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Thread: Merriweather

  1. #1
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
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    Default Merriweather

    https://www.facebook.com/1819858253/...7718783087140/

    My wife and i have been playing old time tunes together on mandolin and banjo for almost ten years now. This week I decided to focus on getting a quick and easy way to record our sessions on an iPad.

    The App I've started using is Voice Recorder Pro which makes it easy to place a file anywhere I like including Facebook (as a movie file), Twitter, Dropbox, etc. It also has a built-in "digital preamp" that lets me clearly boost the volume beyond what the iPad mic is capable of. It also allows some basic editing, such as cutting to make appropriate beginning and end points.

    We learned this particular tune at the Centralia WA Old Time Campout last month. This year I seemed to be especially drawn to learn Texas tunes and old-time rags. That means learning lots of crooked" tunes in the key of C. My mandolin is a two-point built by Bob Altman. Katy's banjo is a Belmont Bacon.

    Merriweather turned out good enough that we've decided to post a tune a week until we either run out of material or we're on the road on one of our trips. After ten years of playing almost every day we know well over a hundred tunes by memory plus we're constantly learning new tunes because our music network includes so many devoted old-time players from around the country. If you'd like to hear these weekly recordings, all you have to do is follow me on Facebook. We have no plans to distribute this music commercially.
    Explore some of my published music here

    —Jim

    BRW 3-point #65 (2009)
    Altman 2-point (2007)
    Portuguese fado cittern (1965)

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  3. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merriweather

    I assume that you didn't meant that the tune Meriwether is crooked or in the key of C. I think the version you are playing is in A. Very nice and laid back.

    The one I know is usually played in G and sounds close to the way these folks in the video below are playing it. One of our favorites these days.

    You can hear a recording of Clyde Davenport a great Kentucky fiddler playing it here.

    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes - Old Sheet Music for mandolin

    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- Gibson TB-Junior -- National RM-1

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  5. #3
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merriweather

    Jim, thanks for posting that. I enjoyed it. Y'all have a nice sound together. I really liked some of the interplay I heard between the mandolin and banjo in that tune, where she broke away for some brief harmony in the high part. Very tasteful!

    I am not on Facebook, so can't "follow" such things. But I think it would be great if you posted updates here on the Cafe when you have new tunes to listen to.
    Keep that skillet good and greasy all the time!

  6. #4
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merriweather

    That video version sounds close to where I have taken the same tune. My own style tends to push the melody more than I hear in that video. My style seems to work best when supported by a banjo making sharp chord changes and a guitar player who can keep the rhythm steady via long walking lines.

    In my tune research I've uncovered three basic variants of Merriweather which I might call Irish, contra, and old-time rag. The Irish version is slow, anthem-like, and possibly had lyrics at some point. The contra dance version is sweet, excessively even in its syncopation, with no phrase left unresolved. The old time rag version sounds bawdy, raw, and pushes the time. I imagine Bix Beiderbecke or Ry Cooder playing this version.

    Jim, what I meant to say is that my own personal mandolin attention is currently focused on old-time rags, and a fair number of those are in the key of C. These tunes are often crooked, which merely means they're not structured in 16 bar increments of AABB.

    I do plan to regularly post more tunes on both my own Facebook page as well as on the page entitled Dedicated to Oldtime music. I regard these venues to be a very welcome distribution system for old folks like me who no longer find value in commercial recording, but who still want to share well played music with the world. In one week my humble iPad recording of Merriweather has garnered almost 800 listens. I take seriously the idea of making more available some of the great tunes that reflect the forgotten recesses of our deep American musical heritage.

    Tobin, I'm happy to continue posting the tunes on the Cafe. But before I post another one, it would be helpful to learn if the Cafe folks support my recurring effort. If they don't support it, I'm guessing they won't mind if I keep posting Facebook links to future tunes. From what you tell me, that won't help you hear the tunes, will it?
    Explore some of my published music here

    —Jim

    BRW 3-point #65 (2009)
    Altman 2-point (2007)
    Portuguese fado cittern (1965)

  7. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merriweather

    Jim: If you wanted to post the sound files on Soundcloud, you can easily post them here and on Facebook. I suppose it just adds more work but not that much more. This forum software in the advanced page has an icon specifically for Soundcloud.

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    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes - Old Sheet Music for mandolin

    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- Gibson TB-Junior -- National RM-1

  8. #6

    Default Re: Merriweather

    Nice!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobin View Post
    ... I am not on Facebook, so can't "follow" such things. ...
    Same here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobin View Post
    ... it would be great if you posted updates here on the Cafe when you have new tunes to listen to.
    That'd be cool

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