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Blackest Crow (an Ozark love song)

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- Play count: 588

Size: 3,103kb, uploaded 1/4/2011 11:23:47 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Max Hunter collected hundreds of folk songs in the Ozark region. He collected this version of Blackest Crow from an elderly couple, Benton and Fleecie Fox who lived near Leslie, Ark. They sang it together, as for each other, acapella. The call/response thing is our idea. The melody and time signature is nothing like Tommy Jarrell's great and well travelled version. The reknowned Missouri duo, Kim and Jim Lansford have recorded this as "As Time Draws Near". They sing it more upbeat than we do. We try for bittersweet but theirs has great energy and emotion. The original field recording is now part of the huge Max Hunter collection at Mo. State Univ., Springfield.

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Blue Mountain (A Gen-u-ine Cowgirl Song)

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- Play count: 348

Size: 3,348kb, uploaded 1/15/2011 8:08:18 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This is one of my very favorite songs that Bassora sings. We're influenced by that cowpoke from the Big Sky Country of New Hampshire, Skip Gorman. Although it was written by a male judge in 19th century Utah Territory, we love the gender flip. Linda Jo gets a real thrill dancing with those "Mormon boys". Wonder what Brigham Young would think!

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Dixie

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- Play count: 521

Size: 1,884kb, uploaded 1/13/2010 8:16:49 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

The Bluegill Buddies live adjacent to that region of Missouri affectionately known as "Little Dixie". The combination of the old nylagut strung banjo and the lute-like octave mandolin restores the tune with a feel a bit closer to the era in which Dan Emmett composed it. The banjo was restored by Colin Blair of MusicFolk in St. Louis, Mo, complete with a calfskin head. Banjo is tuned down 5 half steps.

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Free Little Bird As I Can Be

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- Play count: 260

Size: 2,748kb, uploaded 1/4/2011 7:45:30 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

The Bluegill Buddies often open performances with this rousing "play party" song. If the audience doesn't pack up and flee, we know we'll have a good time.

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Girl I Left Behind (my 1st fiddle recording)

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- Play count: 226

Size: 1,994kb, uploaded 1/1/2011 9:49:21 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This will be my only fiddle post on banjo hangout. A lot of members have wondered if learning fiddle would help their banjo playing and I must give a resounding "yes!" for an answer. Also, my alpha-fiddler and I get into spats now and then and don't play together for months. So until we act mature and apologize to each other, somebody has to play the fiddle on occasion. Why can't fiddlers be normal like us banjo players?

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Give Me Your Hand - banjo solo

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- Play count: 502

Size: 2,476kb, uploaded 11/30/2009 10:11:17 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

A Celtic harp tune composed in 1690 by Rory O'Dowd. Learned from a Chieftains recording. Lovingly dedicated to Linda Jo "Bassora" for obvious reasons.

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If I Needed You(A "retro-grassed" song)

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- Play count: 212

Size: 3,079kb, uploaded 1/4/2011 7:57:12 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

One of the few modern songwriters to approach A.P. Carter's spellbinding weirdness is the late Townes Van Zandt. That's why we include this two guitar arrangement at banjo hangout. Linda Jo really goes after after maybelle's guitar sound on her f-hole archtop and I sing about as bad as A.P. We have a video of another Carter Family song, with banjo and autoharp on Bassora's home video page.

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My Ozark Mountain Home

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- Play count: 285

Size: 3,504kb, uploaded 1/15/2011 8:19:26 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Recorded back in the 1930s by George Edgin's Arkansas Corn Dodgers. Possibly the first recorded song specifically about the Ozarks, although in actuality it's really a "mother" song. By coincidence, I sing it in key of F just as Mr. Edgin did. We do hope that you detect a little bit of "homesickness" in our performance now that we live in central Missouri, almost out of the Ozark region.

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Possum's Tail Is Bare

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- Play count: 497

Size: 1,742kb, uploaded 1/15/2011 7:59:39 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

We find this Melvin Wine fiddle tune irresistible. A pal of mine recorded Jimmy Triplett playing it at a workshop and brought it to our attention. I'm playing my 1927 Gibson resonator banjo capoed up two frets. It's the only banjo I've ever owned that sounds as good capoed as without one.

