Week #97 ~ Billy in the Lowground

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  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner by a landslide, is Billy in the Lowground, which was submitted as Bluegrass & Oldtime. I am not familiar with this tune.

    I found this on thesession.org.

    It looks like Nigel Gatherer posted this about the tune:

    This is an American version of a much older tune which has been known in Scotland for centuries, and it has a few Irish variants too. "The Braes of Auchtertyre" was first published in Stewart's Collection in c1761,and later became a strathspey; however, it likely stemmed from an even older tune, "O Dear Mother, What Shall I Do?" (to which it is said the jigs "Blue Bonnets Over the Border" and thus "Scotsman Over the Border" related).

    In Ireland the tune has been called "The Belles of Tipperary" and "The Beaux of Albany", and another tune, "Miss Monaghan" is related.

    Here is the ABC from that site:

    X: 1
    T: Billy In The Lowground
    M: 4/4
    L: 1/8
    R: reel
    K: Cmaj
    "C"G,A,CD EGAB|cBcd cAGB|"Am"ABAG EGAB|"G"cAGE DC C2:|
    "C"eg2eg2 eg|afed cAG2|"Am"ea2ga2 eg|agab ag e2|
    "C"eg2eg2 eg|aged cAGB|"Am"ABAG EGAB|"G"cAGE "C"DC C2|]

    Here is a link to the tune in Wendy Anthony's Building a Traditional Tune Repertoire on Mel Bay's Mandolin Sessions.

    Here it is on Nigel Gatherer's site

    Here it is on abctunesearch

    Here are the ABC's from that site:

    T:Billy in the Lowground
    CA,| "C"G,A,CD EGAB|cBcd cAGB|"Am"ABAG EGAB|"F"cAGE "G7"DCCA,|
    "C"G,A,CD EGAB|cBcd cAGB|"Am"ABAG EGAB|"G7"cAGE "C"DC2:|
    |:"C"eg2e g2eg|aged cAG2|"Am (F)"ea2g a2eg|agab age2|
    "C"eg2e g2eg|"(Am)"aged cAGB|"F"ABAG EGAB|"G7"cAGE "C"DC3:|"last time"cAGE C4|]

    I found a You Tube Video lesson from Matt Raum, where he plays it first at 60 bpm, then at 120.

  2. jordandvm
    Geez.......I hate to be the first to post a video.......but you know us retired types. All we have to do is sit around and play our mandolins! I guess the good part about this is there is a lot of room for improvement for subsequent video posts on this thread. So here it is played on my Newell A style mandolin!

  3. Michael Thompson
    Michael Thompson
    sight read on a Loar LM 700

  4. OldSausage
    Good work, Jim and Msthomp. Here's my version of this old tune:

  5. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Awesome versions so far and it certainly is similar to "Miss Monaghan's" in some ways...
  6. Eddie Sheehy
    You got my feet a-tappin' David...
  7. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Mighty fine everyone! OS: fast, clean and full of variations – what more could a mandolin player want? Thanks!
  8. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    OS, awesome, as always! I'm sure if you could have videoed that with your whole head showing, you would have been WEARING that cowboy hat in the background!
  9. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I wasn't familiar with this tune, and I didn't notice it was at Nigel Gatherer's site -- Nigel's site is my go-to place for new tunes, so I would normally have worked from his version. However, this time I picked up one of the Mandozine TablEdit files first (there are loads of them for this tune, all quite different). Here's my attempt of making sense of this tune after a few practice run-throughs, recorded on my Ajr:

  10. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I only listened to the other versions after recording mine: jordandvm and msthomp, both played nice and clean with lovely tone. OS: most impressive -- played at that speed it's a completely different feel. I don't think I'll get to that speed in the foreseeable future, so I keep within my own means...

