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Home Sweet Home from Clifftop 2012

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 373

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: 1562

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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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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Last Chance from Clifftop 2009

Posted by Don Borchelt

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Size: 3,010kb, uploaded 8/2/2009 5:29:48 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

I just returned from Clifftop, where I had the honor and pleasure of camping next to BHO member Don Couchie, from North Bay, Ontario. We swapped tunes for most of the week. Don is an extremely talented picker, and can pick up a new tune far faster and better than I can. He had only played Last Chance on the fiddle for just a few minutes of warm up before I turned on the recorder. Just plain amazing. My Paramount semi-fretless is tuned aEABE.

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Last Shot Got Him

Posted by Don Borchelt

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Size: 1,661kb, uploaded 5/11/2018 7:45:36 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Uploaded for the Old Time Tune of the Week for May 11, 2018. From the Mississippi Possum Hunters, whose 1930 recording was a sort of homage to Mississippi John Hurt.

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Little Birdie with Wry Whiskey

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 1000

Size: 3,828kb, uploaded 6/10/2012 8:14:15 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This recording was made in my living room in 1998. The guitar player was Brian Clancey, who now plays in a duet with fiddler Robin Warren as Spirit Fiddle. We experimented a lot with the mixing together of finger picked banjo and finger picked guitar, a sound I really like.

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Liza Jane with Wry Whiskey

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 1749

Size: 2,874kb, uploaded 10/31/2009 1:57:18 PM
Genre: Bluegrass / Playing Style: Bluegrass (Scruggs)

Well, there are some Richie Chaisson fans lurking out there, I just found out, so I rooted around my old digital files and found this recording of Liza Jane that Wry Whiskey recorded off the PA system, playing at a street fair one summer evening around 1999. Richie is on resophonic guitar, the late Gene Ketelhohn is picking guitar, and Tom Speth is on bass. I am playing my semi-fretless Paramount in open D tuning.

6 comments

Lovely Jane

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 117

Size: 1,008kb, uploaded 12/30/2019 6:55:41 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This is my first quick take on Melvin Wine's tune Lovely Jane, which I was inspired to figure out this past weekend after listening to Carl Baron and Janet Foster's wonderful versions posted for the Old Time Tune of the Week last Friday. This is clearly a close cousin to Doctor, Doctor, but more interesting.

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Mad as a Hornet

Posted by Don Borchelt, written by Owen "Snake" Chapman

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- Play count: 123

Size: 1,319kb, uploaded 4/16/2018 5:17:05 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

I worked this up today for this weeks Old Time Tune of the Week. This comes form Pikeville, Kentucky fiddler Owne "Snake" Chapman. I am picking three finger style on my 1928 semi-fretless Vega Tubaphone, tuned in open D (aDF#AD). That's a MIDI practice track of my own making playing in the background.

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Maggots in the Sheep Hide from Clifftop 2012

Posted by Don Borchelt

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Size: 2,806kb, uploaded 11/9/2012 8:16:05 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This is a tune from western Pennsylvania fiddler Sarah Armstrong, as transcribed by musicologist Samuel Bayard in his Hill Country Tunes collection, published in 1944. This recording comes from the Clifftop jam I had this past August with Don Couchie and Tim Rowell. Don is playing the fiddle, Tim is doing that neat low, growley clawhammer picking, and I am doing the three-finger picking on my semi-fretless Tubaphone in open D tuning.

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Martha Campbell from Clifftop 2012

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 206

Size: 2,314kb, uploaded 9/9/2012 9:00:48 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Martha Campbell is a tune from the repertoire of Doc Roberts (1897-1978), a Kentucky fiddler who was one of the first to make records in the mid-1920s. This recording comes from my Clifftop jam with Don Couchie and Tim Rowell. Don is fiddling, Tim is playing clawhammer style in double C, capoed on 2. I am three finger picking in open D on my semi-fretless Tubaphone.

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Midnight on the Water with Chris Muriel

Posted by Don Borchelt, written by Luke Thomasson

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- Play count: 770

Size: 3,105kb, uploaded 9/13/2012 7:55:39 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This old time waltz is generally credited to Texas fiddler Luke Thomasson. This comes from my jam this week with Ed Britt and Chris Muriel, who was in Boston on business and stopped by to pick a few tunes.

