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Thread: Listening Recommendations, American Primitive

  1. #1
    Registered User jdchapman's Avatar
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    Default Listening Recommendations, American Primitive

    Hey Y'all,

    I've been on a solid American Primitive kick lately. I'm wearing out the latest Nathan Salsburg, the new Gwenifer Raymond and the Thousand Incarnations of the Rose anthology.

    Anyway, mandolin-wise, what should I do with this? Guitar and banjo can't be the only instruments in this genre? Anybody know of anyone out there playing with these ideas on our instrument family?

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    Default Re: Listening Recommendations, American Primitive

    I don't know if this exactly fits your genre, but I've been on an 1840-80's kick lately: civil war era, negro spirituals, etc..., and I'm not finding a lot of mandolin. Still, it's pretty fun coming up with my own arrangements with a lot of simple chords and droning. I did a version of Down in the River to Pray a month ago using all one finger chords, and yes, a capo so I could get it up to E so I could sing. The best part was the guitarist with me stopped strumming and just "thumped" along to the beat. I was pleasantly surprised at how enthusiastically everyone joined in.
    Being right is overrated. Doing right is what matters.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Listening Recommendations, American Primitive

    Anthology of american folk music, roscoe holcomb, good for what ails you, the stuff dreams are made of, smithsonian classic banjo, tone poems i, ii, iii, are a few that come to mind.

    I had not heard "american primitive" as a genre label before, but i sampled a thousand roses, which i really liked. But, those are ...more to my ear, a sixties reinvention of older styles. It is "primitive" in a way, but to my ear, not old or pre turn of the century. Fahey, kotke, and others.

    There are civil war cds, but, i cant recommend any in particular. Considr stephen foster too. Seems there are a couple of really great stephen foster ensemble albums.

    The albums ive listed, all of which i have, are actually old, primitive musical styles, or, older songs (tone poems).

    Good for what ails you is early hokum and medicine show recordings.

    Only tone poems will provide concentrated mandolin. Anthology is also superb, but not a great deal of mando...actually it might not have any, as i cant think of any.

    Old memphis jug band , gus cannon, has some older, pre jazz style has some mando.yank rachel, blues mando...

    Dont know if this helps.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Listening Recommendations, American Primitive

    Was looking for similar stuff when I started this thread:
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...ight=primitive

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    Default Re: Listening Recommendations, American Primitive

    Primitive mandolin does not get any better than this collection:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-9D_Y3B_3w

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    Registered User jdchapman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Listening Recommendations, American Primitive

    This is some fun stuff.

    Agreed "American Primitive" is a silly name for the genre. (Not my coinage.) I guess "people who play solo acoustic, probably in a weird tuning, and clearly like Mingus, Blind Blake, and, naively, various Indian classical forms" is too long. Nothing exclusively, or even predominantly, American about it as far as I can tell, and it's not primitive. The Troggs were primitive!

    I've been trying to mess with tunings too. Pretty fun, but I'm not smart enough to like my own arrangements all that much.

    I don't know how I missed Buzz Busby. Not anything like what I was asking about, but WOW! Raw and weird.

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    Registered User Miltown's Avatar
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    Default Re: Listening Recommendations, American Primitive

    Quote Originally Posted by RobBob View Post
    Primitive mandolin does not get any better than this collection:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-9D_Y3B_3w
    That is a fantastic record! Anyone have any info about the artists on it?

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    Registered User jdchapman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Listening Recommendations, American Primitive


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    Default Re: Listening Recommendations, American Primitive

    RobBob, you’re my new hero... you & Apple Music.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Listening Recommendations, American Primitive

    I think this used to be called New Age Music, more or less though it seems like it incorporates some traditional folk flavors mixed with parts of Americana into it. Some of those guys like Leo Kottke and John Fahey were basically virtuoso steel string players with a background in blues more or less. I don't think they have changed that much esp Fahey who is no longer with us, but i giess others are lumped into this genre. There is some nice playing there in any case.

    I also like the more primitive stuff as linked on above posts. All good music for the most part. I am a big fan of listening to as much music and a lot of different stuff as possible.
    Jim

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