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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 5/6/16 - Monkey on a Dogcart


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/318112

EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 05/06/2016:  17:07:12


 



Today’s Tune of the Week is Monkey on a Dogcart, which comes to us from a couple of prewar stringbands from Mississippi, The Leake County Revelers and Hoyt Ming & His Pep Steppers. 



 



THE LEAKE COUNTY REVELERS



 photo leake_county_revelers.jpg



The Leake County Revelers were formed in Sebastopol, Mississippi, in 1926 and consisted of Will Gilnmer on fiddle, Dallas Jones on guitar, R.O. Moseley on mandolin, and Jim Wolverton on banjo. They recorded Monkey on a Dogcart for Columbia in 1927.



A Mississippi Country Music Trail marker in Sebastopol gives a good, concise history of the group:



The most renowned Mississippi string band of the 1920s, the four Revelers—fiddler Will Gilmer, mandolinist R. O. Mosley, banjoist Jim Wolverton and guitarist Dallas Jones—were based here in Sebastapol, and played live across the Southeast. They had a widely heard Saturday night radio show on WJDX in Jackson, and cut 44 diverse instrumental and vocal sides for Columbia and Okeh Records between 1927 and 1930. Their biggest hit, “Wednesday Night Waltz,” was among early country music’s biggest sellers.



Despite the implication of their name, assigned to them by Columbia Records producer Frank Walker, the members of this popular string band of the late 1920s and early 1930s didn’t come from only Leake County. They first came together and were based here in Sebastopol, Scott County, where the oldest of the four, R. O. (Robert Oscar) Moseley (1884-1931), who played the mandolo (a small banjo-mandolin hybrid), ran a hardware and record store. In the late 1920s, Moseley began playing informally with two musicians who actually were from nearby Leake County—Jim Wolverton (1895-1969) who played five-string banjo and farmed in Neshoba County, and the colorful Will (William Bryant) Gilmer (1897-1960), who worked at a drug store next door to Moseley’s hardware store and has often been referred to as Mississippi’s premier fiddler. They were joined in 1926 by guitarist Dallas Jones (1889-1985), also from Sebastopol.



The quartet was playing in local schoolhouses on Saturday afternoons when celebrated talent scout H. C. Speir of Jackson recommended them to Columbia Records. At their first recording session in New Orleans in April 1927, they recorded their hit instrumental “Wednesday Night Waltz,” based on a lilting tune Gilmer had learned in Texas, with a faster breakdown segment added half way through. Backed by the almost as popular “Good Night Waltz,” the record would sell nearly a quarter million copies and become a standard as an instrumental and later in a version with lyrics, recorded by Carson Robison and Frank Luther.



The Revelers would record forty-four sides for Columbia at sessions variously staged in Atlanta or New Orleans through 1929 and at a last session at Jackson, Mississippi, in December 1930. They recorded everything from traditional string band waltzes and breakdowns to strings-and-vocal hillbilly (“Johnson Gal”), harmonizing vocal pop (“My Wild Irish Rose,” “When It’s Springtime in the Rockies”), vaudeville (“They Go Wild, Simply Wild Over Me”), blues (“Make Me a Bed on the Floor,” “Dry Town Blues”), and even a “Rockin’ Yodel.”



The quartet made appearances with Louisiana’s Huey Long during his campaign for governor there in 1928; sales of their records made it possible for the full band to perform live across the Southeast. The four Revelers, who always kept their day jobs, also appeared in varied combinations as duets or as solo acts. The demand for their appearances increased in 1930, when they began a regular 6 to 7 p.m. Saturday night radio show on the 1000-watt, widely broadcast WJDX out of Jackson. Unfortunately, R. O. Moseley’s death the following year marked the group’s end, although Dallas Jones was still making appearances in the 1980s, and descendants, appearing as the Leake County String Band, provided music for the 1976 movie Ode to Billie Joe.



content © Mississippi Country Music Trail (mscountrymusictrail.org/marker...-revelers)



 



HOYT MING AND HIS PEP STEPPERS



 photo hoyt-ming-and-his-pep-steppers-indian-war-whoop.jpg



Hoyt Ming (1902 - 1985) was a fiddler from Choctaw County, Mississippi.  A potato farmer who performed at local dances and fairs, he first took up the fiddle at  age 15 after his father invited a stringband over for a house party.  Later, a shifting line-up of family members began playing together at parties and dances, and in 1928 Hoyt, his wife Rozelle, and his brother-in-law Troy auditioned for Victor talent scout Ralph Peer in Tupelo.  They earned a trip to a Memphis recording studio, where, among other tunes and songs (including of course Monkey on a Dogcart), they recorded Indian War Whoop, which went on to become a well-known piece covered by countless later groups.



