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Oct 7, 2022 - 9:05:15 AM
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John D

USA

447 posts since 11/3/2004

The TOTW for 10/7/22 is a Southern fiddle tune...... Ship in the Clouds. The source for SITC is Norman Edmonds (1889-1976, from Hillsville, Virginia.) On Slippery Hill is a recording of Norman and band playing the tune:

slippery-hill.com/content/ship-clouds


I learned the tune in the 90s by ear from a Gypsy Gypo String Band LP. They start the tune, as do I, by going through the B part once.
Their version is really different from Edmond's original:

gypsygyppostringband.bandcamp....he-clouds

I had never tried to learn a crooked tune before I tried to figure out SITC. It was crazy making trying to learn this tune! One version of the sheet music on Traditional Tune Archive has 6 measures for the A part and 7 measures, repeated once, for the B part. Another version has just one part 13 measures long:

tunearch.org/wiki/Ship_in_the_Clouds

For a guy who has been playing only square tunes for decades, SITC sounded unnatural and even a little perverse. Nevertheless, I took it on, and I ended up learning it, without sheet music, the old school way: Sitting on a chair by a turntable with a banjo and repeatedly playing the tune ad nauseam.

Here's some good versions from the BHO:

banjohangout.org/myhangout/med...archived=

banjohangout.org/myhangout/med...archived=


Here's my clunky CH version from 12 years ago:

banjohangout.org/myhangout/med...archived=

The title (but not the music) reminds me of a Phil Och's song from the 60s, The Highwayman. The lyric goes:

The wind was a torrent of darkness
Among the gusty trees
The moon was a ghostly galleon
Tossed upon cloudy seas

John D

Oct 7, 2022 - 1:20:14 PM
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carlb

USA

2430 posts since 12/16/2007

The version I learned back in 1973 was from the Kimble Family via Armin Barnett. The Gypsy Gypo String Band probably also learned it from the Taylor Kimble version on the LP "Eight Miles Apart", the Kimble and Shelor Families.

https://www.slippery-hill.com/content/ship-clouds-0

Edited by - carlb on 10/07/2022 13:29:25

Oct 7, 2022 - 3:11:21 PM
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RG

USA

3189 posts since 8/7/2008

Great choice! Liked that "clunky" CH version, sounds just right to me!

Edited by - RG on 10/07/2022 15:11:58

Oct 7, 2022 - 4:29:31 PM
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74 posts since 4/4/2021

quote:
Originally posted by RG

Great choice! Liked that "clunky" CH version, sounds just right to me!


Agreed!  If that's "clunky," I can only hope to be clunky someday.

Oct 7, 2022 - 8:29:52 PM

lapsteel

Canada

835 posts since 8/13/2015

Bob Carlin played a terrific version on the “Melodic Clawhammer Banjo “ record .

Oct 7, 2022 - 8:38:04 PM

74 posts since 4/4/2021

quote:
Originally posted by lapsteel

Bob Carlin played a terrific version on the “Melodic Clawhammer Banjo “ record .


I wish they would release that thing on CD or as .mp3s.  I've wanted it for quite awhile.

Oct 7, 2022 - 8:45:11 PM

lapsteel

Canada

835 posts since 8/13/2015

There’s a video of the record on YouTube.

Oct 7, 2022 - 9:05:11 PM

74 posts since 4/4/2021

quote:
Originally posted by lapsteel

There’s a video of the record on YouTube.


Just saw that -- thanks.  Still would like to have it in a more versatile/portable format, but this'll do for now.

Oct 7, 2022 - 9:22:06 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

26476 posts since 6/25/2005

quote:
Originally posted by carlb

The version I learned back in 1973 was from the Kimble Family via Armin Barnett. The Gypsy Gypo String Band probably also learned it from the Taylor Kimble version on the LP "Eight Miles Apart", the Kimble and Shelor Families.

https://www.slippery-hill.com/content/ship-clouds-0


Could have been from Barnett too.  I know he played with them on occasion, though whether as an official band member I donT know. 
 

@ CarlB

Oct 8, 2022 - 11:14:58 AM
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6926 posts since 6/27/2009

Thank you, John, for an interesting tune and your "chunky" recording, which stands well on its own.  I found that I actually had two impressive versions on my laptap -- one from the Galax Bogtrotters and the other on the afore-mentioned Melodic Clawhammer CD.  Thanks to TOTW for bringing awareness of unexplored resources right at my fingertips.

Thanks also to Carl for the Taylor Kimble recording becoming available, which was easier than Norman Edwards on Slippery Hill.  Both men were contemporary fiddlers from Virginia.  Both recordings are notated in the Milliner-Koken collection.  A comparison would be interesting.

This recording includes clawhammer, with the addition via Garage Band of 2-finger cello banjo accompaniment (the cello banjo tuned to cGCEG --open C).  After trying double C tuning for the clawhammered part, an easier arrangement was to raise the first string to an E, so it's in gCGCE and one would capo 2 or re-tune up a step to get into the key of D.

The title of a ship floating in a cloud metaphorically fits the melodic movement IMO, with its B-part modulation which resolves rather quickly.  Neat tune!


Oct 9, 2022 - 10:40:24 AM
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74 posts since 4/4/2021

A couple other versions I have in my collection are from Mac Traynham & Shay Garriock (on Turkey in the Mountain) and Andy Cahan, Laura Fishleder, and Lisa Ornstein (on their Ship in the Clouds album).  The first one is just banjo and fiddle, and the second adds some backup guitar and maybe something else.  They're both really nicely done.

Here's links on the YouseTubulars:

Traynham & Garriock

Cahan, Fishleder, & Ornstein

Edited by - mandobanjolibrarian on 10/09/2022 10:51:39

Oct 9, 2022 - 5:15:11 PM

1319 posts since 8/7/2017

mandobanjolibrarian

When I want to learn a song from a long, multiple-song recording, I use Audacity to record just the sound portion of the video, or other format. This can be done by opening Audacity program, and setting it up to record whatever the computer plays. Then I can copy the part of the recording I want to learn (highlight it with mouse), and save a new Audacity file (with a new name) with just that part. It's pretty easy once you have tried it (practice procedure on a short segment of a short recorded song to get the procedure correct, before investing (wasting) a big chunk of time on recording the whole song/record/video).

Audacity is free, donation accepted. Audacity can alter tempo w/o changing pitch, or alter pitch only (to change key, or bring to a standard pitch), or both. Very versatile program.

audacityteam.org/

Hope this helps.

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