  11. jordandvm
    Good job Martin! Which version from Mandozine did you use? I thought I had all their versions and none sounded like yours.
    I learned this from the Mandolin Pickers Fakebook, as this was the only version I had for a long time until I discovered Tab/edit files. This is one of the standard "fiddle tunes" we play at our Bluegrass jam.
  12. GKWilson
    Another nice post Martin. The Ajr sounds extra good on todays posts. Are you using a new mic system?
    Jim and Msthomp very nice jobs.
    DM and the OldSausage Band. Superb as always.
  13. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks for the kind words!

    Jordanvm: I used the version by Tim Lee: Link.

    Gary: Same setup as usual, so I guess it's just the vagaries of Ajr tuning and mix position that gives slight variations in tone from day to day.

  14. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Here's my version played on my Gayle Mandonator.

  15. GKWilson
    That was fun David.
    The Mandonator rules.
  16. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    David, that was cool! I didn't realize your Mandonator had a first name... Gayle!
  17. Ten_or_Fifths

    Didn't have a ton of time to work on this one, and messed up all the videos except the banjo. The chords I knew were easier in CGDA or I would have done rhythm (such as it is) on the guitar.

    Big Muddy MW-0 mandolin, 20's Regal tenor guitar (tuned GDAE), 20'ts Gretsch tenor banjo (tuned CGDA)

    Great videos so far everyone. Sorry I couldn't put the same effort into this one. But I like the tune and will keep practicing it.
  18. billkilpatrick
    great stuff - all around - !! - nice, toe-tappy way to wake up this morning
  19. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Some great posts this week, my effort is a bit rushed as I don't have much time this weekend, but it'll have to do......

  20. Rob Fowler
    Rob Fowler
    Tosh nice playing and I'm envious at what I'm guessing is your cd collection behind you! Great picking everyone!

    This one I kinda knew a bit already but still trying to get it up to speed...still a work in progress!

    I really like Jody Stecher's playing of this on Grisman's "Tone Poets" album.

  21. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    That's more like it Rob. The only thing worse than MAS is CDAS, and in my case it's pretty severe!!!! 3200 and rising....I need help!!!!
  22. Ed Goist
    Ed Goist
    Fantastic versions all!
    Again the bar is set pretty high on this one.
    Great job everyone.
    ...I just Love this group.
  23. OldSausage
    Nice work Rob, that Collings suits you. I'm going to have to listen to that album again....
  24. tnt2002
    I wish I had the speed of OS. I've really enjoyed your submissions in the last two weeks. Rob, I love the sound your mando makes, nice and woody, (the player helps). Ten or Fifths, love the multiple instruments, I wish I could play banjo.

    And the rest, not a bad version by anyone.

    Here's my version, I slowed it down so I could play it cleanly. Used my zoom as a USB mic to make up for the poor webcam.


  25. Marcelyn
    Good one, Tom. Nice backup too. OS and Rob, your variations blew me away. David H, I really liked the rhythm you put to the tune. And Tosh, how do you do it? So polished and clean week after week.

    Jeff played along on soprano ukulele. My part wasn't perfect, but I decided to let him off the hook after a few failed takes.

    I read on a fiddle hangout forum that the only way most distinguish this tune as either OT or bluegrass is whether an Am or F is used as the second chord in the B part. We tried out both and liked them pretty much equally, but went with an Am in the end.

  26. Chris Ferreira
    Chris Ferreira
    Nice job Marcelyn and Tom - you're both tough acts to follow. (I was hoping to sneak in between comments.) Lots of great work this week! Not my best effort but at least Abbey (my dog) wasn't jumping up in the background again. A bit different scenery this week too as I was "allowed" to film upstairs. We'll see how long that lasts.

  27. GKWilson
    ToF. I closed my eyes and I thought I was floating down the Big Muddy on a riverboat.
    TNT. You and Tosh have just the right tempo for that OT sound. Helped along greatly by that great Gibby
    Tosh. Technoligy will eventually help you. Would you like a few hundred 8 tracks.
    Rob. Love those slurs.
    Marcelyn. Could I borrow Jeff every once in awhile. My single tracks are boring.
    Chris. You show me there's hope. Maybe someday I can get out of the man cave and go upstairs. Sure looks bright up there.
    Now I better go and see if I can learn this song.
  28. Toycona
    Nicely done, Chris. Really tasty.
  29. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Nice playing everyone. Here's my version of this tune which I've known for a lot of years but haven't played too much recently. Worked out a few variations and tried to go all over the place. Played on a Kentucky KM600 and backed up with a Simon and Patrick guitar. Hope you enjoy it!

