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Thread: An Old-Time Ditty

  1. #1
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default An Old-Time Ditty

    Big Bend Gal - mandola, mandolin, lyrics

    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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  3. #2
    Registered User Kevin Stueve's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    Pretty nice Mark

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  5. #3
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    All in fun, Kevin

    Thanks
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    Good job, Mark. You've got the voice. Interesting collection of art. Where did you get it all?
    Bill
    IM(NS)HO

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  8. #5
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    I don't remember ever seeing my mother with a hoe in her hand, but it sure looks like her.
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  10. #6

    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    That was such great, sweet fun. Well done.

    Thanks
    Play it like you mean it.

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  12. #7
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    Thanks for the comments, guys. I knew I couldn't make a masterpiece, so might as well make some fun

    Quote Originally Posted by billhay4 View Post
    Good job, Mark. You've got the voice. Interesting collection of art. Where did you get it all?
    Bill
    Thanks Bill, that was a vocal scratch track, and I sacrificed melody for expression on some phrases just fooling around. I'm sure some will find that vocal hideous, and I'm not happy with it but don't care. I had intended to re-do them, but my partner in crime, Bruce Calder (bbcee in the forums) kept egging me to keep them, and well ... I'm the lazy sort.

    As for the artwork, if you mean all the old images, I'll have to take the fifth.

    It's just a bunch of old images combined with a nasty old photoshop habit.
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    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    Lots o'fun... thanks!
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    Really enjoyed it, Mark! Thanks for posting!
    Chuck

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  17. #10
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    You can take the fifth, but don't keep it.
    Bill
    IM(NS)HO

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  19. #11
    Registered User smokinop's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    ...somebody got a fifth? pass it my way! Good job Mark, enjoyed that very much.

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  21. #12
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    Good stuff Mark!
    aka: Spencer
    Eastman MD-305
    Flatiron 1N

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.
    -anonymous

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  23. #13
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    Thanks Spencer, and everybody who took a moment to comment; your feedback is much appreciated!

    And yes I have a couple fifths, guys. Today it's rum & Kahlua along with cold & cough medicines. Not advocating this for anybody else, but I need relief today. (I started to write, "Don't try this at home" - but better there than driving around town!)

    Stay cool
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  24. #14
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    A job well done Mark. I like it so much I hope you don't mind if I steal it and I think my old time friends in NC would enjoy it too. As for fifths, well the mandolin is tuned to fifths so it makes sense to have one or two around. You know, I once tried to write a drinking song but could not get past the first eight bars.
    Last edited by Charles E.; Nov-18-2017 at 7:45pm.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  26. #15
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    I'm sure they'll like it Charley. Thanks for the shout
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
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  27. #16

    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    Hey Mark, nice old time ditty! Liked the name of the sponsors too!

    Just wondering - what came first, this song or Eight more miles to Louisville? Seems like they share the same tune, which often happened back in the day.

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  29. #17
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    Grandpa Jones was an old-time player and an old-time aficionado - or I guess we could just say that he was an old-timer

    I love his tune, Eight More Miles To Louisville and I especially like hearing Sam Bush do it.

    A lot of songs have similar or same pub domain melodies - and chord progressions can't even be copyrighted IIRC - so this is common to find tunes that are very similar, and especially in old-time/folk genre I think.

    I confess that I don't know much about the history of this tune. My first exposure to it was hearing the Shelor Family playing it in a recording from 1927. These were mountain folk, hailing from Virginia, but the Shelor family also had spread into Kentucky. Young Harry Shelor, Jr. (aka Ebo Walker) was from Kentucky (I think, working off memory here) and played bass with The Bluegrass Alliance and then with Newgrass Revival before being convicted of murder.

    I'm sure that this old tune had been played and sung all across the hills earlier than 1927. Not sure when Grandpa Jones wrote Eight More Miles To Louisville?

    Added: I've never thought of the two tunes sounding alike - news to me, I'll have to have a listen soon.

    ANOTHER EDIT
    - and thanks to Johnny60 for the impetus to research a bit more on this tune!
    Following is from "Bluegrass Messengers" website at http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/b...elor-1927.aspx

    This information suggests that Sammy Shelor wrote and arranged the tune, Big Bend Gal and we music lovers got the tune sort of by accident.
    ************************************************** ****************
    Big Bend Gal/ Big Ben Gal
    Old-Time, Song & Breakdown
    ARTIST: Shelor Family (lyrics courtesy Carl Baron) from Kuntz.

    Listen: Shelor Family's Big Bend Gal
    Listen: Foothill Hoedowner's Big Ben Gal- live 1988

    CATEGORY: Fiddle and Instrumental Tunes DATE: 1927
    RECORDING INFO: Arm and Hammer String Band. Stay on the Farm, Grooveless, Cas (1983/1978), trk# B.06; 2. Shelor Family. Early Rural String Bands, RCA (Victor) LPV-552, LP (1968), trk# 7 [1927/08/02]; Blue Ridge Institute BRI 005, The Shelor Family – “Virginia Traditions: Blue Ridge Piano Syles.” RCA – LPV 552, “Early Rural String Bands.”
    RELATED TO: Eight More Miles To Louisville (tune)

    OTHER NAMES: Big Ben Gals
    SOURCES: Ceolas; Folk Index; Field Recorder's Collective

    NOTES: From Virginia’s Shelor Family (lyrics courtesy Carl Baron). The song was written/arranged by Sammy Shelor. A version may be heard on-line at the Digital Library of Appalachia: Clarice Shelor plays piano with Jesse Shelor playing rhythm on the low keys. She learned this song from her father. They live in Meadows of Dan, Virginia.

