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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Tune of the Week 27 Mar 2020: NEW MONEY

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banjukebox - Posted - 03/26/2020:  22:56:13

New Money

This  week’s TOTW is “New Money” a Kentucky fiddle tune from Doc Roberts in the key of C. 


I first heard the tune many years ago on an album by Norman and Nancy Blake, way before I took up the banjo. Here’s a recording: (you can skip to about the 6:20 mark to hear it)

Doc learned the tune in the 1920’s from Elza Stone at a fiddle contest.

Elzie (1880-1958), also from Kentucky, was from a musical family.

Doc was born and raised in Madison county, Ky.


He started playing fiddle at an early age and recorded extensively from 1925-1934. He is the quoted source for many fiddle tunes:


Bruce Molsky’s take on the tune: “New Money” comes from Kentucky fiddler Doc Roberts, who recorded it in the 1930s. It’s a lyrical tune in the key of C in standard tuning and has a bit of a ragtime flavor. The bowing for the A part mostly uses shuffle bowing, but with a couple variations for the syncopated “raggy” parts of the melody. The B part has a few more variations on the shuffle pattern, including a syncopated bowing Doc Roberts often used.”

Doc’s version can be heard here:

If you’d like to learn by ear, listen here: The first recording is slow.

Banjo version and Tab:New Money Tab













R Buck - Posted - 03/27/2020:  05:53:19

I'm assuming you are in double C tuning. Nice playing, you capture the tune well.

cmic - Posted - 03/27/2020:  07:26:49

I love the "raggy" feeling of your rendition. Really.

banjukebox - Posted - 03/27/2020:  08:20:56

@R Buck yes, double C (gCGCD).

JanetB - Posted - 03/28/2020:  16:40:53

I knew you'd pick a gem, Pat! Looking through my iTunes the only New Money I have is from J.P. Fraley, so here's an arrangement from that one. I plan to study more about Doc Roberts, but for now J.P. remains at the top of my favorite fiddlers list. I found that tuning up the first string to an E note made it easier to hit some of the notes in the A part. The tune has a southwest feel, as well as "raggy."

banjukebox - Posted - 03/28/2020:  17:41:31

JanetB Nice , Janet! I really like that B part. I briefly glanced at your tab. Once I get a chance to check it out in more detail, I may have some questions about that first measure in the A part.

Don Borchelt - Posted - 03/29/2020:  16:43:57

One of my favorite Doc Roberts tunes, great pick for TOTW. That's a sweet, gentle version, Pat, very fine picking. An excellent version from Janet also; this Fraley version is clearly the same tune as the one Robert's recorded for Gennett in 1928. Given that Roberts was a great influence on a lot of eastern Kentucky fiddlers of Fraley's generation, I think it likely that's where Fraley got it, but like all of the truly great old time fiddlers, he proceeded to make the tune his own. For a few years now I have been in a project with some friends of mine here in Boston, to learn C tunes, and this is one we added to our list about a year and a half ago. As soon as I figured it out, I made this video. I am picking in double C tuning, which is well suited to the semi-fretless Tubaphone I am picking.


- Don B.

Edited by - Don Borchelt on 03/29/2020 16:48:29

banjukebox - Posted - 03/29/2020:  21:14:50

Don Borchelt Thanks for adding that, Don. As usual, a stellar arrangement. I love the sound of that half fretless Tu-Ba-Phone.

banjukebox - Posted - 03/29/2020:  21:55:06

JanetB Hey Janet, I've looked at your tab for that great version you played, but I'm a little confused. I'm unfamiliar with the carat placed next to the "H" for the hammers-on in the first and third measures of the A part. I assume that the (parenthesized) open note on the fifth string would be played with the thumb. If so, then playing the next note on the first string with the middle finger would seem awkward to me. Can you explain the notation to me? I think I would try something more like this:


JanetB - Posted - 03/30/2020:  00:41:47

Good questions, Pat. The note in parenthesis on the 5th string should have been a skipped, or tied, note (silent). I used the ppp (pianissimo) symbol, which looks the same as a skipped note, but it ended up printing the note in parenthesis, meant to be silent. I changed it in the attached tab here. The carat symbol is an accent mark, reminding me to play that note with the accent you hear in J.P.'s playing. Otherwise it doesn't sound right. The "M" marking is the use of the middle finger (or index for some clawhammer players) where normally the thumb would be used. It works better for me in this situation.  The tab is a tool for me to remember my arrangements, and I hope this helps you, too.  (And thanks for the kind words, Pat and Don).  Here's J.P. and Annadeene Fraley's version:

banjukebox - Posted - 03/30/2020:  11:37:37

Thanks for clearing that up for me Janet; very helpful.

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