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Cacklin' Hen with Wry Whiskey

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 836

Size: 1,482kb, uploaded 12/2/2013 5:58:31 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

I love chicken tunes. I made this recording of the old barnyard stalwart in March, 1998, with my friends Brian Clancey and Tom Speth. We called our trio Wry Whiskey. Uploaded for the TOTW for 11/29/13.

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Cherry River Line from Clifftop 2012

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 1511

Size: 2,192kb, uploaded 9/17/2012 6:08:12 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

The last night of Clifftop, Don Couchie and I sat down to pick some tunes with Ralph Roberts, an old time West Virginia fiddler who lives near the festival. Ralph knows a whole bunch of tunes that are old, old, that you rarely or never hear anyone else play. This tune, Cherry River Line, is an example of an old mountain song that has evolved into a fiddle tune. I am playing three finger style banjo, winging it as best I can, and Don is playing rhythm guitar.

4 comments

Coleman's March from Clifftop 2012

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 960

Size: 2,410kb, uploaded 8/21/2012 7:45:57 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

According to the Fiddler's Companion, Joe Coleman was a shoemaker from Adair County in south central Kentucky, who in 1899 was convicted of murdering his wife. Claiming his innocence to the last, he reportedly played this tune while riding in the cart, sitting on his coffin on the way to the gallows. Don Couchie and I played it at our first jam session on Geezer Hill. Don is playing fiddle, I am three finger picking in open D on my semi-fretless Tubaphone.

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Cookhouse Joe from Clifftop 2010

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 1230

Size: 1,358kb, uploaded 8/29/2010 7:37:43 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Early Sunday morning, it was time to pack up and leave, after a full week of good Clifftop picking. Don Couchie was heading down to Galax, and I was starting the long drive back to Boston. Jim Reed had already gotten up very early and headed back home before either of us had woken up. As the last of the gear got stowed away, Don and I sat down for one last tune, Cookhouse Joe, an old-time fiddle tune from Southeastern Kentucky. On the way out, we stopped at the Lodge to eat up the last of the biscuits and gravy. Until next year...

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Cotton Eyed Joe with Brian Clancey

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 233

Size: 1,528kb, uploaded 3/28/2013 5:46:32 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

I made this recording of the old mountain hoedown version of the tune Cotten Eyed Joe in my living room back in 1997, with my friend Brian Clancey, who now backs up fiddler Robin Warren. They go by the name Spirit Fiddle. I was playing a Paramount banjo with a semi-fretless neck I made myself, tuned in G Variant tuning (gDGAD).

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Cripple Creek with Ed Britt

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 3761

Size: 1,903kb, uploaded 9/11/2008 10:29:30 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

As long as I can still hold a banjo in my tired old hands, if I can still play this tune, I will be okay with it. This is the tune that got me hooked on picking, and it is still the best banjo tune there is, and I'm not afraid to say so. This is our take on it, Ed Britt and me, and we hope you like it. I'm playing my new old Ode, and Ed is picking his Ome, and we are both in open G tuning. Recorded on my Tascam DR-1, no fancy microphones, nothing.

16 comments

Cumberland Gap from Clifftop 2012

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 553

Size: 945kb, uploaded 10/7/2012 3:44:42 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Another tune from our Clifftop jam with Ralph Roberts. Ralph knows a lot of rare old tunes, but he plays the chesnuts with equal enthusiam; this is his version of Cumberland Gap. Don Couchie is playing rhythm guitar, and I am trying to get straight with some three finger style old time banjo.

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Deep River Blues with Ed Britt

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 1261

Size: 2,376kb, uploaded 6/3/2012 5:38:19 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This was one of Doc Watson's signature tunes, which he elegantly fingerpicked on guitar. It was originally recorded by the Delmore Brothers in 1933 as Big River Blues. Ed Britt is playing clawhammer style in double C, capoed on the 2nd fret, and doing the singing, while I'm fingerpicking in open D.

9 comments

Dry and Dusty from Clifftop 2012

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 1056

Size: 1,850kb, uploaded 8/24/2012 9:16:18 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Dry and Dusty is a Missouri/Arkansas fiddle tune that comes from the repertoire of twin brothers Apsie (1876-1964) and Abbie Morrison (1876-1965), both fiddlers from Searcy County, Arkansas. This is another recording from one of my jams with Don Couchie up on Geezer Hill. Don is fiddling, I am three finger picking my semi-fretless Tubaphone in open D tuning.

7 comments

Ebb and Flow

Posted by Don Borchelt, written by Carl Jones

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- Play count: 234

Size: 1,911kb, uploaded 1/27/2014 1:43:26 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This recording of Carl Jones's new old-time classic is from a jam back in December, 2013, with my Boston area pals John Reddick, Linda Henry, Jerry Dallal, Mike Roguska, and of course, Ed Britt. Three fiddles, two banjos, and one guitar. Recorded on my Tascam DR-1.

3 comments

Fine Times at Our House from Clifftop 2011

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 554

Size: 1,943kb, uploaded 8/14/2011 9:46:50 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This is another recording made with Don Couchie on Sunday morning at Clifftop 2011, after we had packed our gear to leave. This is from the repertoire of the legendary West Virginia fiddler Edden Hammons. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the title of the tune refers to a baby being born. That would explain the lyric "Fine times at our house, Katie’s got a little one, bless its little soul, it’s another little pretty one." That's just how I always felt about it, I remember those moments like it was yesterday. Key of A, sort of mixolydian; Don is playing fiddle, I am playing three finger style banjo on my short-scale, semi-fretless Paramount.