The band's name came from Rozelle's habit of loudly tapping her foot while performing.  Evidently she tried to minimize her tapping during the recording sessions, but Ralph Peer thought it added energy to the tracks and instructed her to tap as loudly as possible.  The other band members thought it sounded like "peppy footsteps", and the Pep Steppers were born.



The band remained active through the 1930s, playing at fairs, picnics, dances, and political rallies.  They performed less frequently after the war, and by 1957 Hoyt had hung up his fiddle, seemingly for good.  Then in 1972, County Records producer Dave Freeman tracked down Hoyt and Rozelle and and found them quite happy to begin playing music again.  They performed at the 1973 National Folk Festival and the 1974 Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife. They cut a new album for Homestead with their son, Hoyt Ming Jr., on guitar, and in 1976 they - like the Leake County Revelers - contributed music to the film Ode To Billy Joe.  The band finally came to an end with Hoyt's death in 1985.



 



THE TUNE



 



Audio and Video



Source recording, Leake County Revelers: slippery-hill.com/recording/monkey-dogcart



Source Recording, Hoyt Ming and His Pep Steppers: youtube.com/watch?v=eFm-qAn_LTE



 



Solo fiddle, Jim Herd:  youtube.com/watch?v=Gbpbui54kDM



Solo banjo, Yopparai Kyabetsu: youtube.com/watch?v=WbxYp-kY3SI



Solo banjo, Don Borchelt: youtube.com/watch?v=RIUtrJ26mCA



Solo banjo, Kurt Hibner: banjohangout.org/myhangout/med...archived=



Fiddle/banjo, Junior Harris and Heith Efird: youtube.com/watch?v=IxeeLc8ocHI



Fiddle/guitar, Jack Mcgee: youtube.com/watch?v=sYfoZkgysfY







Band, The Bogstompers: youtube.com/watch?v=ohB9v6AJq48



Band, The Guinea Pigs: youtube.com/watch?v=A8-bxglzxNU



Band, Big Hungry Joe (Denmark): youtube.com/watch?v=OW78iRT0Vos



 



Harmonica, Omu (Japan):  youtube.com/watch?v=3_tX0RGJPB0



 



Tablature



Clawhammer tab, by Ken Torke: taterjoes.com/banjo/MonkeyInADogCart.pdf



Three-finger tab, by Don Borchelt:  banjr.com/pdf%20files/monkey%2...gcart.pdf



(For those of you with extensive Banjo Newsletter archives, clawhammer tab in gCGCE can be found in the October, 1978 issue.)



 



For one-stop shopping, Don Borchelt's website has the source recordings, MIDI files, fiddle transcriptions, banjo tablature, and Don's own version: banjr.com/thursday%20jam%20c.htm



 



MONKEYS AND DOGCARTS


 


The source and meaning of the tune's rather unusual title is unknown.  It perhaps brings to mind images such as this


 photo monkeyondogcart.jpg



although where prewar old-time musicians (or anyone, really) would have come across such a sight is hard to determine. Perhaps at a circus?


 



Actually, the term "dogcart" did not originally refer to a cart pulled by a dog - at least not in England, which as far as I know, is where it originated.  It instead described a horse-drawn vehicle designed to carry sportsmen and their hunting dogs.



From Wikipedia:



A dogcart (or dog-cart) is a light horse-drawn vehicle, originally designed for sporting shooters, with a box behind the driver's seat to contain one or more retriever dogs. The dog box could be converted to a second seat. Later variants included :




  • A one-horse carriage, usually two-wheA eled and high, with two transverse seats set back to back. It was known as a "bounder" in British slang (not to be confused with the cabriolet of the same name). In India it was called a "tumtum" (possibly an altered form of "tandem").[citation needed]

  • A French version having four wheels and seats set back to back was a dos-à-dos (French for "back-to-back").

