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Blackberry Blossoms

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- Play count: 246

Size: 1,562kb, uploaded 3/7/2013 11:25:36 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Note this is Blossoms, plural. Not the bluegrass standard. I first heard this from Ray Bierl who would pull it out for dances, and this is pretty much what I worked out on the fly at the time.

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Boatin' up Sandy - Snake Chapman version

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Size: 1,725kb, uploaded 5/3/2013 10:28:40 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Stefan Curl, banjo and fiddle. The tune is Boatin' up Sandy, from Snake Chapman's CD Walnut Gap. It's SO different than the usual version! This is mostly me experimenting with a home audio mixer, with Audacity on my computer (thus the fumbling at the beginning especially, and the amateur fiddle playing).

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British Field March

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- Play count: 310

Size: 873kb, uploaded 1/17/2011 11:38:45 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Originally from Henry Reed. I first learned this from Bertam Levy, and relearned it later from Irene Hermann. Yes, it's played quite a bit faster than a "March" tempo - maybe it should be called a "Gallop!"

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Come Back Boys and Feed the Horses - A modal clawhammer

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- Play count: 656

Size: 933kb, uploaded 6/17/2012 11:55:09 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This is my attempt at this scrambled-sounded tune, from the CD of the same name by Christian Whig with Mark Ward. You can hear his version here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00693NAYK/ref=dm_dp_trk11?ie=UTF8&qid=1340001648&sr=301-1

Mr. Wig almost certainly got it from Tom Whit, which version is in the Milliner-Koken Collection (I didn't try that one though) and a sample of Mr. Whit's playing is here: http://slippery-hill.com/M-K/

The first part is a straight-forwarding Highlander bit, but it gets weird after that! There is a 5 beat bridge, then the second part is missing the *first*, front, beat the first time through.

I hope I approximated it close enough! - it was easy to wander adrift especially in the second part, and I ended the tune because of it (which is fine - I tend to play too long anyway!)

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Cuckoo's Nest in A

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- Play count: 926

Size: 2,433kb, uploaded 2/14/2011 1:00:43 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This is an 'American' version. I learned this from Nancy Neithammer many years ago, and she got it from the playing of an Illinois fiddler whose name, sadly, I've forgotten - if anyone knows please let me enlighten me. I play it somewhat 'notey', but I've never been able to reduce it to a more spare sound and have it sound right. It *could* be simplified but then it just doesn't sound like itself. Funny how some tunes are like that - they really seem to *want* to be played a certain way... That high note pull-off in the first part? On the fiddle, it's played as a quick *down* slide then open, and really suggests the plaintive coo of a dove or, well, cuckoo. It isn't clear enough on the banjo so I don't try it.

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Ducks on the Pond

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- Play count: 430

Size: 1,208kb, uploaded 1/18/2011 12:02:01 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

An old standard that I still like to play.

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Half Past Four

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- Play count: 167

Size: 1,255kb, uploaded 2/7/2013 10:47:07 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This is the audio portion of a recently uploaded video. The tune is Half Past Four, and my version is inspired mostly by the Clare Milliner/Walt Koken version available on YouTube, and also by the various excellent posts on the TOTW article featuring this tune. ====== I use a couple techniques (ok, "gimmicks") here. There's the 'cluck' of course sometimes in the first (high) part. But also in the low part there is a resonant chord when playing that A -> C# -> D -> C# line. It's not a strum but instead I'm hitting *alternate* strings - in this case the 3rd (where the notes are played) and 1st strings while skipping the 4th and 2nd. I do this by separating my fingers slightly and downpicking with my middle and index fingers simultaneously. I find this can be overdone easily, but in some tunes - like this one - it works nicely as a regular part of the tune. ==== Less esoteric, I'll sometimes bounce between a melody on the first string and the open 3rd string (A). Makes for a nice low 'boing' effect. ==== A third trick/gimmick is used in the first part when sliding the 2nd string to the 3rd fret (C#, slide to E). That is pretty commonly used, but what I do different here is to slide after hitting the second string with my *thumb*. Sometimes I'll do a couple double-thumbs in a row, hitting the open first string with index or middle finger, then sliding the thumbed second string (fretted at the second fret/D#) up to the same note. This makes for a messy yet rhythmic dissonance I like a lot :-) ====

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Hamblen #12 - 'untitled tune' on Page 12 of The Hamblen Collection

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- Play count: 513

Size: 2,206kb, uploaded 2/23/2011 11:18:02 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

From the Hamblen Collection, a collection of tunes originally played by David Hamblen (1809-1893) and notated by his grandson A. Porter Hamblen. There are no historic recordings of this tune that I'm aware of and I learned it entirely from the page - a laborious process for me! Many of the melodies in the Collection require a certain amount of 'creative interpretation', but I play this one pretty close to the score. The pattern is AABBC. The 'AABB' parts are square (or should be, even though they don't exactly sound that way) and the 'C' part is very similar to the 'A' part with an extra beat. I've since heard a very nice version of this on Christian Wig's "Chadwell's Station" CD (an album I highly recommend by the way). This is to replace an earlier attempt which wasn't well recorded.

