2019-11 Tune of the Month: Redhaired Boy

  1. HonketyHank
    This month the tune is Red Haired Boy, aka Little Beggarman and about a zillion more titles. Be sure to check out the SAW thread to find an ABC text for one version, a link to a bunch of mandozine.com tef files, and all the videos contributed back in 2010. Many of the video links are broken, but at the end of this post you can find a list of all the videos in that thread with a corrected link for the ones that are broken but still available.

    There is a long discussion of this tune under the title Jolly Beggarman at thesession.org https://thesession.org/tunes/566, along with several ABC versions.

    I first heard this tune (as Little Beggarman) on an LP album by Ian and Sylvia back in the mid 1960's. Their lyrics conformed to the those most commonly heard in Ireland since the late 19th century-- about a happy go lucky itinerant beggar and his adventures with various ladies. But the tune seems to have originated back in the mid seventeenth century as "Gilderoy", a corruption of the Gaelic words for "red haired person" and was used with a song about a Scottish highwayman of the Clan MacGregor.

    Baron Collins-Hill has another of his great lessons for this tune (as Red Haired Boy) at his site, www.mandolessons.com .

    You gotta watch this one. "Tony Rice All Star Jam Red Haired Boy". Tony Rice, guitar, Sam Bush, mandolin, Norman Blake, fiddle, and somebody I don't recognize playing dobro very well.


    There are a zillion recordings out there on youtube, many of which feature the Clancy brothers and/or Tommy Makem. Makem's mother Sarah taught him the song when he was a "wee lad". Here are Sarah and Tommy Makem singing The Little Beggarman together.


    Song of the Week videos with links to broken videos:
    Celtic Dude: unavailable
    Barbara Schultz: ok
    Manfred Hacker: ok
    Joe-TN (1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85KQS30f1YE
    David Hansen: unavailable
    Kyle Berry: unavailable
    Earl Gamage: ok
    TDMPicker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVyZymefRQU
    Tom Tax: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7a2JnG2lTk
    Joe-TN (2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmOsZ5UHEPs
    cbud: unavailable
    mculliton123: OK
    Eddie Sheehy: ok
    Martin Whitehead: ok
    Marcelyn: unavailable
    Ptarmi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxMxwheQsrg
    Charles Dumont: ok
    Michael Thompson: ok
    jordandvm: ok
    John Kelly: ok
    Toycona (1): unavailable
    Toycona (2): unavailable
    WillFly: ok
    Martin Jonas: unavailable
    parttimepicker: ok
    peddyrmac: ok
    dusty miller: unavailable
    crisscross: ok
  2. HonketyHank
    I just noticed that mandozine.com is off the air today. I hope that is only a temporary problem. But if you are looking for Red Haired Boy tef files to try out, here are all that I found in the big download I did on their database a few months ago:

  3. Willem
    I think i will give this one a shot. That would be Jerry Douglas on the dobro.
  4. bbcee
    Go for it, @Willem! Here's to hoping this month's offering will see more than the usual suspects posting their efforts!
  5. Posterboy
    I've got a version pretty much down of this that I'll record this weekend, I'm hoping to learn another and if I can get that to a half decent level I'll do a bonus recording
  6. Posterboy
    I've got a version pretty much down of this that I'll record this weekend, I'm hoping to learn another and if I can get that to a half decent level I'll do a bonus recording

    Here's one of my favourite players performing it
  7. HonketyHank
    Very interesting video there, Posterboy. And it is pretty amazing how well the two videos matched up.
  8. bbcee
    I thought he was regluing the necks of both instruments, until it went to the bug's eye view of his picking

    Looking forward to your, and other's, posts this month, @Posterboy.
  9. BG_Dana
    Mark O'Connor on fiddle, not Norman Blake.
  10. HonketyHank
    Wow. Thanks BG. You're right of course.
  11. HonketyHank
    This tune is also known as Little Beggarman, which makes a lot of sense given that the lyrics begin with "I am a beggarman ...". What doesn't make sense to me is why it is widely known as Red Haired Boy. I don't think any red haired boys are mentioned in the lyrics but the lyrics DO say that the beggarman is at least 60 years old. Kinda old for a "boy".

    In keeping with my new cinema realité thinking, this is my first run-through of the tune with the camera recording. And since I made it all the way to the end, I am calling it "done". Despite a few rough edges here and there.

    Hairdo is courtesy of some kid on the internet.

    Edit: You know, if I had just reread the first post in this thread, I would have remembered that I do indeed know where the title "Red Haired Boy" came from. OFD (old toot's disease) strikes yet again.
  12. SOMorris
    Good job, Hank!
  13. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    So that's what you looked like with hair!

    Nice job, Henry. That's a very different version than what I've been looking at. Interesting how many ways these tunes twisted and changed over the miles and the years.
  14. bbcee
    Great job, Hank! I too really like your interpretation, it's quite different than what I'm used to. Some pretty hairy moments in there, but you navigated them well.
  15. bbcee
    ** C'mon now all you lurkers, Hank's broken the ice, it's time to put your nervousness aside and post! You couldn't ask for a nicer bunch of people to offer advice, and recording the video & posting will improve your playing a ton.
  16. HonketyHank
    Thanks, y'all. I, too, would love to hear some variations on the tune from within the ranks of us Newbies.

