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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Banjo Tunes with Soul?


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/390692

Spock88 - Posted - 05/26/2023:  17:13:28


Trying to find some bluesy, moody, soulful banjo tunes... was surprised to find this is incredibly hard. Everything is either incredibly over the top jolly sounding or completely void of emotion and all fast picking. But the banjo like any other stringed instrument is capable of minor chords, so where the heck are all the soulful tunes at?



I did manage to find this one, "Feeling Low" by Ross Nickerson which is an awesome tune, be cool to find some tabs for it. youtu.be/leC6cDWnXFI



Anyone know of any others? I've seen stuff like Waveland by Noem Pikelny, which is very cool. But that's more like something that should be queued up while at a Fairy Fountain in the legend of Zelda, rather than something I'm going to kick back and listen to and vibe with, if that makes sense. I should prob look into Noam a bit more, and revisit some Punch Brothers.  But anyone know of any specific tunes that would be more bluesy/moody sounding?


Edited by - Spock88 on 05/26/2023 17:38:45

jack_beuthin - Posted - 05/26/2023:  17:58:35


If you want some traditional Appalachian music with an edge to it, do some searching on Dock Boggs and Roscoe Holcomb. The Carolina Chocolate Drops also recorded a lot of soulful music (also follow up on the individual musical paths of former Chocolate Drop members).  Also, check out Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton.  Zac Sokolow puts out some YouTube videos in this realm too.  Also, look for stuff by the Ebony Hillbillies, Cedric Watson, Joe and Odell Thompson, and Murphy Gribble. There are many, many more.



Here's a playlist of the modal tunes I have posted on YouTube. Some have associated tabs (look for a link in the video description). Is this the sort of stuff you're looking for? If so, there is a whole world of banjo music like this--you just haven't found it yet.  With a few leads (like those above), you'll find your way there.



youtube.com/playlist?list=PL00...HDqBiqIs_

 


Edited by - jack_beuthin on 05/26/2023 17:59:04

thisoldman - Posted - 05/26/2023:  18:33:07


Blues Banjo book and zoom lessons by Sokolow.

jack_beuthin - Posted - 05/26/2023:  20:03:04


Spock 88, FYI: Fred Sokolow, who authored the Blues Banjo book, is Zac's dad. Both are banjo masters.

davidppp - Posted - 05/26/2023:  20:36:42


Michael Miles (milesmusic.org) plays many types of music, but blues is a big part of his repertoire.

banjukebox - Posted - 05/26/2023:  21:59:44


Try this one out: bluesy tune

Bob Buckingham - Posted - 05/27/2023:  06:12:04


Bluegrass or old time? I have taught old time banjo to many discouraged precious punk players who were looking for more soulful music. Frank Proffitt's banjo playing was understated but his vocals were soulful, Virgil Anderson played blues on the banjo as did Doc Boggs. Roscoe Holcomb, Tracy Schwarz, Art Rosenbaum and Mike Seeger played some fine soulful banjo. Morgan Sexton and Lee Sexton played some mighty fine and soul banjo numbers as did Lilly Mae Ledford and John Haywood is doing it presently with a strong new recording out. Brett Ratliff is another picker I like a lot.

cfheery - Posted - 05/27/2023:  06:52:39


Check out this album, Intermodal Blues by Michael Rossetto

shiftingparadigmrecords.bandca...dal-blues

JSB88 - Posted - 05/27/2023:  08:20:03


Jack Beuthin has some blusey tunes in his 100 tunes with tab over in the 'other clawhammer related' topics. His 'Walking Boss' and Bol Weevil blues spring to mind. As does Josh Turknetts version of Bol Weevil blues. And as already mentioned, Doc Boggs.

carlb - Posted - 05/27/2023:  08:59:13


I'm with Jack on this. His list is good. I find some songs, in modal tunings, can really get to my soul. It's both the words and the music. Once in a while there are songs in major keys that also get to my soul: "Tear Down the Fences" by Ola Belle Reed and "Across the Great Divide" by Kate Wolf.

Wyrd - Posted - 05/27/2023:  10:27:43


Some of of the banjo playing of Charlie Poole (and the North Carolina Ramblers) might fit into what you're looking at.

"Old and Only in the Way" comes to mind: youtube.com/watch?v=SFF4ANolpAc

"Milwaukee Blues" might be another: youtube.com/watch?v=Mkckcztg6P4

blazo - Posted - 05/27/2023:  10:57:54


Have a listen to Mark Nerenberg. He plays excellent moody, bluesy clawhamer banjo, even throws in a harmonica.

amsweet - Posted - 05/27/2023:  11:06:23


Dan Gellert's music, which hasn't been mentioned yet, has soul to spare.

RG - Posted - 05/27/2023:  12:04:17


Andrew's got it right, Dan plays and sings about as soulful as you can get in my humble opinion, think Stax versus Motown soul...


Edited by - RG on 05/27/2023 12:04:56

JSB88 - Posted - 05/27/2023:  12:07:22


quote:

Originally posted by RG

Andrew's got it right, Dan plays and sings about as soulful as you can get in my humble opinion, think Stax versus Motown soul...






That is awesome 

davidppp - Posted - 05/27/2023:  14:41:21


Gus Cannon played a lot of slide banjo, but, if you want blues, you've pretty much got to sing it.  One of my all-time favorite recordings of any genre, any instrument, etc. features Noah Lewis vocal and harp (with Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers): youtube.com/watch?v=sfc8YD7ZMBo

davidppp - Posted - 05/27/2023:  16:15:50


Of course, if you're not afraid of making a fool of yourself, there's always DIY. Attached is an impromptu recording made with a laptop mic.


