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Jan 26, 2024 - 5:00:23 AM
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zach w

USA

139 posts since 9/2/2012

This week's TOTW is “Log Chain” which comes from the playing of Lonnie Seymour of Chillicothe, OH.  Alonzo “Lonnie” Frederick Seymour was born on June 15, 1922 into a musical family and grew up watching his grandpa, father and uncle play fiddle. He started playing fiddle for dances in his teens and continued playing while deployed overseas in the army.  Around 1948 he played fiddle in a group called the Ross County Farmers on local radio station WBEX in Chillicothe, Ohio.

In the mid-80’s Jeff Goehring of the Red Mules, “apprenticed” with Lonnie through the Ohio Traditional and Ethnic Arts Apprenticeship sponsored by the Ohio Arts Council.  Lonnie and Jeff Goehring, along with Tony Ellis formed a second version of the Ross County Farmers and released a cassette called the “Farmers Frolic” through Marimac records in 1987.  Lonnie passed away in 2002.

farmers frolic liner notes

photo of Lonnie and the "New" Ross County Farmers

Photo of the original Ross County Farmers

Thanks to the Field Recorders Collective and Betty Seymour (widow), Lonnie's music is preserved and will continue to be passed on.  More information about Lonnie Seymour is available in the following links:

Lonnie Seymour - Field Recorders Collective

The Ross County Farmers - Field Recorders Collective

Seems like Romance to Me - Liner notes

Other tunes attributed to Lonnie Seymour include:

Chillicothe 2-step 

Webbs tune - named after Lonnie's father Webster.

sugar barrel

Recordings of Lonnie Seymour available at the FRC.

Ross county farmers

lonnie seymour and cecil plum

Lonnie Seymour - FRC403 - Field Recorders Collective

seems like romance to me - ohio fiddle tunes

“Log Chain” is in the Key of D and the chord progression is:

A: 1-4-5-1, 1-4-5-5/1 or D-G-A-D, D-G-A-A/D

B: 4- 4/5 -4-5, 4-4/5-1-5/1 or G-G/A-G-A, G-G/A-D-A/D

Online Recordings/Video of Log Chain:

Log Chain | Slippery-Hill - from the farmers frolic cassette

LOG CHAIN (dirt simple Fiddle) - Mary ann harbar

Log Chain - Walt and Claire 

Log Chain - boiled Buzzards/Dan Levenson

Log Chain - Truman Price fiddle

Log Chain - Truman Price Fiddle/banjo

Tunes from Lynn Frederick | Fiddle Club of the World (drdosido.net)

Tab and Standard Notation:

Log Chain - standard notation 

Log Chain - banjo tab - tater joes

Here's my take on Log Chain.  


Jan 26, 2024 - 9:33:06 AM
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267 posts since 4/10/2010

Thanks for the great instructional video.

Jan 26, 2024 - 3:43:31 PM
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7117 posts since 6/27/2009

Another great Ohio pick, Zach. You play it so well!

Tony Ellis is a wonderful person and banjo picker. I enjoy learning his tunes.  Though he was a Bluegrass Boy with Bill Monroe, his picking since those days is as so old-timey. He writes beautiful compositions that work well with clawhammer. 

Here is what Tony says today about Lonnie and the tune: 

"LOG CHAIN is an old fiddle tune Lonnie Seymour used to play. Lonnie was from Chillicothe, Ohio and a great old-time fiddler who played with a lot of fire! Lonnie had played for many, many square dances in Central Ohio for at least 40 years. He had great drive and was a big fan of Authur Smith and Kenny Baker. His old radio band was called "The Ross County Farmers" and would play a Saturday afternoon radio show followed by a square dance that evening. The old band died off over time and Lonnie sort of retired. When I was transferred from Tennessee to Chillicothe I asked a friend about Fiddlers in the area and learned about Lonnie. I called him and was invited to come for a visit so got to hear him play. I had taken my banjo along so we played for a couple of hours. His wife, Betty, was there along with his aging father. All wonderful folks! Soon we were having a lot of music fun and I was learning some tunes I had never heard before. LOG CHAIN was one of many. A log chain was a metal chain used to pull large logs out of the woods by horses in the old days. I really miss Lonnie and his fiddle. One gig we played was the Statue of Liberty celebration in New York in 1986. Geoff Ghearing, another fantastic fiddler, went with us and played guitar. The event was huge and part of it included the National Folk Festival  which was our reason for being there. Joe Wilson, director of the NCTA , had invited us so we went as The Ross County Farmers - dressed in bib overalls and white western hats! What a hoot!"

Edited by - JanetB on 01/26/2024 15:46:00

Jan 26, 2024 - 5:24:34 PM
Players Union Member

zach w

USA

139 posts since 9/2/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Mtngoat

Thanks for the great instructional video.


Of course! It was helpful for me, so I wanted to pass it on.

Jan 26, 2024 - 5:28:24 PM
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Players Union Member

zach w

USA

139 posts since 9/2/2012

quote:
Originally posted by JanetB

Wow Janet that's wonderful insight for Tony! Thanks for sharing!

Jan 27, 2024 - 12:35:56 PM
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7117 posts since 6/27/2009

Tony wishes to have his spelling corrected on Jeff Goehring's name.  He reasons he must be "getting OLD."  So am I then.  

My arrangement for Log Chain is similar to Tater Joe's tabs in some respects.  It uses a lot of double thumbing, which one doesn't have to do unless imitating the fiddle. I like the transition to the B part, especially upon first hearing the tune, it takes you back in a delightful way.  I can picture the process of a horse pulling a log through the woods.  Hard work, but the B part sings out success.

I'm so fond of Tony Ellis' original tunes I've dedicated a "jukebox" to them and still have many more to learn.  Though he picks and I claw, his tunes work well with clawhammer.  https://www.mybanjoworld.com/tony-ellis-tunes


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