    Happy Turkey day!
  17. Posterboy
    I WILL record mine tomorrow (seeing as it's the last day of the month) I'm buying a house at the moment and packing stuff up, but that's just an excuse, my self discipline is pretty much zero.
  18. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    OK, here's a hack at it. My plans for today got snowed out, so I had time to do this instead.

  19. bbcee
    Sounding great, Louise! What an interesting arrangement (meant in the most positive sense). I see you were able to soldier through despite the feline distractions too :-P
  20. Chaya
    Ya know, I don't know about that stuff about posting videos improving our playing. Whenever I start recording, I become all thumbs. I don't know how many times I've recorded this, but it still sounds terrible. Then it always takes me awhile to forget being so self-conscious and get back into just playing music for myself again. But posting videos is part of what this group is about, and it doesn't feel right to just lurk while other brave souls put themselves out there. And I genuinely appreciate that they do it, too.

    I don't know if any of you remember me, but I started playing mandolin in July. I started playing this song a little more than a week ago. I'm reading it from sheet music because I hardly have a memory anymore. Eventually I want to learn to memorize songs, but it ain't happening yet. So here it is, warts and all.

  21. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Chaya, you're doing great for having played for only four or five months! Good work.

    Bruce, that same cat photobombed my last video. I was almost finished with another take when he walked right up to me and sneezed several times. Ruined that one. Two others were curled up asleep just to my right, but they napped through it all.
  22. HonketyHank
    Louise, you are really zipping along! Good job. Feline supporting roles are certainly allowed.

    Chaya, that is pretty darn good, especially for limited practice time and unlimited butterflies. It does get easier but you are well on your way. I like your mando machine. Nice tone.

    It looks like Thanksgiving left you both in fine playing condition. Now go get some punkin pie.
  23. bbcee
    Well done, Chaya, you've joined the Butterfly Club! It does get easier, marginally, and yea, the trick is to say what you want to say when that darn red light is on. The only advice I would offer is right hand-wise, try playing more from your wrist than your forearm, it will help when you start playing faster tempos. Take a look at how Louise & Hank are playing above. But I agree with Hank that that's a good effort at 5 months.

    Really glad you posted!!
  24. MikeZito
    Louise: Your cat ran out about 2/3 of the way through the song - that's pretty good . . . my cat always runs as soon as I open the case! Nice work, nonetheless.
  25. Chaya
    Thanks, everyone. It sure is scary putting yourself out there like that, so I appreciate the kindness.

    bbcee, yes, I noticed the problem with my wrist. That was actually something I worked really hard on in the beginning, but managed to forget about. There are so many things to think about and remember when you're learning mandolin! Thanks for pointing it out.
  26. Posterboy

    Well I got it done, managed to get all the way through one time without screwing up. The smooth edit at the end is where it all started going wrong

    Oh I also grew an impressive beard since my last video on here!
  27. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Both the beard and the playing are indeed impressive! Is that you on the guitar also? I see a suspiciously guitar-shaped case behind you.
  28. HonketyHank
    Nice! Posterboy, I usually go off the tracks in the second go-round when I distract myself by thinking "I got it licked now; all I have to do is do it again." Followed immediately by:


    I do like your arrangement and, speaking of wrists, I am quite impressed with your picking stroke. I need to work on mine.
  29. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin

    Nice performances by everyone this month and some different arrangements.
    Mine is a very simple version which falls easily under the fingers on mandolin but unfortunately not so easily on mandola. Still I managed to crank it out eventually.
  30. HonketyHank
    Good picking there, mm. It looks like it is indeed in a difficult key for mandola but you handled it. (I woulda cheated.)
  31. Posterboy
    Thanks for the kind words.
    Louise, the backing track is from Banjo Ben as is the arrangement. I do have a couple of acoustic guitars and a number of electric guitars, so my alternate picking got some practice over the years before taking up the mandolin, however in one of my Skype lessons with Mike Giverin (MandoMike) he took me to task about down picks on the on beats and up strokes on the off beats. It isn't so strict in rock circles, but I had to go back over the tunes I'd already learnt and really focus on the picking especially where hammer ons and pull offs or triplets complicate matters.
  32. Chaya
    Posterboy - I didn't know that the type of alternative picking you describe being advocated by Giverin was "strict" at all in mandolin circles. Maybe it depends on what kind of music you're playing. See for example August Watters' book, "Exploring Classical Mandolin" (which isn't limited to classical at all). He gives quite a bit of attention to pick direction, and it is not at all limited to the rule you mentioned. I'm a crass beginner, but thanks to his lessons, I do enjoy choosing pick direction depending on what kind of effect I want.
  33. bbcee
    There are so many things to think about and remember when you're learning mandolin! - So right, Chaya.

    @Posterboy, that was a most impressive performance. I don't know whether it's the beard, the hours of practice you put in or both Nice & fluid, well done.

    @Maudlin, that was like watching slide mandola! I think I too would have opted for Mr. Capo. Regardless, that was a nice arrangement and played well.
  34. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Wow, Maudlin, that took some jumping around! Good job keeping up with it.

    So, five of us took the dare this month. Can we beat that for December?
  35. bbcee
    Fantastic to see some new Newbies jumping in!!
Results 1 to 35 of 35