Tim Jumper - Posted - 05/27/2023:  17:33:03


Michael J. Miles, definitely; and then check out Mark Johnson with Emory Lester.

Lew H - Posted - 05/27/2023:  17:57:10


You might try what I've tried: Find some blues songs to sing and play on banjo. Faster blues work better on banjo for me, but you can speed up slow blues. Sometimes you need a recurring riff, as in Muddy Water's "Rollin' and Tumblin'." You can copy these from blues recordings or make up your own.

hobogal - Posted - 05/28/2023:  01:29:51


The Ross Nickerson video is classic bluesy bluegrass sound so you may be on the wrong forum! There are lots of these bluesy sounds in bluegrass - I'm guessing you've probably heard of The Steel Drivers: youtube.com/watch?v=8Q3Bo_Kz8qQ and the bands Blue Moon Rising and Blue Highway.  Then there is classic Ralph Stanley (Oh Death, Man of Constant Sorrow, False-Hearted Lover's Blues...) and Stanley-inspired bands like The Gillis Brothers: youtube.com/watch?v=c9lzKLZwoP0  Another classic song that has been covered by lots of artists: youtube.com/watch?v=JfpQt78NFC0


Edited by - hobogal on 05/28/2023 01:42:32

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/28/2023:  04:54:52


Lots of soulful and moody banjo music. Here's a few that come to mind.



Sarah jarosz - Lost Dog

Rhiannon Gibbons - Julie and numerous others.

David Eugene Edwards - Straw Foot On banjola here but almost all 16 Horsepower banjo tracks are moody

Pharis & Jason Romero - Souvenir the banjo really piles on the mood.



Darlingside - Whippoorwill in a band setting and an old Kay bottlecap sounding just right.



Joseph Decosimo - Wild Goose Chase two finger picking style - there are more styles than pedal to the metal bluegrass and fast clawhammer. On another cheap alumium bnajo now fretless.

 

davidppp - Posted - 05/28/2023:  07:13:06


Yes, as Hobogal wrote, "Then there is classic Ralph Stanley (Oh Death, Man of Constant Sorrow, False-Hearted Lover's Blues...)" 



My favorite sad one from Dr. Ralph is Rank Strangers.  They don't come more mournful.  I first heard it live, from him in ~1993.  At intermission, I asked whether he had it on CD.  "Why yes, young man."  He handed me the CD, I handed him $15, and he autographed it.

Lew H - Posted - 05/28/2023:  15:56:32


Spock88 You are getting diverse advice here. In looking back at your initial post, I realized that you posted in CH/oldtime, but give bluegrass examples. Maybe you can be more explicit. Do you want tunes, or singing songs, within the oldtime/clawhammer genre. Or, do you want to use CH/OT picking to play (and accompany singing) of act blues songs? I'm sure there's good useful advice among the responses to your post, but it's hard to say which are the useful ones for what you hope to do.

banjooud - Posted - 05/28/2023:  22:32:12


Check Frank Lee : youtube.com/watch?v=bXTBobRtwHk

And Steve Baughman. Two great artists
I quote again David Eugene Edwards, his banjo playing is exceptional, full of soul :
youtube.com/watch?v=Bcg5WnShwHQ

If you allow me, I share two of my compositions with you. Maybe you find them a bit different from what you usually hear on the banjo


Spock88 - Posted - 05/29/2023:  14:45:24


Wow, I hadnt had a chance to check the responses over the weekend. You guys are awesome! Some excellent suggestions. Thank you!

Spock88 - Posted - 05/29/2023:  14:46:48


quote:

Originally posted by jack_beuthin

If you want some traditional Appalachian music with an edge to it, do some searching on Dock Boggs and Roscoe Holcomb. The Carolina Chocolate Drops also recorded a lot of soulful music (also follow up on the individual musical paths of former Chocolate Drop members).  Also, check out Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton.  Zac Sokolow puts out some YouTube videos in this realm too.  Also, look for stuff by the Ebony Hillbillies, Cedric Watson, Joe and Odell Thompson, and Murphy Gribble. There are many, many more.



Here's a playlist of the modal tunes I have posted on YouTube. Some have associated tabs (look for a link in the video description). Is this the sort of stuff you're looking for? If so, there is a whole world of banjo music like this--you just haven't found it yet.  With a few leads (like those above), you'll find your way there.



youtube.com/playlist?list=PL00...HDqBiqIs_

 






These are amazing! Definitely gonna have to learn a few of these. You have some beautiful banjo's as well.

jack_beuthin - Posted - 05/31/2023:  13:57:19


Blazo mentioned Mark Nerernberg. Right on! And here is Mark's latest--a Robert Johnson tribute.



youtu.be/TIqayzf0DAg

Helix - Posted - 06/01/2023:  06:12:07


Try '52 Vincent.

Also the song at the end of Blazing Saddles is one of the finest I've heard done that way.
Who plays it? What song is it? Let your fingers do the talkin'

I knew a man both long and tall, moved his body like a cannonball. A bunch of titles and can be played to let the soul come through and back in again.

Try 500 miles.

davidppp - Posted - 06/02/2023:  08:04:25


Elk River Blues, played by Benny Bleu: youtube.com/watch?v=HoC0DsT-meQ

Andy B - Posted - 06/13/2023:  06:14:15


One more suggestion: “As Time Draws Near.” There are very soulful recordings by Tommy Jarrell and Riley Baugus; Bruce Molsky recorded the song under its other name, “The Blackest Crow.”

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