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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 10/28/2016 - Chips and Sauce


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/324098

mjt0229 - Posted - 10/27/2016:  17:29:23


This is my first TOTW, and I don't have a very deep knowledge of the repertoire yet, so I went with a tune that came up at a jam session over the summer and seemed well-received. It's much newer than a lot of the tunes that show up here, but I think it's a nice one to bring into the repertoire.



From what I can tell, Chips and Sauce was written by Ira Bernstein (wikipedia), which means it had to have been written later than 1959. There's a reference to the tune in this old thread on BHO and I found another on the fiddle hangout. Both of those threads indicate that the tune enjoyed a brief popularity at jams few years ago way up here in the Pacific Northwest. The tune seems to have been popularized by the fiddler Earl White (see his band's facebook page). He has a recording that includes the tune, too. You can buy their cd or just the track by itself.



There's another recording by a PNW trio, the Onlies, who also recorded the tune for their 2015 album, Long Before Light. At the jam session where I first heard the tune, the fiddler who introduced it to us credited the Onlies for bringing it to his attention. There are also a pair of YouTube videos featuring another group of young musicians playing this tune - I think it's roughly the same folks in both videos. They are here and here.



You can find a banjo tab on Tater Joes's website, which also credits Ira Bernstein as the source. The tab has the tune in A, gDGBD capoed at the 2nd fret.



I would love to post a recording, but I've been busy this week and head to Boston for work next week. If I get a chance when I get home, I may try to learn it (have to leave double D tuning behind for a while!).



Hope you all enjoy the tune! Cheers!



Edited by - mjt0229 on 10/27/2016 17:30:37

BrendanD - Posted - 10/28/2016:  02:38:04


Great to see this tune as TOTW! Ira's an old friend of mine (34 years), and he did indeed write "Chips and Sauce", some time in the 1980s, I believe. Following one of the links in your post, I found this bit in a 2012 thread about the tune being played at the Portland Old-Time Gathering:



quote:



I was playing chips and sauce in a jam and someone poked their head in the room and said "my friend ira bernstein wrote that tune. I haven't heard anyone play it for 20 years!" and then left.







I don't think I saw that thread when it was posted back then, but I realized that that "someone" was probably me! And yes, it was mostly Earl White (another old friend and erstwhile bandmate) who popularized the tune on the west coast in recent years. Earl made it his own, as he always does with a tune, and so did the Onlies (also dear young friends of mine) when they learned it, probably from Earl. In fact, last year at Clifftop, when the Onlies were playing the tune in an afternoon session, I grabbed Ira to come over and give them a listen. They hadn't met before, so the Onlies were excited to meet the author of the tune they were playing, while Ira was tickled to hear his tune being played by such fine young west coast musicians!



Somewhere we have a cassette recording of Ira playing "Chips and Sauce", probably with my wife Maxine Gerber on banjo, and I think it got digitized at some point, but I can't locate it just now. If I find it, I'll post the recording on this thread.



Edited by - BrendanD on 10/28/2016 02:52:05

bartmcneil - Posted - 10/28/2016:  03:21:41


The phrase "chips and sause" suggests Scottish origin where what we know as french fries  are called "chips" and the sauce is "brown sauce" which is vinigar and molasses.. During the time I spent in Scotland I grew to love fish and chips which consisted of deep fried fish in a batter and chips. I don't remember ketchup being  available in the shops i frequented. As a side note, these were served not in a bag but in yesterdays newspaper.



Edited by - bartmcneil on 10/28/2016 03:31:25

Doconc - Posted - 10/28/2016:  07:29:25


That's a great tune!  Never heard it before, but I'm going to now


mjt0229 - Posted - 10/28/2016:  08:41:21


quote:

Originally posted by BrendanD

 

Great to see this tune as TOTW! Ira's an old friend of mine (34 years), and he did indeed write "Chips and Sauce", some time in the 1980s, I believe. Following one of the links in your post, I found this bit in a 2012 thread about the tune being played at the Portland Old-Time Gathering:




quote:




I was playing chips and sauce in a jam and someone poked their head in the room and said "my friend ira bernstein wrote that tune. I haven't heard anyone play it for 20 years!" and then left.








I don't think I saw that thread when it was posted back then, but I realized that that "someone" was probably me! And yes, it was mostly Earl White (another old friend and erstwhile bandmate) who popularized the tune on the west coast in recent years. Earl made it his own, as he always does with a tune, and so did the Onlies (also dear young friends of mine) when they learned it, probably from Earl. In fact, last year at Clifftop, when the Onlies were playing the tune in an afternoon session, I grabbed Ira to come over and give them a listen. They hadn't met before, so the Onlies were excited to meet the author of the tune they were playing, while Ira was tickled to hear his tune being played by such fine young west coast musicians!




Somewhere we have a cassette recording of Ira playing "Chips and Sauce", probably with my wife Maxine Gerber on banjo, and I think it got digitized at some point, but I can't locate it just now. If I find it, I'll post the recording on this thread.







Brendan, I'm not familiar with Ira's work, but wikipedia and others suggest he's a dancer. Does he also play the fiddle or banjo? I wasn't able to find much information about Earl White, either, although I liked the sound of his band.


ScottK - Posted - 10/28/2016:  16:10:31


Hi Mark,



Great tune choice.  Chips and Sauce is still popular in jams around Portland and at festivals in the Pacific Northwest.  Here's what I know of how it came to be popular in this region.