  • An American four-wheeled dogcart, having a compartment for killed game, was called a "game cart".[1]



A young or small groom called a "tiger" might stand on a platform at the rear of a dogcart, to help or serve the driver.



Frequent references to dog-carts are made by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his writings about fictional detective Sherlock Holmes,[2] and indeed by many other Victorian writers, as it was a common sight in those days.



Fashions in vehicles changed quickly in the nineteenth century, and there is a great variety of names for different types. The dog-cart bears some resemblance to the phaeton, a sporty, lightly sprung one-horse carriage; the curricle, a smart, light vehicle that fits one driver and passenger, but with two horses; the chaise or shay, in its two-wheeled version for one or two people, with a chair back and a movable hood; and the cabriolet, with two wheels, a single horse, and a folding hood that can cover its two occupants, one of whom is the driver.




 



Edited by - EggerRidgeBoy on 05/06/2016 17:55:21

carlb - Posted - 05/07/2016:  05:23:38


I have uploaded my tab for Monkey in a Dog Cart (gCGce), as well as Spotted Pony (aDAde) and Liberty Off the Corn Licker Still (also known as Old Liberty) (gDGde) as published in the Banjo Newsletter in October, 1978.

banjohangout.org/tab/browse.as...p;v=21895



A truly great C tune. Thanks for the TOTW.


mojo_monk - Posted - 05/07/2016:  08:17:46


Great tune and great write up! Hoyt Ming has been in heavy rotation around the house lately. Such strange, wonderful music.



Below is a recording of my band Three Crooked Men performing it at the Focal Point in St. Louis, MO a year or so ago. C tunes are a blast to play and this one is one of my favorites.



Monkey in the Dogcart



 



-Sean 


JanetB - Posted - 05/07/2016:  22:27:57


Interesting write-up and fun tune, Brett, though I'm reminded of Liza Jane.  Hoyt Ming played it in the key of B and I liked the ease of fingering when I figured it out by capoing to the fourth fret in open G tuning, then using the mini-banjo tuned to open C.  His version is quite syncopated.




VIDEO: Monkey in the Dogcart (TOTW)
(click to view)


Monkey in the Dogcart (CH) tab

Brooklynbanjoboy - Posted - 05/08/2016:  01:18:28


Nicely done.  You look content, almost mesmerized, by the tune.  Thanks for sharing.



V/R,



Lew


EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 05/12/2016:  17:01:51


quote:

Originally posted by carlb

 

I have uploaded my tab for Monkey in a Dog Cart (gCGce), as well as Spotted Pony (aDAde) and Liberty Off the Corn Licker Still (also known as Old Liberty) (gDGde) as published in the Banjo Newsletter in October, 1978.

banjohangout.org/tab/browse.as...p;v=21895




A truly great C tune. Thanks for the TOTW.







 



Thanks very much for uploading that BNL tab, Carl.  (I noticed that back in 1978 you offered to send a recording of those tunes to anyone who was having trouble with the tabs and who sent you a cassette and a self-addressed stamped envelope.  Once in awhile I kind of forget just how much things have changed in the past 20+ years, and then a little thing like that reminds me!)



Glad you enjoyed the TOTW.


EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 05/12/2016:  17:03:12


quote:

Originally posted by mojo_monk

 

Great tune and great write up! Hoyt Ming has been in heavy rotation around the house lately. Such strange, wonderful music.




Below is a recording of my band Three Crooked Men performing it at the Focal Point in St. Louis, MO a year or so ago. C tunes are a blast to play and this one is one of my favorites.




Monkey in the Dogcart




 




-Sean 







Glad you enjoyed the tune and the write-up, Sean.   I had never heard any of Hoyt's music until researching this TOTW.



Thanks for posting your version!


EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 05/12/2016:  17:04:31


quote:

Originally posted by JanetB

 

Interesting write-up and fun tune, Brett, though I'm reminded of Liza Jane.  Hoyt Ming played it in the key of B and I liked the ease of fingering when I figured it out by capoing to the fourth fret in open G tuning, then using the mini-banjo tuned to open C.  His version is quite syncopated.







As always, thanks very much for posting your version, Janet.


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