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Midnight On The Water with Ed Britt

Posted by Don Borchelt

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Size: 3,620kb, uploaded 1/29/2009 8:51:51 PM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Ed Britt and I try our hand at this old Texas waltz. I am playing my semi-fretless Tubaphone, in open D tuning, Ed is playing his Ome, in double C, capoed on the second fret.

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Mississippi Sawyer from Clifftop 2008

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 2089

Size: 2,678kb, uploaded 1/24/2009 5:23:45 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

I ran across this recording on my hard drive, from a jam Ed Britt and I had at Clifftop 2008 with fiddler/banjo picker Jim Costa, who is best known for his excellent Uncle Dave repertoire. You can really hear Ed's clawhammer picking on this one. This was outdoors under a tree, so you will have to forgive the occasional car driving by, and the conversations in the background. Ed had to surrender his natural VII chord on this one in favor of the old-timey V chord. When in Rome...

6 comments

Mississippi Sawyer from Clifftop 2012

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 313

Size: 2,510kb, uploaded 10/13/2012 5:25:31 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This is the last recording from the jam that Don Couchie and I had with West Virginia old time fiddler Ralph Roberts, the last night of Clifftop, at Ralph's camp up on Geezer Hill. There are a lot of reasons people come to the Clifftop festival, that's for sure, but I can tell you that Ralph comes to play music. Ralph plays the tunes he learned from his grandfather, the music of the working people of the West Virginia hills. It is our job to keep it going. I am playing three finger style banjo on this old warhorse, following as best I can, and Don is playing rhythm guitar.

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Needlecase from Clifftop 2009

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 414

Size: 1,820kb, uploaded 4/10/2010 6:08:51 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Don Couchie and I recorded this one evening at Clifftop last year, sitting around at our campsite. I didn't post it before this, because Don's elegant clawhammer picking, just perfect in person, didn't come through with enough volume on my little Tascam DR-1 for some reason. I have played with the levels a little bit to bring it out front more, and have uploaded it now for my contribution to the Tune of the Week for 4/9/10. I am playing in open D tuning on my Tubaphone; and I believe Don was in double C tuning capoed on 2, playing the metal rimmed banjo he borrowed from Reed Martin.

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Old Horse and Buggy from Clifftop 2012

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 151

Size: 2,596kb, uploaded 1/25/2016 6:19:10 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

This is another tune I recorded on my hand held Tascam DR-1 on last night of the Clifftop festival in August, 2012. BHO member Don Couchie and I sat down to pick some tunes with Ralph Roberts, an old time West Virginia fiddler from Frametown, West Virginia. Ralph's grandfather, John Roberts, was a cousin of the great Edden Hammons. I am playing three finger style banjo, keeping up as best I can, and Don is playing rhythm guitar.

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Old Joe Clark from Clifftop 2012

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 775

Size: 1,399kb, uploaded 10/3/2012 6:03:22 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Another good tune from our jam with West Virginia fiddler Ralph Roberts, at his camp on Geezer Hill. Ralph plays this the real old time way, with the fifth below the tonic instead of the natural seventh in the B part, and so do I. I guess that's why we got along so well. I am playing three finger style banjo, and Don Couchie is playing rhythm guitar.

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Old Yeller Dog with Mike Roguska

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 1197

Size: 3,321kb, uploaded 5/16/2010 6:09:37 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

The full title is Old Yeller Dog Came Trottiin' Through the Meeting House. Best I can tell, this tune comes from Charlie Acuff. The A part's similarity to Old Gray Mare is not coincidental. Anyway, this was recorded on my DR1 at the Monday night old time jam session at Sandy's Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The fiddle player is Mike Roguska. Mike first turned me onto this tune at the jam session a week or two before. The guitar player's name is George; I don't remember his last name, but I enjoyed picking with him. This is usually fiddled in G, but Mike plays it in A, so I used my short-scale, semi-fretless Paramount, tuned aEABE, which is a G variant tuning (gDGAD) tuned up a whole step.

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Over the Waterfall from Clifftop 2010

Posted by Don Borchelt

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- Play count: 2163

Size: 1,868kb, uploaded 8/16/2010 4:27:13 AM
Genre: Old Time / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Another tune from the marathon Clifftop banjo jam session involving Jim Reed, Don Couchie, and myself. Jim and I are both playing three finger style banjo, and Don C is playing clawhammer.

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