Thanksgiving Week’s TOTW is "Porter’s Reel" from Stafford Harris (1927-2010)
Stafford was born and raised in Nacodoches County, Texas. He served as a pastor to numerous Missionary Baptist Churches in addition to playing the fiddle. When he learned this tune from his grandfather, it didn’t have a title. He named it after his father, Porter and originally called it “Porter’s Two Step”.
His version seems to have a distinctive Cajun flavor to it and can be found here:
I learned the tune from a Spencer and Rains Album: “The Old Texas Fiddle Vol II (Weird Tunes of Old Texas)”. Trisha Spencer is from Kansas and Howard Raines is from Texas. They have taken on the task of educating us all on the incredible old fiddle tunes from Texas and The Midwest.
Here are a couple of examples of their version:
At the Old Time Tiki Parlour with David Bragger and Susan Platz (Four Fiddles!):
I highly recommend any of their recordings, especially if you're interested in learning about Texas Fiddle Tunes/Fiddlers such as: Eck Robertson, Benny Thomas, Gary Lee Moore, Orville Burns.
Finally, here's a Banjo Version and Tab:
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving day.
That's a good one, I'm going to try it on banjar and fiddle. I always like my banjo tunes with a lot of pull offs and hammer ons.
Thanks for choosing this tune. We play it at the local session and it's one of my favourites. Here is a fretless version.
this is one of my very favorite tunes. I heard it it first by Tricia and Howard at Mars Hill a couple of years ago, and it's rhythm and cajun flavor has stuck with me. A wonderful and talented team-----I'd certainly recommend all their albums.
Thanks, Pat, for a neat Texan tune. Spencer and Rains are already legends for me and Porter's Reel has taken off directly through their efforts. I like its Cajun flavor. Somehow, my video got lost in the BHO archive, so here is an embedded version.
I'm enjoying hearing everybody's banjo take on Porter's Reel! I'm the banjo player on "The Old Texas Fiddle, Vol. II", and it has occurred to me that I could possibly have been the first person to play this tune on the banjo, since banjo was not so prevalent in Texas as in, say, the Southern Appalachians. Of course, I might just be making that up, but it's kind of fun to think about. :-) Anyway, I've really enjoyed seeing this tune become so popular from our recording! It really has a Cajun feel to me too, and fits nicely on the banjo. Here's the track from our album mentioned above.
Edited by - BrendanD on 12/13/2020 21:52:42
@ BrendanD Thanks for posting that, Brendan. I have that CD but wasn't sure how to post the MP3. I think it's the best version available.
Edited by - banjukebox on 12/14/2020 09:11:58
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