Week #297 Little Birdie

  1. Marcelyn
    This week's winner is a favorite traditional old-time and bluegrass song called Little Birdie.
    Here's a recording of a solo from Dix Bruce out of a closed position in G.
    Here are tab and standard notation for the recorded solo above...
    A full version with chords and lyrics is found in Dix Bruce's Parking Lot Picker's Songbook.

    Here are some video examples of this week's tune.
    First off, here's an absolutely fantastic version Michael put together a few years back

    Here's a version from Red Allen with a super mandolin break from Frank Wakefield...

    And Ralph Stanley is hard to beat...
  2. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Here's a great video of Little Birdie showing how to play it on a mandolin in closed position (and also on a guitar if you're so inclined).

  3. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Here's a bluegrass mandolin version of Little Birdie in the key of C. I recorded the guitar and vocal together first and then laid down the mandolin (playing from start to finish without stopping). Only took about a million takes until I got one I liked with the mandolin...

  4. Marcelyn
    A million takes--I've been there. Little Birdie is one of my favorite songs and this is one of my favorite versions now. Really incredible job.
  5. woodenfingers
    That was just great!! Darned if I know how you do that...

    Also, the more takes I do usually the worse I get. First take I'll blow right at the end of the tune. Each successive take I blow it earlier and earlier until I can't even get the tune started...
  6. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Yes, that's how it is with me too woodenfingers... With Little Birdie I had the guitar and vocal track just how I wanted it so all I had to do was figure out what to play for all the breaks and backup parts. I didn't memorize everything (except for the first mandolin break because I wanted it to be strong) but I did know the positions where I wanted to start each break. So I started the camera rolling and proceeded to play. At the end of the first day of mandolin recording I'd played for about an hour and had everything just about figured out but was too tired to play it correctly. So I stopped and started again fresh the next morning and got it down after a few takes. The breaks are improvised but the positions are thought out in advance – especially the lead in notes for each break. Sometimes it comes easy and sometimes, like on this one, it takes a bit longer to jell.
  7. jonny250
    Really nice Michael, i enjoyed that i think i prefer your version most of all.
  8. woodenfingers
    I was really impressed with Michael's versions of this tune and while I knew I couldn't get anywhere near that level of a rendition I wanted to give it a try. My simple double stop solo was a first for me so I was happy with that but will spend more time trying to figure out what Michael did. Warning: there's vocals and fiddle playing:

  9. Marcelyn
    I like this one a lot, Bob. Your mandolin breaks are impressive and your fiddle really ties it all together.
  10. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Bob, that's the right stuff right there... very old time singing and your voice fits the song perfectly. Double stops are the heart of the mandolin (and fiddle) and give your breaks that special touch... and the guitar ties it all together. Can't wait to hear more in this style from you.
Results 1 to 10 of 10