Earl White lived in Portland for a few years after he and his wife Adrienne got together.  Several local old time fiddlers took occasional lessons from him and he used to host after-parties during the Portland Old Time Music Gathering.  I first heard Earl play Chips and Sauce in a camp-out jam at Lauren Sheehan's place near the Oregon coast following Barb Hanson Macon's wedding there.  That was probably 6-8 years ago.  Portland fiddler Caitilin Daum was in that jam and she subsequently learned Chips and Sauce from Earl.  (As a coincidental aside, that's Caitilin and Adrienne I'm playing tunes with in my BHO avatar photo at that same wedding night camp-out.)  Caitilin played Chips and Sauce in jams at Weiser the next summer and it caught several folks' ear including my son Erik.  The tune ended up being popular at the Portland Old Time Music Gathering the following winter.  Between Weiser and POTMG, the tune spread north to Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., because lots of folks from both of those cities attend those festivals.  At that time there was a Seattle old time band called Nettle Honey featuring Brittany Newell (currently with The Barn Owls) on fiddle and Johnny Fitzpatrick (currently with Porterbelly Stringband) on banjo.  They put out a CD called This Shed is Bound for Glory that included a great version of Chips and Sauce, so that helped further popularize the tune in the region.  In Vancouver, B.C., Christopher Suen, who was the banjo player in the band Shout!WhiteDragon, was one of the first folk to start playing and popularizing Chips and Sauce.  Chris is playing one of the fiddles in the first video linked at the start of this thread.  Sadly, Nettle Honey and Shout!WhiteDragon are no longer together and This Shed is Bound for Glory is out of print. 



A few years ago following the Portland Old Time Music Gathering, Brendan's wife Maxine sent a Facebook note to Ira saying, "Hey Ira, there's all these young folk out here playing your tune!"  In the subsequent discussion in the comments section he told the story of writing the tune while staying with friends in the Northeast, but I don't remember the details.  Maybe Brendan can ask Ira or Maxine.  Seems that Ira's host made a good home-made salsa, but called it "sauce", hence Chips and Sauce.



Regarding Ira's music, his Appalachian Roots CD with Riley Baugus is really good.



Cheers, Scott


ScottK - Posted - 10/28/2016:  16:24:30


p.s.  Just found this YouTube video of the Earl White Stringband playing Chips and Sauce. 





Scott


JanetB - Posted - 10/28/2016:  18:28:10


The TOTW always seems to deliver these delightful gems, so I applaud you, Mark, for your first delightful contribution.  Funny, but my friend and band-mate, Linda Gunderson, gave to me last a week a re-printed article (with permission) she wrote for the Old Time Herald in the Spring of 2000 about Ira Bernstein called "Footnotin' With Ira:  A Fiddler's Dancer."  Dancing is his specialty, so I was quite surprised to hear he had written a fiddle tune.  In the article he says, "I love bands.  But I also love listening to solo fiddlers.  A lot of people say, 'Ah!  I have to hear a whole band.'  For me, if the fiddler is good enough, there's nothing like it!"  



This clawhammer arrangement is from Earl White's fiddling.  The tune is also interesting to me because it begins with a minor in the A part, modulates in the B part and then even changes modes.



bhniko - Posted - 10/29/2016:  10:02:55


Love listening to Janet.


mjt0229 - Posted - 10/29/2016:  22:36:19


 


 


iquote:


Originally posted by JanetB

 

The TOTW always seems to deliver these delightful gems, so I applaud you, Mark, for your first delightful contribution.  Funny, but my friend and band-mate, Linda Gunderson, gave to me last a week a re-printed article (with permission) she wrote for the Old Time Herald in the Spring of 2000 about Ira Bernstein called "Footnotin' With Ira:  A Fiddler's Dancer."  Dancing is his specialty, so I was quite surprised to hear he had written a fiddle tune.  In the article he says, "I love bands.  But I also love listening to solo fiddlers.  A lot of people say, 'Ah!  I have to hear a whole band.'  For me, if the fiddler is good enough, there's nothing like it!"  




This clawhammer arrangement is from Earl White's fiddling.  The tune is also interesting to me because it begins with a minor in the A part, modulates in the B part and then even changes modes.







As usual, your playing and your tab are really clean and beautiful. I admit that when I first tried playing this tune from Ken Torke's tab I didn't really make much headway, but a few minutes' work with yours and I sort of sound like something.



Did you consider a Galax lick in bar 2 to avoid the hammer-on? I think my own hammer-on sounds a bit weak there, but I can avoid it by playing the F# starting on beat 3 in the first bar on the 2nd string, and an ASPO on the and of 1 in bar 2. Then you can do a Galax lick to finish the bar. It's a bit contrived and maybe I should just work to solidify my hammer-on, but the Galax approach is kind of fun to play with.



 


mjt0229 - Posted - 10/29/2016:  22:36:58


quote:

Originally posted by bhniko

 

Love listening to Janet.







Half the reason to open the TOTW thread!


JanetB - Posted - 10/30/2016:  08:04:39


Thanks, Dick and Mark.   I tried the Galax lick, too, Mark, but found the hammer-on better for me.  It's what is so appealing about this TOTW feature -- every one of them is like a puzzle to solve, the way my husband solves a Sudoku.  In the end you want to hear the tune, but there are many ways to get there.  I'm like you -- we're students of this phenomenal musical genre.



Because my friend, Linda Gunderson, received permission to re-print her article, I'll attach a PDF of it here.  The dancing prowess and philosophy of Ira Bernstein is fascinating and Linda helped him to vocalize his deeper thoughts about it.  There's interesting bio info, too, about why he began dancing and how he gave up a veterinarian career plan for it.



The youtube below with Earl White cleanly plays the version from his CD.  



 





bhniko - Posted - 10/30/2016:  12:29:32


Brought back long time memories of clogging with my wife, daughter and friends. Traveling to exhibitions and conventions was

a lot of wholesome fun. When starting clogging I was having a hard time and then I decided to stop counting the steps and

just let my feet take over. In many cases like the banjo picking one note then another until you let go and start playing.


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