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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 4/8/2022 Upper Lehigh

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:

carlb - Posted - 04/07/2022:  17:28:45

Upper Lehigh


   In the summer of 1974, as I was moving from Charlottesville, Virginia to southeastern Pennsylvania, I attended the 1st Annual Brandywine Old Time Mountain Music Convention.


   Gerry Milnes presented some local Pennsylvania fiddlers. One was Peter Kraus from Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania. He played the tune "Upper Lehigh" which became rather popular amongst the players in Chester County and around the Philadelphia area. I was not able to find any more information on Peter Kraus (neither from Gerry nor from the Historical Society of Berks County), but here he is playing the tune, starting at about 1'45".


   While trying to find out something about Peter Kraus and the tune, Gerry Milnes told me that Worley Gardner, a hammered dulcimer player from Monongalia County, West Virginia, played the tune but Gerry had no idea where Worley had gotten the tune. Patty Looman, who received mentoring from Worley Gardner, played "Upper Lehigh" which can be heard at 17' of the 2nd file.

Patty made a notation of the tune that was kindly provided to me by Mark Crabtree.


   Back in January, 1986, I wrote a tab piece for the Banjo NewsLetter called "Flying Lehigh Bells" (medley of "Flying Clouds", "Upper Lehigh" and "Silver Bells"). Now 36 years later, I probably don't play it exactly like the tab. Here's my take (aDAde).


RG - Posted - 04/07/2022:  22:00:10

Wow, what a great tune! Really enjoyed that Carl!

Nic Pennsylvania - Posted - 04/08/2022:  04:46:07

I have this great old book and I turned to it hoping to find more information on this Peter Kraus. Unfortunately, he doesn't appear in here...

WVDreamin - Posted - 04/08/2022:  10:06:17

I played this at Clifftop with some of the Pennsylvania folks (you may have been part of the jam, I'll have to check my notes) and I remember writing this one down on my list band adding "good one for a dance band." Thanks for reminding me to learn it!

JanetB - Posted - 04/08/2022:  21:44:53

A pleasant surprise, Carl, to hear a lively polka from you. Is there still a Brandywine festival and do you still attend? The date you first heard it makes you and I both rather "old-time." I was just learning banjo in 1974, two years into college. Then you published a tab in 1986. And now it's 2022. That's a long time we've been playing, but I'm glad you've resurrected the tune and that it's on Slippery Hill with other Pennsylvania tunes which I didn't know about.

Clarence "Peter" Krause played it a half step away from G, so here's an arrangement in a variant of G tuning Anita Kermode calls "guitar tuning"-- gDGBE -- with cello banjo accompaniment. That allowed me to play up to the 5th fret rather than the 7th. I'm going to apologize for some static noise in the recording -- I'm not sure what's going on with my Zoom H4n recorder. The cello banjo accompaniment was added with Garage Band.

carlb - Posted - 04/09/2022:  04:39:33


Originally posted by JanetB

.Is there still a Brandywine festival and do you still attend?................

Clarence "Peter" Krause..

The last original festival was in 1993, as I remember, or close to that year. Clare Milliner, a number of years ago started a festival called the Brandywine Revival, which is mostly jamming, but with one performance and square dancing. However, unlike the original festival, which was on the 3rd weekend in July, she decided to have it on the 3rd weekend in June, usually the same weekend as the West Virginia State Folk Festival in Glenville (which starts on the 3rd Thursday in June) and which I've been attending since 1973 (only missed two). As a result, I've only made Clare's festival once.

I'm pretty sure the Peter's last name is spelled without the "e". If you check the Slippery-Hill recordings, for many other tunes his name is listed without the "e". If you do a search for "Kraus" you'll find a number of his tunes and if you search for "Krause", you'll find a few more and his introduction.

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