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Thread: Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

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    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

    OMG - My radio alarm is tuned to KQAC-FM, our local classical music station, and I awoke this morning to Flop Eared Mule! Really! The announcer came on afterwards and identified it as "Holiday Schottische" by Stephen Foster. Yes, THAT Stephen Foster. Here's a video I found:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzeafxLsnzE


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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

    Thanks, Hank. That's news to me.
    There are quite a few tunes with a similar history, moving from one style of music and another. In the 1990's, I asked my Folklore students in Newfoundland what tune you sing when you carry a child on your back while pretending to be a horse. They all sang the same tune. I asked why they used this. No one knew. I explained that, in my childhood, the tune was the theme music for "The Lone Ranger," a TV western series. Before that, it was the theme for The Lone Ranger" radio dramas. And it originated as a part of "The William Tell Overture," an overture for an opera, by Rossini. (Since then, it's been used for The Lone Ranger movie.) None of my students could trace this farther than their families' oral traditions.

    Here's a great mandolin version of "Flop-Eared Mule"; if the links don't work, search You Tube for "Gid Tanner/ Flop-Eared Mule":

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewcESp1tvSc



    William Tell Overture Finale:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIbYCOiETx0

    Lone Ranger Theme:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCO6smQrjJ8
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Registered User Joe Dodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

    I haven't picked that tune in years and years and never liked it much, but Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers do a nice job with it.

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    Default Re: Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

    We do that tune often. As many doubtless do, we have a fiddler who can do a great imitation of mule on the B part.
    Indulge responsibly!

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    funny....

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    Default Re: Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    Thanks, Hank. That's news to me.
    There are quite a few tunes with a similar history, moving from one style of music and another. In the 1990's, I asked my Folklore students in Newfoundland what tune you sing when you carry a child on your back while pretending to be a horse. They all sang the same tune. I asked why they used this. No one knew. I explained that, in my childhood, the tune was the theme music for "The Lone Ranger," a TV western series. Before that, it was the theme for The Lone Ranger" radio dramas. And it originated as a part of "The William Tell Overture," an overture for an opera, by Rossini. (Since then, it's been used for The Lone Ranger movie.) None of my students could trace this farther than their families' oral traditions.

    Here's a great mandolin version of "Flop-Eared Mule"; if the links don't work, search You Tube for "Gid Tanner/ Flop-Eared Mule":

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewcESp1tvSc



    William Tell Overture Finale:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIbYCOiETx0

    Lone Ranger Theme:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCO6smQrjJ8
    I always loved that tune !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  8. #6

    Default Re: Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

    I played this tune 10 years ago. It seems like a mulennium.


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    Default Re: Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

    Add steroids and it sounds something like this.

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    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

    There IS a mule in there! (and by golly I'm gonna find it)

    I do enjoy good fiddling and unexpected quotes from one classic in another.
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    Default Re: Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

    News to me, too. The version I learned it from is by The Holy Modal Rounders, from their classic double album. (Classic? Yep, you bet. Released before The Beatles' first LP. ) I'll bet they credit the composer as being "Trad." (He sure got around. ) I believe the lyric contributions are their own, certainly the second verse. Enjoy! And if this doesn't put a smile on your face check your pulse. You might be dead.

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

    Roy Clark's version is nothing to sneer at either (about two-thirds of the way through, but who'd want to skip "Alabama Jubilee"):
    If links don't work, search YouTube for "Roy Clark - Alabama Jubilee (&) Flop Eared Mule".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2UPwc7G-TU

    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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  17. #11
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

    Sometimes I wonder -- do you think Roy Clark had as much fun playing showoff tunes as he appeared to be having? He really was jam full of talent on just about anything with "strangs".

    And the Holy Modal Rounders. Oh man. Loved them then; still do.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

    My long-time musical collaborator and mentor, Geneseo NY musicologist/professor/caller/fiddler etc. Jim Kimball, told me that Flop-Eared Mule derived from an Eastern European tune, a theory borne out by these notes from Ukrainian-American Fiddle Music; The First Recordings 1926-1936, released on Folkloric Records in 1977.

    As for influences on American fiddle music, a remarkable similarity has been pointed out between a Ukrainian "Dowbush Kozak" and the North American fiddle tune "Flop-Eared Mule," although we are at a loss to explain this "fiddle connection."

    It would take a lot of sleuthing to uncover how a Ukranian fiddle melody could have crossed the Atlantic pre-Civil War, to be heard and transcribed by Foster as Holiday Schottische. Possibly the influence went the other way, and the Ukrainian fiddler could have heard a dance band playing the American melody in Europe? Foster copyrighted the tune in 1854; I can't find a date for the earliest reported incidence of the tune in Ukraine.

    One of those "universal" tunes that crops up in many parts of the Western music tradition, I guess.
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    Default Re: Flop Eared Mule -- by Stephen Foster (?!?!?!)

    I have just started trying to play the song ! Always liked it !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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