John Brown's March

  1. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    150 years ago, a zealous abolitionist embarked on a hike that ended in violence and presaged a war. On a chill foggy autumn evening in 1859, abolitionist John Brown and a rough gang of 21 men with guns and pikes and revolt in their hearts quietly hiked five miles from a farm in Western Maryland to the federal armory in Harpers Ferry, Va. Their ambitions were outrageous: surprise the guards at the armory, capture wagonloads of rifles and then flee, distributing the guns among slaves. Brown hoped for nothing less than a full uprising of servant against master.

    Read a full account of this event:

    Here is a slow version of the fiddle tune that commemorates John Brown's March (tune is aka "Harper's Ferry"), it's rumored that the song was written for his death march to the gallows, but this may be just another case of repeating the "Hanged Fiddler" legend. The song may have been written to commemorate his attack on the Ferry.

    This version comes from the Homespun lesson, The Mandolin of Norman Blake. For some reason, I got a bad warble in the audio this morning when recording this, it sounds as though I'm playing underwater . . . not sure why.

  2. HonketyHank
    Well done, Mark. I don't think I heard that before.
  3. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Thanks, H. There is a tef file of this tune at Mandozine,
  4. Sleet
    Nice, Mark. Coincidentally, I was playing this tune yesterday from the Portland Collection. It's bare bones there and lacks some of the flourishes of the Blake version, but still a fine tune.
  5. soliver
    Good stuff Mark!... I loved the background story too!
  6. Trav'linmando
    Mark , I love the history to along with the song. It helps to give the music a reason for being. I'm going to search for sheet music in my few books in the truck. And I was just trying to convince myself that I needed to stop learning songs and focus on my chords and double stops.
  7. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Thanks guys, glad you enjoyed this. I've become quite the fan of Norman and Nancy's playing and studying several of their tunes now. In case anyone is interested in a PDF version of the music, here it is:
  8. Tommcgtx
    Great tune, and nicely done Mark. My brother lives in Harper's Ferry. I was just there for a visit this summer.
  9. fifths
    Two of JB's sons ended up homesteading the neighborhood where I now live near Pasadena CA. Gotta learn this one, thanks!
  10. Trav'linmando
    Mark , thanks for the PDF file. Going to play with this a bit. Along with all the other bits and songs and techniques.
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