    Here's a post online; Nancy Mamlin talking:
    For years and years, and as long as Ron Cole can remember, the song
    "Big Bend Gal" has been in his repertoire. From the source (the Shelor
    Family) to the Canote Brothers, it has always been assumed that the
    song "Big Bend Gal", is about the Big Bend Gal! Mr. Bill Dillof has
    shed some new light on this subject, which has us very perplexed. The
    opening verse is:
    Ain't no use talkin' ‘bout the Big Bend gal
    Who lives on the county line.
    For Betsy came from the prairie plain
    Just to leave them way behind.
    Now then, if there's no use talking about her, could it be that the
    song is not about the Big Bend gal at all? Some folks believe that the
    Big Bend gal and Betsy are one and the same. But if you examine the
    lyrics here, they could live in different places, depending on where
    the county line is. Which leads us to: Is the prairie plain at the
    county line? If not, then Betsy is not the Big Bend gal. Also, since
    the song opens with "ain't use talkin' ‘bout" her, then why is there
    an entire song to follow if it's about her? So, therefore, we have
    strife in our family as we struggle with this all-important issue.
    There is disagreement at the house and the cats have refused to vote.
    So we ask you to help us if you know this song:
    1. Is Betsy the Big Bend Gal?
    2. Why are we talkin' ‘bout her if she isn't?
    3. Where is the county line?
    4. Is this driving you as crazy as it is us?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Actually the song begins:

    There’s no use in talking ‘bout the Big Bend Gal,

    According the Field Recorder's Collective in their article about the Shelor Family- the title was supposed to be: Big Ben Gal and was so titled in the Foothill Hoedowner's version (above).

    Article from Field Recorder's Collective: The music would have stayed only in the home, except for a talent search by Victor Records. The owner of a victrola record store in Hillsville, Mr. Walter Howlette, held auditions for local bands and Joe Blackard brought his group. The Victor Record representative liked them and gave them a recording date in Bristol, located in the southwest corner of Virginia, 125 miles away.
    Joe, Clarice, Jesse, Pyrhus, and seven year old Joseph arrived in Bristol on August 2, 1927. The recording session took place in a dusty millinery shop. They were asked to sing some of their more unusual songs although they hadn't practiced for them. Joe had to write the words out for Clarice and placed them on the piano. Pyrhus patted his foot so loudly that they finally had to put a pillow under his foot. Little Joseph was crying and getting dirt from the shelves on his face. Even with these less than ideal recording conditions, the group cut "Sandy River Belle", "Big Ben Gal" (incorrectly labeled Big Bend Gal), "Billy Grimes the Rover", and "Suzanna Gal", producing four sides on two seventy-eight rpm records.
    BIG BEND GAL Sammy Shelor Shelor Family. Early Rural String Bands, RCA (Victor) LPV-552, LP (1968), trk# 7 [1927] Listen: Shelor Family's Big Bend Gal

    [Fiddle and all]

    There’s no use in talking ‘bout the Big Bend Gal,
    That lives on the county line;
    For Betsy Jane from the prairie plain
    Just leaves them way behind.
    You never would see such a likely woman,
    If you searched out all creation;
    She beats the gals from the flat creek bottom,
    She’s the queen of the whole plantation.

    [Fiddle]

    She totes herself like a *flying squirrel
    And the men folk all come around;
    And Lord how the dewdrops get off the grass
    When she puts her feet upon the ground.
    She’s just as ripe as an apple on a tree,
    And she looks so pretty and snug;
    And her mouth’s just as sweet as a corncob stopper
    That comes out of a molasses jug.

    [Fiddle]

    The calf comes a-loping when the old cow calls,
    And the possum dog comes to the horn;
    And the grape vine climbs up the tall oak tree,
    And the morning glory wraps around the corn.
    And a fellow will turn around and come pretty quick,
    When he hears that pretty gal laugh;
    She hangs on his arm like a bird on a tree
    As they both go walking up the path.

    [Fiddle]

    Her eyes give light like a foxfire chunk,
    And her teeth are white as snow;
    And the fellers in the cotton patch keep looking back
    When they see her come chopping down the row.
    She’s gone crowd the hands where the crabgrass grows,
    And kill the weeds as she goes;
    She skippers up the furrow in a cloud of dust,
    As she busts them clods with a hoe.

    [Fiddle]
    Last edited by Mark Gunter; Nov-20-2017 at 5:37pm. Reason: added ~
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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  31. #18
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Old-Time Ditty

    G'pa Jones' first recording of Eight More Miles To Louisville was 1946, about 20 years later than this one.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
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