3 comments

Fireball Mail with Wry Whiskey

Posted by Don Borchelt, written by Fred Rose

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- Play count: 2492

Size: 2,970kb, uploaded 5/28/2009 4:17:20 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Well, since you all tolerated my singing on that last one, I thought I'd post another from my days some ten years ago picking with Brian Clancey and Tom Speth. This is not your 'grass Fireball Mail, I'm afraid. Brian is playing finger style guitar here, a sound I really like with three-finger style banjo. Banjo is a semi-fretless Paramount in open D.

11 comments

Five Miles from Town

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 907

Size: 1,609kb, uploaded 7/1/2011 4:44:10 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

I first heard this tune a few years ago at a the old time music jam at Sandy’s Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jon Gersh and Kathy Fletcher, who have led the jam for quite a few years now, were kind enough to record this with me in their basement studio. Kathy is playing fiddle, Jon is playing banjo clawhammer style, and I am playing three finger style, in open D tuning. Jon and Kathy are known around Boston as Planet Banjo, and have an old time group called the Dixie Butterhounds.

7 comments

Greasy Coat from Clifftop 2010

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 1926

Size: 2,621kb, uploaded 8/9/2010 2:28:53 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Made this recording at Clifftop, 2010, with my pals Don Couchie and Jim Reed. They are two phenomenal pickers. Jim is playing his 1925 ball-bearing Mastertone, Don is playing Chip Arnold's 1969 Baldwin. I'm using my 1964 Ode. Jim just picked this up a few minutes before I recorded the session. Jim and I are playing three-finger style, while Don is playing clawhammer style.

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Half Past Four with Ed Britt

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 1197

Size: 2,763kb, uploaded 7/23/2016 12:20:43 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This tune comes from the repertoire of famed Kentucky fiddler Ed Haley (1883-1951). Ed Britt and I recorded this back in November, 2014. Ed is picking clawhammer style on his OME Columbine, in open G tuning, capoed on the second fret. I am three finger picking my semi-fretless short scale Paramount, in an A variant tuning (aEABE).

4 comments

Hard Times from Lowell 2008

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 1827

Size: 3,172kb, uploaded 9/7/2008 6:52:20 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Ed Britt and I went up to the Lowell Fiddle and Banjo Contest yesterday, and brought the remnants of hurricane Hannah with us. The contest was driven inside the high school, which cut down on the jamming. We did have a nice session with fiddler Barkev Kaligian, from Lexington, Mass. This is us playing in a hallway between the lockers and water bubblers. The recording is a little "boomy" as a result, but I hope still fun to listen to. This is the Stephen Foster Hard Times, recorded on my Tascam DR-1. I am playing my "new" 1964 Ode that Ed uncovered for me. I haven't put a semi-fretless plate on it- yet.

5 comments

Hobb Dye

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 81

Size: 2,802kb, uploaded 7/3/2015 5:00:31 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

I played this tune last night at a jam session with some friends of mine, and recorded it on my smart phone, so I could upload it for the Old Time TOTW for 6/19/15. Okay, so I'm two weeks late, but us banjo pickers are busy people! Linda Henry and John Reddick are playing fiddle, Jerry Dallal is playing guitar, I am three finger picking on my 1902 Fairbanks Whyte Laydie, and Ed Britt is clawhammering on his Ome.

1 comment

Home Sweet Home from Clifftop 2012

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 310

Size: 1,614kb, uploaded 10/6/2012 6:51:31 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

For a region that has seen generations of young people move away to find work in far away auto plants and steel mills, and in uniform, the song Home Sweet Home has a deep meaning lost on most of us today. The song has been around since before the Civil War, and you will find it in the repertoire of most musicians whose roots are in Appalachia. It is most often played as an instrumental; the song is so familiar, the singing of it is unnecessary. This is from our Clifftop jam with West Virginia fiddler Ralph Roberts. Don Couchie is playing rhythm guitar, and I am following along with some three finger style old time banjo.

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John Riley the Shepherd from Clifftop 2011

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 1526

Size: 1,425kb, uploaded 8/11/2011 10:48:36 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This tune comes from fiddler Art Stamper. It feels like A Dorian, but it does not use the third degree of the scale, so it is hard to say for sure. My friend Tim Rowell recorded this tune with me at Clifftop 2011 one afternoon, at his campsite. He is playing clawhammer, while I am picking three-finger style. We both first heard this on Adam Hurt's inspiring Earthtones CD (engineered by BHO's own Paul Roberts), but ended up going back to Stamper to learn it.

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John's Tune from Clifftop 2012

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 1344

Size: 1,775kb, uploaded 9/28/2012 7:08:46 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

The very best fiddle tunes are often the plain and simple ones that you just can't get out of your head. Weeks after the jam that Don Couchie and I had at Clifftop with fiddler Ralph Roberts, I find myself humming John's Tune, an old time melody that Ralph learned from his grandfather. Don and I both felt that the moment spent picking that tune with Ralph was for us the best two minutes of the whole festival. Don Couchie is backing up on guitar, I am picking three finger style on my semi-fretless Tubaphone in open G.

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