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Hannah at the Springhouse

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- Play count: 463

Size: 2,436kb, uploaded 1/29/2011 12:59:19 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

A current favorite. This really is a *fiddle* tune - a lovely and haunting one. Normally I play quite a bit differently when fitting in with another instrument. But instead this is me trying to be a little more accurate with the melody, and trying to sound like the version I heard on Christian Wig's "Lost Indian" CD, and he got it from Melvin Wine of course. The structure is interesting. AAbAACC is a good guess (though I don't actually start and stop it in those places here). The low 'A' part is played twice, then just three beats for 'b', a short 'howl' (the fiddle plays a low A I don't have on the banjo - unfortunately), then two 'A'-parts again, then the 'C's

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High Up On Tug - from Edden Hammons

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- Play count: 528

Size: 1,912kb, uploaded 5/25/2013 1:35:16 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Stefan Curl, banjo and fiddle From Edden Hammons The fiddle part was really hard to learn and play - but the banjo turned out to be surprisingly simple and not hard to play. Go figure..

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John Brown's Dream

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Size: 2,139kb, uploaded 2/21/2013 2:05:40 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

My 'version' of JBD - not quite the classic tune, but close in feel I think. Note this is the audio version of a previously uploaded video.

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John Brown's March

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Size: 1,776kb, uploaded 2/3/2011 12:37:16 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

While trying to figure out the banjoistic nuances for some other tunes, I was inspired to play John Brown's March. This is one of the very first tunes I ever learned on the banjo, from Bertram Levy many years ago. I think the tune is originally from Henry Reed. You can hear a nice version of this by Bertram and the Hollow Rock String Band, here: http://www.aca-dla.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/Warren43&CISOPTR=1894&CISOBOX=1&REC=5 And Greg & Jere Canote have a very accessible version (complete with tablature) here (just search on the title): http://www.stringband.mossyroof.com/

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Last of Harris

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- Play count: 183

Size: 1,814kb, uploaded 6/4/2012 11:33:26 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This is 'Last of Harris' as played by John Salyer (or, as close as I could get!). I really liked the D chord sound on the fiddle, so instead of playing this G tune out of open G - which never felt quite *right* - I tuned the banjo to open D (C capoed up) but tuned the fifth string down to G, like this: EDADg (first to fifth), and played it in G in that tuning. That G fifth string helps it feel more G-ish and also is handy for a couple playin' notes. The hardest part is in the low-notes. There is a quick 5->2 pull-off on the fourth string, 2->5 hammer ons, and since it really is - after all - in *G*, one needs to get quickly back to the fourth string at the 5th fret (G), to at least give a hint that the tunes ends on that note. I like this open, almost modal sound! Let me know what you think.

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Last of Harris - simplified version

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- Play count: 109

Size: 814kb, uploaded 6/5/2012 11:41:54 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Simpler version of the previously posted tune, Last of Harris (as played by John Salyer). Like that one, this is played in G but in 'open D' tuning but with 5th string at G (EDADg, first to fifth). This version has none of the awkward POs and HOs on the 4th string. Personally I think this version really preserves the character of the tune with the spareness adding a nice quality.

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O'Sullivan's Hollow

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- Play count: 256

Size: 994kb, uploaded 6/6/2012 11:27:48 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

For fun, a 'jig' version of Sullivan's Hollow :-)

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Old Aunt Jenny with her Nightcap on

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- Play count: 300

Size: 1,701kb, uploaded 2/14/2011 12:07:07 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

From Scott Prouty's CD 'Puncheon Floor', which I *highly* recommend

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Old Chattanooga

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- Play count: 170

Size: 1,718kb, uploaded 3/6/2013 11:46:18 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

From the playing of Blaine Smith. However I play it 'square' (AABB) while Mr. Smith plays it more like AAAAAAB (I lost count of the A's)

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Over the Waterfall, played on fiddle by Franklin George. With third part.

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- Play count: 63

Size: 683kb, uploaded 1/6/2014 9:16:03 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Other

Franklin George, recorded at the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention (BOTMC) 2013. This was at a noisy jam in the lobby, thus the poor sound quality. Uploaded for the January 4 TOTW, as a reference.

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Race the River Jordan

Written/Posted by slc

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- Play count: 291

Size: 1,604kb, uploaded 1/18/2011 12:33:49 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This is a tune I wrote on the banjo some years ago. Mark Simos used the title for one of his wonderful songs on his CD with the same title (and later recorded the tune itself - played better than I ever could - on a subsequent CD).

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Shady Grove

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- Play count: 216

Size: 1,813kb, uploaded 3/3/2013 9:18:01 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

One I've known forever. Not sure where the second part came from - either I mangled a real second part, or pulled it out of thin air!

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