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Thread: Norman Blake-Original Underground Music from the Mysterious South

  1. #1
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Norman Blake-Original Underground Music from the Mysterious South

    Do you read standard notation?

    It's been a lofty goal of mine to transcribe the Norman Blake album "Original Underground Music from the Mysterious South" for some time now. I think I got a good rough draft done. I'm looking for some like minded, Norman Blake obsessed, mandolin players that could take a look at it and see if there are any egregious errors. I know that I really need to figure out all of the parts to Natasha's Waltz, I only have the lead mandolin part so far.

    PM me your email address and I'll send it to you for your feedback.

    Thanks in advance!

    Mike Black

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  3. #2
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: Norman Blake-Original Underground Music from the Mysterious S

    FYI... if you're not a record person, This album is the first 12 tracks on the Natasha's Waltz cd.
    Last edited by Mike Black; Oct-25-2018 at 4:10pm.

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    Registered User zookster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Norman Blake-Original Underground Music from the Mysterious S

    This is a highly underrated disc and well worth anyone's time who is interested in using mandolin for old time music. No, it's not bluegrass, and the mandolin's place is entirely different in the mix. It's mandolin heavy, which is quite a change, and relies on instrumental interplay rather than slick leads, much like the mandolin music of the early 20th Cen. The ensemble is the focus. Excellent picking throughout.

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    Default Re: Norman Blake-Original Underground Music from the Mysterious S

    I had the vinyl when it first came out, this record changed my life. This is in the top 3 on my desert Island list, I have played Peezlewhister, Walnut River, Pig on the engine, Third street Gypsy Rag, Natasha's Waltz, Georgia Home and Dusty Rose. I would be interested in reviewing your interpretations. My band has attempted Walnut River a few times, but I wouldn't say we were able to do it justice yet. I know Matt Flinner and Dave Benedict did New Brick Road on you tube.
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

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  8. #5
    Michael Reichenbach
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    Default Re: Norman Blake-Original Underground Music from the Mysterious S

    I have played several Norman Blake tunes, but I did not know this record.

    Luckily this is available at youtube:


    Maybe I can find some other tunes to play!
    Homepage: www.mandoisland.de / Blog: www.mandoisland.com / Freiburg / Germany

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    Registered User mingusb1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Norman Blake-Original Underground Music from the Mysterious S

    Hi Mike, I too love those recordings. Do you know Carl Jones that plays on the record? He's a great guy and I wonder if he'd be interested. I saw him just last weekend at a gig. You should be able to contact him through his website: http://dittyville.com/

    Cheers,
    Zack
    Member since 2003!

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  12. #7
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    Default Re: Norman Blake-Original Underground Music from the Mysterious S

    I missed this thread when Mike first started it but it's exciting to know that someone has finally transcribed the music from this incomparable album. This record was on the same level for me as the first DGQ album. I've written many a tune trying to recreate some of the vibe of what the Blakes and Peter Ostroushko (plus Carl Jones and Larry Sledge) came up with in the early 80s.

    To me this is really late 20th century mandolin orchestra music of the highest caliber. I've often encouraged members of mandolin orchestras to chart some of these tunes. It's something I'm not very good at. The Montana Mandolin Society did a fine recording of Blake's March on their 2006 Dance of the Sandhill CD.

    (I wrote a piece for the Atlanta Mandolin Orchestra a few years ago that was an attempt to capture some of the Mysterious South albums' spirit that I cleverly called "The North Georgia Hills." It's a pale imitation of the real thing but the AMO liked it. It was also recently recorded by my pals in the Louisville Mandolin Orchestra and Trekel in Germany has published the sheet music.)

    If I was Mike Black I might reach out to Peter O. and see if he is interested in looking over the music. I was at a workshop with him at a CMSA convention a few years ago where he talked about the genesis and recording of that album and it was clear that he had a lot to do with "orchestrating" things. We all know that he's dealing with serious health issues but he might find a project like this interesting.

    Having said that, I'm not sure how to contact Peter but probably some Cafe members do. Just a suggestion.

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  14. #8
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    Default Re: Norman Blake-Original Underground Music from the Mysterious S

    I was driving home from the store this evening and had a pleasant surprise. I heard Norman's unmistakable guitar on the radio. It was a broadcast of a concert he did here in 2012. On that concert, I backed him up on three tunes: T.A.G Railroad Rag, 3rd Street Gypsy Rag, and The Old Virginia Reel. Norman ended the show playing Coleman's March, Prettiest Little Girl in the County, and McMitchen's Reel on unaccompanied guitar. He is one of the few people who has a sound that is expansive enough to perform a medley of tunes solo and make it sound complete.

    I did not know that this recording existed. It may be the latest concert recording of Norman Blake that exists.

    The last time I spoke to Pete O., he was still recovering from his stroke and had a long way to go. I don't know if he is able to contribute to a project such as this.

    I briefly spoke to Norman last week. He is now 81, and is in good health.

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    Default Re: Norman Blake-Original Underground Music from the Mysterious S

    A friend of mine made me a cassette of Original Underground Music from the Mysterious South. On a 24 hour drive, I discovered the tape in the truck and popped it in. I think it stayed in for about 12 hours straight--I had never heard anything like that before. It was the inspiration for my Hillbilly Chamber Music recording.
    the billyhawks http://thebillyhawks.bandcamp.com

    Original Melodies for Mandolin, Mandola & Mandocello
    http://HillbillyChamberMusic.bandcamp.com

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    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Norman Blake-Original Underground Music from the Mysterious S

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Norman ...is now 81, and is in good health.
    This is good to know. Many happy returns for him and Nancy.

    I have the record. I remember playing it for a friend of mine in my university dormitory room. She commented on the record that she sees eastern european people dancing through the room. I could see her point.

    I like stuff like "Billy Gray" better. Thereīs something going on when you have a guitar and a cello... But thatīs me.

    Norman Blake (like Doc Watson, Clarence White, George Shuffler and Tony Rice - maybe even in that succession) will allways be an inspiration for me.
    Olaf

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