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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW (OT) 12/18/2015 - When I Go

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:

ScottK - Posted - 12/17/2015:  17:09:01

Hi All,

I’m going to offer up something a little different this week for the TOTW.  I had yet another great old time fiddle tune on deck, but I was doing some web surfing late last night and ran across a video of Dave Carter teaching “When I Go”.  I decided it was too good not to share, so the fiddle tune will have to wait for my next TOTW at bat.  :-)

Dave Carter was a singer-songwriter with southern influences and a mystic sensibility who lived in Portland, Oregon, in the late 90’s-early 00’s.  He recorded and performed with Tracy Grammer until his untimely death in 2002.  Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer put out three great CDs in this period:  When I Go, Tanglewood Tree, and Drum Hat Buddha.   After Dave’s passing, Tracy later released some additional recordings that had previously been unreleased.

In the late 90’s I was pretty active on the Portland music scene.  But the Portland music scene is really big, so I only got to see Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer perform once or twice.  A few years ago I ran across a great YouTube video of them performing “When I Go” at the St. John’s Pub (a venue I used to frequent when they used to host music) and linked it on my BHO blog:

Last night I had some time to kill while waiting for an email response from a work colleague, so I was doing a little web surfing and happened across this video of Dave Carter teaching how to play “When I Go” on banjo:

It turns out that Judy Collins recently recorded “When I Go” with Willie Nelson on her Strangers Again CD.  You can hear that recording on YouTube here.   You can hear Bryan Bowers play it here.  And you can hear a great version by The Kennedys here.

You can find lyrics here and lyrics with chords here (but I have not tried out the chords).

You can learn more about Dave Carter at the Dave Carter Legacy Project.

Hope you enjoy this song as much as I do.

Happy holidays


ScottK - Posted - 12/17/2015:  21:57:33

Just discovered that Bennett Sullivan also posted a video of this song as a Song of the Week on his YouTube channel:


JanetB - Posted - 12/19/2015:  13:50:32

Well, Scott, I was caught off-guard by this song for an old-time TOTW.  Dave Carter does admit this could go well with clawhammer in one of the videos and his banjo is indeed beautiful.  When I Go feels like a song of the folk genre with Native American influence in the lyrics.  (Coincidentally I wrote a tune with a Native American feel recently and have been reading likewise, so I was more easily able to give this expressive song a chance. )  I decided to listen more and then to arrange the melody as Dave sings, except for the instrumental tag at the end of the chorus.  Dave capoed on the 7th fret; I used no capo.  Hope you enjoy, and, like you,  I'll look forward to the next fiddle tune.

When I Go

Come, lonely hunter, chieftain and king

I will fly like the falcon when I go

Bear me my brother under your wing

I will strike fell like lightning when I go

I will bellow like the thunder drum, invoke the storm of war

A twisting pillar spun of dust and blood up from the prairie floor

I will sweep the foe before me like a gale out on the snow

And the wind will long recount the story, reverence and glory,

when I go

Spring, spirit dancer, nimble and thin

I will leap like coyote when I go

Tireless entrancer, lend me your skin

I will run like the gray wolf when I go

I will climb the rise at daybreak, I will kiss the sky at noon

Raise my yearning voice at midnight to my mother in the moon

I will make the lay of long defeat and draw the chorus slow

I'll send this message down the wire and hope that someone wise is listening when I go

And when the sun comes trumpets from his red house in the east

He will find a standing stone where long I chanted my release

He will send his morning messenger to strike the hammer blow

And I will crumble down uncountable in showers of crimson rubies

when I go

Sigh, mournful sister, whisper and turn

I will rattle like dry leaves when I go

Stand in the mist where my fire used to burn

I will camp on the night breeze when I go

And should you glimpse my wandering form out on the borderline

Between death and resurrection and the council of the pines

Do not worry for my comfort, do not sorrow for me so

All your diamond tears will rise up and adorn the sky beside me

when I go


When I Go (TOTW)

When I Go (CH) tab

ScottK - Posted - 12/20/2015:  11:46:23

Hi Janet,

Beautiful playing, as always. I really like your arrangement for this song. And I especially like the tune you wrote and shared. Thanks for posting that!

While I was thinking about what to do for this week's TOTW I jotted down about 16 fiddle tunes that I thought might be good candidates that haven't been presented yet. So it shouldn't be too tough to get back with the fiddle tune program next time. :-)

Cheers, Scott

bhniko - Posted - 12/20/2015:  13:48:36

You have fused your music so beautifully around the poetic words of Dave Carter. I was caught off guard by the lyrics not expecting the native American spirituality. So glad you posted the lyrics.

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