I thought I knew a lot of old time fiddle tunes. After all, I’ve been listening to folk music for a very long time. Lately though, I’ve been listening to the music in a different way, since I’m trying to learn to bash out a few tunes on the oil can banjo.
Needle Case is a song I only recently came across, although it’s clearly a common one in banjo circles. I don’t know anything about the history of the song or how it came to have such a peculiar title. It’s a lovely tune though.
Here are Larry Toto and Gail
I’ve started messing about with my home-made oil can banjo, which here-to-for I will simply refer to as The Can. Although I’m convinced it will be easier when I’ve grown my nails out a bit more, I’m starting (and I mean just starting) to be able to strike the string I want to strike. When I hear how clearly some players can enunciate their notes with the clawhammer approach, I realize I have a lot of practice ahead of me. The can has a short-scale neck which really means it likes to be tuned in an open A instead of G, and that’s fine by me. I see there are other tunings some people use in general and on specific tunes, like sawmill tuning (whatever the hell that is) and double C tuning. I’ll just ignore that for now and start with an open A tuning and work on building some skills. I’ve been looking at a bunch of tabs (it seems regular notes aren’t good enough for banjo pickers so they use tabs) and listening to accompanying clips and trying to play bits and pieces. As I familiarize myself with the fretboard and begin to get used to the various pull-offs and hammer-ons and slides that characterize old-time banjo music, I’ll try to focus on a song or two. One of the things I want to do eventually is incorporate slide into the whole business and to that end I have an 11/16th socket that fits nicely on my chunky baby finger.
On YouTube, there must be hundreds of guys out there all hustling lessons and tabs and dvds and whatnot, including all kinds of free stuff. Even with my limited exposure to this material, it’s clear that some is much much better or at least more useful than others. Imagine, people learned to play music for thousands of years without YouTube. In the longer run, its biggest value to me will be the opportunity to see scads of players in action.
I will try to avoid growing a bushy white beard and developing a taste for corn liquor along the way, but anything can happen.
I don’t know very much at all about this music, but I’ve been listening to quite a few videos on the YouTube machine featuring the garmon, and I’m fascinated by the sounds.
Here’s Melissa the Loud also giving a demonstration
She has a website too. I really appreciate her love of the less loved instruments and I think you’ll enjoy visiting her site. If you’re a folk music freak like me, be sure to check out her links page while you’re there.
Ms. Loud mentioned Nigel Eton….here he is
There are are variety of different concertinas, some diatonic, some fully chromatic. Today’s Daily Dose is a little sampler.
Put button accordion and concertina together and it’s almost two much for words.
And concertina and pipes…well, what can I say.
Yep, we’re talking folk music. For your Friday Daily Dose, here are The Dust Busters with John Cohen.
These boys have a really nice feel for their music. I think I could listen to them all day. This folk music, it just might take off. Here’s Stockade Blues…
Ladies on a Steamboat….I’m sending this next tune out to Salvelinas. Is this how they do it in the Mulmur hills?
Today’s Daily Dose takes us to Uruguay….La Sinfónica de Tambores
And now, here’s Los Gauchos de Roldán
and one more…
Just watch this video. You’ll say, “Oh, that’s why…”
Stumbling across this video made my day.
This is for all the folk music freaks out there who secretly wish they were rocker dudes.
While not as big a sub-genre in Americana as train songs, murder ballads are big just the same. Since I took an interest in folk music in my teens, I’ve been listening to songs about Stack-O-Lee and Franky and Johnny, Pretty Polly and Tom Dooley. There are loads of them. On tonight’s Daily Dose, I’d like to explore a few takes on one of my favourites, Duncan and Brady.
Listen to the Johnson Mountain Boys…
Now here’s the wonderful Dave van Ronk
Finally check out this “killer” version by the Salford Sheiks