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Jun 21, 2024 - 5:39:22 AM
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276 posts since 4/10/2010

Hodi Cake  TOTW 06/21/2024

I’ve chosen Hodi Cake from Kentucky fiddler Owen “Snake” Chapman (1919-2002) for this installment of TOTW.   The tune has hardly any internet presence and the normally very thorough Traditional Tune Archive notes only that it is “an old time breakdown in A major.”    Chapman recorded the tune three different times.  

Here’s his recording for the Berea College collection in 1989: https://dla.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/berea/id/269/rec/2

Here’s his 1990 June Appal release Fiddle Ditty:  https://juneappalrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/fiddle-ditty

He recorded it again with another line-up on his 1999 Rounder Walnut Gap album here:  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr3GqFDZ-no&list=OLAK5uy_kvNTS9jMRVbismNSFUBjtfd6LHGPrR7L8&index=19

Here’s a solo fiddle performance:  https://www.fiddlehangout.com/myhangout/media-player/audio_player2.asp?musicid=4347&archived=

And here’s a string band version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eqq4cmdAZgg

I could not find a banjo tab but most folks should be able to pick out a basic arrangement after listening to the tune for a few minutes.

The liner notes to Fiddle Ditty say “Owen 'Snake' Chapman was born in 1919 near Canada in northeastern Kentucky. His initial influences were his father and the older players he met around Williamson (notably Ed Haley). He played first with Clayton and Russell West as the Kentucky Redbirds and then with Molly O'Day and her brother Cecil. In the 1960s Chapman played bluegrass music, but later rediscovered the music of his father's generation and become involved in the old-time music revival.”   A more detailed biography is here: https://www.mustrad.org.uk/reviews/snake_ch.htm

Here is a Wikipedia article on the history of the traditional corn meal bread known variously as the Hodi cake, Hoe cake, Johnny cake, and Journey cake in the US and by other names in the Caribbean and South America: Johnnycake - Wikipedia

 

   
 

Johnnycake - Wikipedia

The modern johnnycake is found in the cuisine of New England[3] and is often claimed as originating in Rhode Isl...

Readers are encouraged to post observations, opinions, performances, and tabs contributing to this thread.

Jun 21, 2024 - 9:36:34 AM
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Players Union Member

dbrooks

USA

4698 posts since 3/11/2004

Thanks for pointing us to another great Snake Chapman tune. Here's my tab for what I hear in his playing.

Bring Me Back My Hodi Cake Tab - Details and Ratings - Banjo Hangout

David

Jun 21, 2024 - 11:58:17 AM
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276 posts since 4/10/2010

David that works well. Thanks for another great tab for a Kentucky tune.

Jun 22, 2024 - 12:06:06 PM
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7149 posts since 6/27/2009

Another fun tune by Owen "Snake" Chapman, my ninth one to learn. In the recording I alternated where to use the triplets, as he used them quite often, and a bit much for banjo.  I like David's tab, which would go nice with a fiddler.  Owen's good friend, banjo player Paul David Smith, played 3-finger style on their recordings.  I think that clawhammer would have sounded great with Owen's intricate fiddling.

In the liner notes by Mark Wilson for Owen's Walnut Gap CD it says:

     "Snake couldn't quite remember the lyrics to this grand old tune, but sister Chloe could:


     Snake baked a cake
     And set a frog to mind it
     Frog sit and went to sleep
     And the lizard came and stole behind it.

     Bring me back my hodi cake
     You long-tailed, long-tailed;
     Bring me back my hodi cake
     You long-tailed nonny.


     "As such, this is one of the oldest American fiddle lyrics on record, reported in several minstrel pieces of the 1830's and (according to N.I. White) in a journal entry by Washington Irving probably from the same period. Most of the published melodies (e.g. in Sharp's English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachian Mountains) are not as vividly idiomatic as Owen's, which comes from his father."

Owen's nickname "Snake" must have given the family a laugh when singing those lyrics.  A nonny is defined as a meaningless word used in refrains, especially old English ballads, or as an obsolete word for "fool." 


 


Edited by - JanetB on 06/22/2024 12:11:38

Jun 22, 2024 - 7:06:49 PM
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276 posts since 4/10/2010

Thanks Janet for the nice performance and tab. I hadn't considered that there might be lyrics for the tune so kudos for your sleuthing.

Jun 25, 2024 - 10:58:42 AM
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1357 posts since 1/30/2019

I'm away from a banjo for a little while, but I'll do this when I can. Lovely recordings, thanks for sharing.
Also took a deep dive into fried corn bread and corn pancakes. I'm going to make those too. Hushpuppies anyone??

Jun 25, 2024 - 1:22:38 PM
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276 posts since 4/10/2010

Andrew,

I hope you post a performance. Maybe this can become a recipe sharing forum too.

Jul 1, 2024 - 2:15:24 PM
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1357 posts since 1/30/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Mtngoat

Andrew,

I hope you post a performance. Maybe this can become a recipe sharing forum too.


Here's mine. (Tune, not cooking!)


Jul 2, 2024 - 6:08:40 AM
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Tuedelband

Germany

22 posts since 7/27/2021

Thanks Janet for the text!
As I'm always looking for easy songs to sing and play the banjo to (thereby learning to play the banjo and your language at the same time :)
I did some research and found this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-GMqmflcMk
what style does Jody Stecher play there, can anyone help me?

my favorite part is the ending :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFn8GFtuPr0

and under the title "Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done"
some more for history lessons, here I can only assume the connection.

I would like to thank everyone for the wonderful TOTW

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)

Jul 2, 2024 - 6:59:37 AM
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7149 posts since 6/27/2009

Thanks for the super discoveries, Tuedelband. If you look at this video of Jody, you will see that he's very proficient with Clawhammer on both banjo and guitar. He also is a picker. You'll see that on guitar also. I met him once and he was ever so gracious. Jody Stecher

Jul 2, 2024 - 7:21:42 AM
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Tuedelband

Germany

22 posts since 7/27/2021

Thank you, my banjo journey is only short and I just can't decide on a style, two, three, one,.... fingers.
so I'm learning them all. I still have so many wonderful things to learn, it keeps me young.

Jul 2, 2024 - 6:36:45 PM

276 posts since 4/10/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Andyrhydycreuau
Here's mine. (Tune, not cooking!)

Andy,

Yours is pretty good.  Thanks for posting.

Jul 2, 2024 - 6:42:14 PM

276 posts since 4/10/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Tuedelband

Thank you, my banjo journey is only short and I just can't decide on a style, two, three, one,.... fingers.
so I'm learning them all. I still have so many wonderful things to learn, it keeps me young.


Tuedelband,  versatility is the mark of a master.  And remember that many old time players developed individual styles that did not fit comfortably into any of these categories.  Thanks for posting.

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