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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW (OT) 10 June 2016: Shout Lil' Lula

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:

mojo_monk - Posted - 06/10/2016:  12:33:53

This one is part of what is known today as the “Hook and Line” family of tunes which actually descend from an old minstrel song by the name of “Old Dad” (Dan Emmet, 1844). Specifically a banjo piece, it was once very popular among pickers in the Southern Mountains and I have a whole slew of recordings of folks playing it under its various titles. Ralph Stanley has been quoted as saying that “Shout Lulu” was one of the first tunes he learned as a boy from his mother. A Google search will get you plenty of good lyrics and links to recorded versions.

*FWIW In addition to many of the classic recordings I have in the library, my arrangement was inspired by Paul Brown’s playing on banjo builder Kevin Enoch’s website and is thus played in eCGCD tuning.

Here are a few of (what I consider) the more noteworthy versions out there:

Samantha Bumgarner – Shout Lou

Dyke’s Magic City Trio – Hook and Line

Hobart Smith - Katy Went Fishing with Her Hook and Line

Roan Mtn. Hilltoppers – Shout Lil’ Lula

Rufus Crisp – Shout Little Lulu

Grayson & Whitter – Shout Lula


My contributions:

Sean Barth (ME) - Clawhammer version Mp3 Tab

Sean Barth - Two finger thumb lead version Mp3 Tab


The attached tabs are pretty rudimentary. Again, note that I play this out of eCGCD tuning. One of the great things about tunes like this is the room for improv and variation. Strike out with the basic arrangement and look for spots to add dynamics, skip notes, add notes, etc. Enjoy!




Edited by - mojo_monk on 06/10/2016 14:30:20

Mtngoat - Posted - 06/10/2016:  18:37:25

Great choice Sean for an old time banjo forum!  Along with the Crisp version here are a couple of my current favorites.


BobTheGambler - Posted - 06/11/2016:  08:46:04

Some more recordings:


Banjo Bill Cornett

Roscoe Holcomb

Louise Foreacre

Bill McElreath

janolov - Posted - 06/11/2016:  09:59:40

My favorite version is Ralph Stanley.

In this clawhammer medley he plays Shout Little Lulie after about 3:57 :

Annie and Mac do a good cover on Ralphs version here:

JanetB - Posted - 06/11/2016:  14:20:34

I sure like your delightful choice this week, Sean, and your two styles of playing.  I first heard Ralph Stanley do this (in concert) and then the Rockinghams (with John Herrmann) and next Rufus Crisp.  I like that Ralph says it was the first song his mother ever taught him on banjo and he still tries to play it just like her.  It has many Galax licks and only uses the 2nd fret and open strings.

Very interesting, as I read and listened to more about Rufus Crisp it turns out that he was actually the person who taught Pete Seeger how to frail!  See Pete's book How to Play the 5-String Banjo on page 10.  He also taught Pete a pull-off lick which he notes on page 30.  You can hear the notey pull-offs in Rufus' recording.  I'm not sure, though, what he means by "double shuffle,"  mentioned on the recording at 41 seconds.  This is supposed to be a right hand technique according to liner notes on Rufus Crisp.

I've combined Ralph Stanley's version and Rufus Crisp, taking your advice to heart, Sean, about enjoying the song.

Shout Little Lulie (TOTW)

Shout Little Lulie (CH) tab from Ralph Stanley version

bhniko - Posted - 06/12/2016:  19:13:59

Dang Janet...superb. Great voice...fits the song so well.

kingfisher500 - Posted - 06/13/2016:  12:18:35

Hey Janet

That was really fine playing. Thanks for the tab, too.

JanetB - Posted - 06/14/2016:  11:30:06

Interestingly, Rufus Crisp's wife was named Lulu and he was known for playfully improvising on verses about people around him.  Here are some of the lyrics he sang, as posted in the liner notes of a Rufus Crisp Folkways album.

Shout Little Lulie, shout, shout, what in the world are you shouting about?

Shout a nickel, shout a dime, shout a nickel every time


Shout Little Lulie, what do you say? Gonna be on the old headache

Take a nickel, take a dime, take a nickel every time


Shout Little Lulie, shout, shout, what in the world are you shouting aboout?

Take my Holston River trip, catch my true love by the lip


BTW, thanks for the kind words about my recording, Richard and Elliot.  It was exciting to figure out what Ralph Stanley was doing.


mojo_monk - Posted - 06/16/2016:  04:09:06

Thanks for the contributions, all.

I was thinking about the clouded origins of this "Lulu" so many people have sung about over the years and called to mind "Bang Away Lulu" from Roy Acuff and the Crazy Tennesseeans. Turns out the lyrics may reveal just some of what, exactly, Lulu is "shouting about" wink




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