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Midnight Moonlight

Posted by banjolander on Monday, August 17, 2015

In Pete Wernick's list of 100 top jam tunes (, he lists Peter Rowan's song "Midnight Moonlight".  But I have never heard this at any jam that I have attended.  I have a tab of Jerry Garcia's banjo break, which has a different chord pattern than the song.  There are also a half dozen audio clips posted to this site by Hangout members.  Does anyone really do this as a jam tune?  I'd like to work this up, but I don't want to spend the time if nobody's playing it.

6 comments on “Midnight Moonlight”

Texasbanjo Says:
Monday, August 17, 2015 @3:25:31 PM

It's not done in the West Texas area, in fact, I've only heard it once on a CD. Unless it's a fairly well known tune in your area, I wouldn't waste my time on it.

Just Bill Says:
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 @6:32:09 AM

I know several local and regional bands that have performed it. I have played it/performed it. But I have never heard it done in an open jam.

banjolander Says:
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 @7:56:01 AM

Thanks so much for your responses and suggestions. They are great appreciated!

Just Bill Says:
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 @8:59:23 AM

I saw your forum thread and certainly agree that it is quite popular. It is just a cool song and I enjoy playing it. 😊

realneal Says:
Friday, March 4, 2016 @10:15:03 AM

We have recently started doing this at the Monday night jam in Radford VA at my insistence. It turns out that some of the folks at the jam are in a band that does this song, so they know it well. I really like the Garcia banjo break, but it is very different from anything I have ever tried to learn. Even with the tablature, it is the most unorthodox, awkward, cumbersome, impossible thing I have ever tried to learn, bit I am going to keep trying to learn it...

banjolander Says:
Saturday, March 5, 2016 @8:19:30 AM

After I posted this originally, I was at a jam where "Midnight Moonlight" was actually played. Jerry Garcia had a unique banjo style. My approach is to ignore the tab except to get some ideas for licks. Most of his break is improvisation anyway. For this kind of thing, I usually play the recording back through some slow-downer software and try to approximate the sound with licks that are comfortable for me. I had to do this recently when one of my jam partners decided to start playing Alison Brown's "Poe's Pickin' Party".

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