I recently developed a liking for fiddle/mandolin tunes. I never expected that I would enjoy playing them, it seemed totally out of reach for me (well, many still are but I plan to tackle them one by one). I always knew that Bill Monroe (and Kenny Baker) had some strong material in that category but right now I am totally thrilled by tunes such as "Jerusalem Ridge", "Southern Flavor", "My Last Days On Earth" or "Lonesome Moonlight Waltz" and I am sure there must be more.
I have Kenny Baker's "Master Fiddler" and "... Plays Bill Monroe" albums and some collections of very old Bill Monroe recordings from back when Lester Flatt was still with him. Do you have some suggestions for more fiddle/mandolin tunes or even whole albums of such tunes?
Thanks a lot!
1 word.... Youtube
I know that there is a lot of music on YouTube but I thought someone could save me listening to all of it to find Monroe mandolin/fiddle tunes.
Big Mon , Wheel Hoss , Old Dangerfield , Salt Creek
Bluegrass Instrumentals, Bill Monroe And His Bluegrass Boys
Edited by - RB3 on 05/25/2022 07:31:40
The album “Kenny Baker plays Bill Monroe.” Monroe was actually the ‘guest mandolin player on this one. All Monroe instrumentals...
Also Noam Pikelnys cover: “Noam Pikelny plays Kenny Baker…” Banjo takes over the the traditionally played fiddle breaks.
These tunes have kept me busy for a couple years
Edited by - AGACNP on 05/25/2022 10:35:53
Not sure if Kansas City Railroad Blues is one of Monroe's? The only recording I have of him doing this one is a bit "ragged" in construction...I prefer Nashville Bluegrass Bands "more squared off" version.
Edited by - AGACNP on 05/25/2022 10:41:31
Thought of a few more.
The Old Brown County Barn
Crossing the Cumberlands
Old Ebenezer Scrooge
Come Hither to Go Yonder
Evening Prayer Blues
Washington County (Washington and Lee Swing)…not certain this was written by Bill, someone more knowledgeable can weigh in.
Honky Tonk Swing
Dusty Miller (not sure he wrote this one)
The Bear Family sets.
Hi guys, thanks for all your suggestions, this will surely keep me busy for some time. I guess I will make a playlist of all these tunes and then will pick the ones I like the most. I also thought that perhaps I should ask some mandolin players I know that are Monroe fans. After all they are the people I would be most likely to play the tunes with.
I own both the "Kenny Baker play Bill Monroe" and the Noam Pikelny albums, very good material. The mention of "Wheel Hoss" also reminded me of the Bluegrass Album Band's instrumental record that has very good tunes on it.
Over the long week-end (Thursday was a holiday in Germany) I arranged "Jerusalem Ridge" for banjo based on Kenny Baker's recording. I am very happy with the result. I never thought I would be able to play this but our fiddler likes it and it has been very popular at our jams so I thought I'd give it a try. I still need to practice my own arrangement to get it clean and up to an acceptable speed but I now know that I can do it. "Jerusalem Ridge" is going to be a bit of an exception because I capture the entire fiddle melody almost note for note which required me to actually transcribe it in melodic style and to learn the whole thing by heart. For the last tunes I learned before "Jerusalem Ridge" I relied on a different process. I just made a backing track and then looped that and played along with it, first looking for the cardinal melody notes, then adding filler notes until I had a complete arrangement of the tune. This is also what I wanted to practice, to come up with a Scruggs style arrangement of a melody without taking a detour over any written representation of the music. After all that's what I ideally want to be able to do in a jam session. I always wanted to keep melodic style for later until I feel comfortable with Scruggs style.
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