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RoaringRiver - original composition

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Size: 1,371kb, uploaded 1/13/2010 8:39:36 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

"RoaringRiver" was composed after a trip by the Bluegill Buddies to Roaring River State Park down in Barry County, Missouri. The raucous appearance of an armadillo in the campground provided the inspiration. I am frailing a Bart Reiter Standard (not the Whyte Laydie) banjo. Silk and steel strings on the old pre-WWI Lakewood parlor guitar help Linda Jo thump out the rhythm. We're tuned down a full step to "F" with "G" fingering.

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Sail Away Ladies (folk song duet)

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- Play count: 270

Size: 3,528kb, uploaded 1/1/2011 8:46:55 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Linda Jo and I sing this in key of E to suit our voices. The third part is sort of based on Missouri fiddler Gene Goforth's setting which used the unusual minor chord, but he used a standard fiddle key. We can't wait 'til Feo overdubs a fiddle part to this!

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Shady Grove (banjo song w/octave mandolin and ghost harmony)

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- Play count: 399

Size: 3,835kb, uploaded 1/15/2011 8:43:29 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Not everybody likes our version of this well-travelled banjo song. Some say it's "pseudo-Celtic" and others too "new agey" and fiddlers are annoyed with the key of E minor. What we were aiming for was a haunting sound similar to how I once heard it performed by an amateur family band down in the Arkansas Ozarks. Hey, it's the "folk process"!

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Three Old Men At a Crossing (an Ozark family tale)

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- Play count: 208

Size: 3,104kb, uploaded 1/7/2011 12:38:45 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

My partner, Linda Jo Webb (Bassora) wrote this song. The two branches of her family, the Webbs and Dowdens trace their roots to the first whyte settlers in what is now Reynolds and Wright counties in Missouri. She likes to joke they were killing each other before the Civil War made it fashionable. As the 20th century got under way, the Ozarks found itself peaceable if not entirely prosperous. Young men found new ways of seeking adventure; Bassora's dad and uncles would hop the freight trains struggling up the grade at Camel's Hump. On a good day they could make it all the way to the big city of Joplin. This song asks questions. Had these three men lived to old age, would they have have tried to relive their youth by attempting one last dangerous hobo journey? And what about those of us not yet old? Will we be willing to "take that one last ride"? The song is in key of F. I'm playing G with the whyte ladye banjo down a step. Linda Jo is using a C structure on her parlor guitar capoed 5 frets up.

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Waitin'For ATrain (Jimmie Rodgers goes OT)

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- Play count: 264

Size: 3,011kb, uploaded 1/4/2011 8:22:16 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

In his all too short recording career, Jimmie rarely used banjo in arrangements. When he did, it was usually plectrum, not 5 string. So we went with a Carter Family/Poole arrangement. We got real jolt out of using our depression era instruments. Of course Linda Jo is the vocalist, not me.

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When You And I Were Young Maggie (two banjos)

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- Play count: 396

Size: 2,714kb, uploaded 1/13/2010 8:31:20 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This is from a jam session -- we had never played this tune together before. The first banjo is "Feo" Jimmy Allen playing a short scale banjo strung with fishing line. my banjo part is the lower one. We are both finger picking albiet using different methods. Guitar played by Kevin Kennedy. Recorded in his yard in Morgan County, Mo. by "Bassora"

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Wild Hog In The Woods (banjo and mandocello)

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- Play count: 214

Size: 3,971kb, uploaded 1/1/2011 8:38:29 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

No surprise that I learned this from the "Fuzzies" via Taylor Kimble of Virginia. The surprise is the backup by Linda Jo(Bassora) on Mandocello which adds great effect. I'm using "sawmill tuning" dropped 3 half steps for key of e minor.

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Wild Horse

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- Play count: 314

Size: 1,681kb, uploaded 1/15/2011 7:52:49 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Our take on the Kentucky fiddle /banjo tune. In WV and Va it's called Stoney Pointe and Henry Reed recorded it as such. In the Missouri Ozarks, there is a controversy concerning non-native "wild horses" roeming in the Ozark Nat'l Scenic Riverways National Park, so we went with that name. I'm playing the Reiter Regent and Linda Jo plays her old Lakewood parlor guitar. We only play the 4th part of the tune once.

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Yew Piney Mountain

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- Play count: 493

Size: 1,807kb, uploaded 1/4/2011 8:41:59 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Some of my favorite old time WV banjo players used resonator banjos, so I went with my old Gibson. Linda Jo is capoed three playing E minor to work with my G modal setting. We're trying to be intense.

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