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Thread: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

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    Default What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    A lot of the focus here seems to be on fiddle tunes. I love 'em, but I'm sure lots of us love old traditional vocal tunes too. So I thought I'd start a thread on that and see if it sticks.

    The one I'm starting on now is I've Been All Around This World. I can crib from Grisman and Garcia, and Grandpa Jones if any of the feel can transfer from banjo to mandolin-- never tried thinking that way before. I love the tune, and don't want just to stick with various versions Garcia did. I'm also revisiting I'm Going That Way as played by Bill Monroe with Charlie in the early days, trying to get the second break down. I think the Bill and Charlie stuff counts as old-time, right? It isn't bluegrass yet. I love the way Bill mixes in a few blue notes with the jangly double-stops in this tune.

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    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    I'm not big on vocals - I like the sound of instruments too much to want to spoil it with singing, LOL. But there are a few songs I like that I'll do when I'm by myself. Thus far, I have avoided singing in public.

    Year of Jubilo (aka Kingdom Coming, aka Lincoln's Gunboats) is a fun tune to play by itself, and the lyrics are kind of fun to sing.

    Another one that I think is really fun, but would have to be very careful about ever doing in front of people, is Uncle Ned, while playing clawhammer banjo. And speaking of songs that go well with banjo, I admit to having tried Ducks on the Millpond a few times. Heck, I'd probably like to emulate anything Tommy Jarrell did.

    One that I'd really like to get going with some other people who can sing harmony is Working on a Building, the way Bill Monroe did it. What a great old-timey song.

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    Registered User BlueMt.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    I'm working on "Great High Mountain" more towards the Jack White version than the Ralph Stanley one. I'm also working on "Wayfaring Stranger" solo singing with fiddle.
    Eric

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    Lost my boots in transit terzinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    I Been All Around This World is a great one.

    Also, Louis Collins.

    If you enjoy Grisman/Garcia, it's all old-time awesomeness.

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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    Garcia and Grisman's version of Louis Collins got me into Mississippi John Hurt, which got me into fingerpicking. I love MJH. One of the few things that can make me put down my mandolin.

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    Bill and Charlie Monroe offer a wealth of material from the Bluebird recordings. Bill and Earl Bollic, aka The Blue Sky Boys also have wonderful songs, esp "Are You From Dixie".


    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    One can get a lot listening to Blue Sky Boys. A lot.
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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    Nice! I have to check the Blue Sky Boys out. Especially since both groups I play with (by which I mean get together in each other's living rooms to play) are just two guitars and me. Which suits me fine. I'm really drawn to just the guitar and mando combo: Bill and Charlie, Bill and Doc, Doc and Dawg, Dawg and Jerry. Now I have another to add to the list. Thanks!

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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    Oh and Jeff, thanks for the link to your Charlie Poole band. That's part of what inspired this thread

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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    I am not a purist or a musicologist or in any way certified to know this stuff, but when someone wants to know how a mandolin does old time, and how its different from how a mandolin does bluegrass, I always point to the Blue Sky Boys. In my mind its "how old time mandolin" is done.

    What I mean is not that I like them best or think they are the best. Its that many other old time mandolin recordings, fantastic though they are, are not as "pure" a representation of the style I am trying to explain. (The way Bill defines bluegrass.) The Louvin Brothers, for example, to me, have taken a few steps from old time towards country music. Dawg and Jerry, well they have taken more than a few steps off the planet, (but darn they drag a lot of fantastic music with them).
    Last edited by JeffD; Feb-02-2016 at 9:07am.
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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Miller View Post
    I'm really drawn to just the guitar and mando combo: Bill and Charlie, Bill and Doc, Doc and Dawg, Dawg and Jerry. Now I have another to add to the list. Thanks!
    You might want to check out the Armstrong Twins. Floyd and Lloyd.

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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    Stephen Foster's Hard Times. Ewen MacColl's Free Born Man. A.P. Carter's Storms are on the ocean. I'm studying Pretty Polly and all the songs that used the tune. Woody's Pastures of Plenty. Tom Paxton's Rumbling in the Land. Dylan's Hollis Brown. Sarah Jarozs' Tell Me True. Probably more, but I don't know. Anybody know of others? Maybe I could write one? OK, maybe not.

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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    Just started working on Wayfaring Stranger in A minor. Pretty simple melody-based version on the G and D strings, with lots of tremolo and liberal use of blue notes, especially the E flat. Pulling off the E flat to the open D sounds so great. Next step is to work in some double stops up high in the second half of the solo. This is really fun. First time I've built up a solo from the ground up rather than copying someone's solo or at least heavily borrowing. Nothing wrong with that, but this is a nice next step.

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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    "Jerdan Am A Hard Road to Travel" and "Down the Old Plank Road."

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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    I like Cash on the Barrelhead.

    My favorite version is the Louvin Brothers, but Jim and Jesse did a great version that is old time pointing pretty strongly to bluegrass. Great old song.

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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    A few of the old timey tunes I play for my children each night that I enjoy but don't know how much they enjoy

    Make me down a pallet
    Angel band
    Tennessee waltz
    Bury me beneath the willow

    To name a few. All have great lyrics and fun to improvise with.

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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    Lately:
    Working on a Building
    Bury me beneath the willow
    White Dove
    Banks of the Ohio
    Shady Grove

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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    You guys are practically making a list of my favorite songs. I love those songs way more than more "modern" bluegrass songs or anything being written today.

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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg7a...5lQ-HK4Y53q2dQ
    Love it, AND it's in D#. Would be nice to hear more mandolin in it. Tony Rice does a great version too, with a last verse that is apparently more original, but even so, may not be everything the author, who was in prison at the time, actually wrote.
    Here's the Tony Rice version:
    http://kidnappingmurderandmayhem.blo...ne-county.html
    Last edited by Simon DS; Feb-25-2016 at 1:08pm. Reason: addition

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    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    Marching Through Georgia, but a little different from what you are used to with that tune:
    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
    --William Shakespeare

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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    I can't really sing and play mandolin for some reason beyond just the simplest of chords, in a group if I'm singing I play very little. But I can definitely sing with guitar and now banjo too.

    Anyway, waterbound is one I'm working on now and having a lot of fun with on the banjo. Leaving Home is another. Johnny walk along (with your paper collar on), Jordan am a hard road is good too. First Unto This Country is one I like but haven't gotten a chance to play
    "When you learn an old time fiddle tune, you make a friend for life"

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    The Blackest Crow, with Autoharp. Bruce Molsky sang this, and I never forgot it.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    for vocals, I play the guitar and focus on acoustic blues from the 20s and 30s. Blind Boy Blake, Blind Boy Fuller, Rev. Gary Davis - all the blind guys!

    f-d

    p.s., this weekend, I'm performing, "Police Dog Blues."
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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    As a fellow country blues picker, may I say wow, that is some pretty tough stuff. I've tried some Blind Blake but he just kicked my ass. One of the most talented players in any genre ever. I managed to work up BBF's Meat Shakin' Woman, as long as I never tried to sing. For the most part I stick with Mississippi John Hurt, Frank Stokes, and Elizabeth Cotten. Still wonderful guitarists, but approachable by mere mortals. I'd love to hear your rendition of Police Dog. That's a great one.

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: What old-time/traditional vocal tune are you working on?

    The late Rev. Gary Davis was not one to praise other guitarist's but he said of Blind Blake " he was a sporting guitar player".
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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