  30. Ryan Zerby
    Ryan Zerby
    All I can say is "Wheee!" Seeing people improvise is so much fun!
  31. Marcelyn
    Nice, Michael. You covered the fretboard pretty well on that one. What fun!
  32. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Oh my, ONLY hard acts to follow.
    And speed demons galore (OS, Rob, Michael, ....)

    'Metronome' courtesy of Band-in-a-Box:

  33. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Here's mine! Played on my Collings MT2O mandolin. Not as fast as it should be, I know.... about 153 bpm, it seems...

  34. Marcelyn
    Really great tone and feeling in those Barbara and Manfred.
  35. Ed Goist
    Ed Goist
    Wow, more fantastic submissions.
    Great job everyone. Very impressive stuff.
    What a great tune!
  36. Loretta Callahan
    Loretta Callahan
    Oh, to be retired and able to practice more! What a great tune and wonderful, lively renditions. Thanks for the inspiration!!
  37. Ryan Zerby
    Ryan Zerby
    Are bluegrass reels actually counted in cut time? I notice that the instructional video seems blazing fast for 120bpm of common time, which the ABC claims is the time signature...

    I guess I answered my question, after listening to it a bit.. he SAYS 1-2-3-4, but actually plays 4 notes to the beat at that tempo.
  38. Matt
    Hi All! I read in my "Fiddle Tunes for Modern Mandolin" by Thomas P. Ohmsen of Salem, Virginia that the "Billy in the Lowground" tune refers to William the Conquerer and his resting place in the moors after his death. Whether this tune was to lament or celebrate his death he couldn't say.
  39. Ryan Zerby
    Ryan Zerby
    That is neat. I love the history of tunes.
  40. billkilpatrick
    nicely done - everyone - seems such a simple tune but my fingers don't know it yet.
    manfred - nice tempo and cleanly played - really good.
  41. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Thanks for your kind words, Marcy and Bill.

    Bill, I had never heard the tune before last Friday when it became the SAW. Then I forced my fingers real hard to learn it.
  42. harrywhohaa
    Well done everyone such a great variety of takes this week, smooth ones, improv, the lot, it's a great tune to experiment with:

  43. Matt
    Way to rock it, Harry!
  44. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Tom, Marcelyn, Chris, Michael, Manfred, Barbara and Harry....fantastic posts, variations and a great Song Of The Week.
  45. Bernd Bannach
    Bernd Bannach
    Great tune and again great playing here. It seems that I found different arrangement of Billy which plays the B-part in the lower register. Played on my Ovation MM68, as my Gibson A needs some adjustment and goes tomorrow to a Luthier.

  46. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    That ragtime feel you put into this song is really something special, Bernd! Really great playing.

    Billy in The Lowground is a great fiddle tune and if you follow the melody and can see a fiddler playing it, you'll see that it lends itself to a fiddle and a bow and it just seems to just flow out of the violin. But as you can see from this thread, that doesn't mean a mandolin can't do a heck of a job on it too!
  47. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    Well I thought I might as well post this tune too. I play a pretty plain version here -- but it is an easy tune to improvise on especially the B-part. I'm learning a lot by making up bass and guitar accompaniment in TablEdit -- in this case I had some ideas already for the guitar part but not the bass -- so that is why the bass line is not quite right!

  48. GKWilson
    Another late start. Hense another late posting. I've been playing this a bit faster. But, after a jillion finger tied takes I slowed it down so I could get on to next week.
  49. jordandvm
    Very nicely done Gary!

  50. Ed Goist
    Ed Goist
    Wow! All of these submissions are great! Outstanding work all!
    Here's my take, based on Nigel Gatherer's arrangement.
    Sorry for being a little late with the submission. I hope you enjoy it!

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