is a like a small town sometimes! Pretty neat that you know them and learned this tune from them. And thanks for the excerpt from Dance...



I've heard of that book but I never seen it.



 



J-Walk--I was hoping to find at least a sample of their version as I ran across some references to it but had no luck....


Don Borchelt - Posted - 05/16/2015:  07:18:01


bd wrote: "I've heard of that book but I never seen it."



There are always a few available used on Amazon.



Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife

 



Edited by - Don Borchelt on 05/16/2015 07:18:26

JanetB - Posted - 05/16/2015:  10:19:45


Enjoyable tune choice, bd.  That fretless banjo of yours is a treasure. The different versions we're hearing are as sweet as the title.  I decided to re-work mine into an easier tuning than my first recording, so here it is in double C. 



Interestingly, when I originally learned it I'd used the on-line Hill Country Tunes book and the source fiddler was given as Irvin Yaugher.  However, he isn't in Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife.  I don't know about you, but I haven't been able to open the link for Hill Country Tunes in the PSU site today to verify this.  (Maybe their summer break began before mine  big.  It's a reminder that our on-line resources aren't necessarily there forever, but printing them out is costly.  Hill Country Tunes is 80 pages.)



If you go to the Slippery Hill website you can hear many of the Hill Country Tunes as played by contemporary players and even submit tunes you've worked up.  Sweet Ellen is #2 in this list of 99 tunes (if I'm correct), collected and arranged by Samuel Bayard.  I commend and thank Larry Warren for developing his remarkable website.  slippery-hill.com/HillCountry/  I also thank Don Borchelt for pointing me to the great Bayard collections.



Anyway, hope this tune is enjoyed by many pickers this week and more recordings are posted.



Edited by - JanetB on 05/16/2015 10:21:33



Sweet Ellen (TOTW)


Sweet Ellen tab (double C tuning)

bhniko - Posted - 05/16/2015:  12:40:08


So sweet a song it is...no matter who is playing the tune. Salve to the ears.


Don Borchelt - Posted - 05/17/2015:  04:10:56


Janet wrote: "I haven't been able to open the link for Hill Country Tunes in the PSU site today to verify this. Maybe their summer break began before mine... "



Nicely played by both BD and Janet.  Janet, it's time for you to retire, take the damned pension, and concentrate on playing banjo.



Here's the PDF file for Hill Country Tunes.  I couldn't get on the site this morning either, but I downloaded it awhile ago just in case they croaked.




Hill Country Tunes

   

hendrid - Posted - 05/17/2015:  09:32:42


Janet, you can open Don's PDF above and then right click on the book and do a "save as" and download it into a folder on your computer.  I put mine in my main music folder.  You can read it with the free adobe reader program without having to go online.   


jamesd - Posted - 05/18/2015:  13:30:12


I really enjoyed listening to this tune.  It is a really nice and sweet tune.  And again, many thanks to our  wonderful 1st grade teacher for  sharing her tab for this tune.  I am off now to practice "Sweet Ellen".


YorkshireWannabeOldTimer - Posted - 05/19/2015:  13:05:21


Very sweet tune, and lovely versions posted so far. Here's a fairly straight version, based on the initial notated version provided, followed with my attempt at a melodic variation: properly melodic clawhammer isn't really my thing, but this tune seemed to me well suited to the style. Listening to the other recordings makes me realise that I could do with a better microphone than my iPad provides: apologies for the awful audio quality and the washing machine faintly in the background...

 



Edited by - YorkshireWannabeOldTimer on 05/19/2015 13:06:41



Sweet Ellen plus melodic variation

   

bd - Posted - 05/20/2015:  09:47:31


Mr WannabeOldTimer,



I liked that melodic variation a lot! Your first run thru before your variation was pretty close to how I played it initially but I couldn't make it work until I started paring down the melody to the essentials. For someone who's not a melodic player you're good at faking it!



Janet--I'll repeat what  wrote on your music page in one word:excellent!


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