When the call came for someone to take TOTW on short notice, I decided to offer up one of my favorites—Lady on the Green. Clelia Stafanini played it in the 2013 Clifftop finals and when I came across the video on YouTube it was love at first listen. I've been playing the tune on fiddle since September and somewhere along the way I started trying to work it out on banjo, too.
The Tune Archive entry suggests Lady on the Green is derived from a fife tune called Hell on the Wabash and there are definitely similarities between the two melodies.
If you're curious to learn more about Hell on the Wabash check out the Tune Archive entry for Hell on the Wabash (2).
So who or what does "lady on the green" refer to? I have no idea! When I first heard the title, I pictured a woman dressed in vintage attire standing in the shade on a village green as the breeze blew through her hair--sort of a romantic historical apparition. (I know. I know.) When I started Googling to see if I could learn more, I came across references to golf which paint quite a difference scene. If you have any insights, please share.
My banjo version of the tune is based on a fiddle version that I learned from David Bragger. Ordinarily, I'd agonize (in a happy sort of way) for a few more hours to get a more perfect recording :) but I'm north-bound on the Pacific Surfliner at the moment and the only banjo I brought with me is the Plucky so the quick practice video I made in the car yesterday will have to do. It's definitely a work in progress but I hope it will inspire some of you to give it a try anyway.
I'm looking forward to reading whatever anyone can add about the tune and I'm looking forward to hearing your versions!
Great TOTW, Cyndy. I learned this tune many years ago. I think from the playing of Garry Harrison. I don't remember what he called it, if he called it anything, but I have always thought of it as "Hell on the Wabash". I don't remember where I got that title, but it may have been from the Christeson collection
Someone , sometime told me it was a Civil War road march . Chirps calls it "Lady On The Green" I think its on his "Shades Of death Creek" album. That album is in my car and we have freezing rain here in Illinois right now, so I'm not going outside to check it
I have heard a totally different tune called " Hell on the Wabash". I believe it was a You Tube video from New England. Some fiddler's annual birthday event with much foot stomping. I think a little girl put a pillow under the fiddler's foot to dampen the effect of his enthusiasm on another jam downstairs.
I won't offend anyone's ears with my fiddle scrapings, This is a banjo centric site , afterall!
That's a great pick, Cyndy, and thanks for coming through on TOTW. I like your quickie version to hear what the banjo sounds like. You always sound good, whether on banjo or fiddle.
I appreciate learning another one of Nebraska fiddler Bob Walters' pieces. R.P. Christeson said of him, "Robert E. (Uncle Bob) Walters was, by far, the smoothest fiddler I ever heard and knew the largest number of tunes of different kinds....Uncle Bob began playing as a small boy and complying with his mother's rule that he stand with his dad's fiddle extended over the bed to prevent dropping it on the floor." He passed away in 1960.
I also listened to Dwight Lamb's fiddling. Here are some of the things Dwight said about Bob Walters: "Bob always said, 'The latch string always hangs on the outside at our house' and that anybody was welcome there. He was a fine gentleman and a fine fiddler; his wife Goldie was just as nice."
I did something a bit odd in the B part. Instead of a hammer-on on the first fret, which never comes out too loud and clear on my banjo, I used a Galax lick in a bit different manner than normal. Check it out in the 11th measure.
Neat tune Cyndy, I'm completely unfamiliar with it. And your banjo rendition is excellent, "work in progress" or not, as is Janet's. And due to Jack's post, I too will remember it as "lady in the Car"! Thanks for this TOTW!
Ok , sorry Im late a few days but I just got my camera ....this isn't one of my tunes but I thought I'd give it a whirl ...this is almost like a jam , trying to learn something on the fly sharpens your skills - LOL ...normally I play my fiddle and and banjo later , but since this is a banjo page I am playing banjo and kind of just embellishing with the fiddle
Cool tune, Cyndy, and great playing! Good arrangement, some really crisp noting on the melodic stuff, also like the sound of the brushes and percussive rapping on the head. The connection to a fife march is an especially interesting way for a tune to cross over into the repertoire.
Jimmy - great sound on the jo, how far are you pitched down? Sounds kind of Hartford-style baritone.
Second: the title instantly made me think of the term "mondegreen", which describes one specific type of misheard/misinterpreted word or lyric.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondegreen In the original 1954 example, the lyric was "laid him on the green", misinterpreted as "Lady Mondegreen".