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Thread: Ragtime Skedaddlers and The Etcetera String Band

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    Default Ragtime Skedaddlers and The Etcetera String Band

    Anyone else a fan of this music? I recently rediscovered a couple old CDs by The Etcetera String Band - Fun on the Levee and Harvest Hop - featuring ragtime pieces, cakewalks and marches from the Kansas/Missouri region, 1895 to 1909 time period.
    These recordings were made in the mid 1970's (I think) and feature Dennis Pash on mandolin. You may know him from a more recent band called the Ragtime Skedaddlers where he played banjolin better than anybody has ever played that instrument.

    Most of the sheet music for these vintage ragtime pieces is findable online. Starting with Fun on the Levee I've been selecting some favorite tracks to transcribe into simplified single note mandolin tab head melodies using a combination of the piano sheet music and just listening by ear. It's a slow going brain teaser - lots of flats...Bb, Eb, Ab ugh - but lots of fun. I've noticed that The Etcetera String Band would often change the key into a more mandolin friendly one, so that's good for working out the transposing muscles, and of course they were playing it as mandolin + guitar arrangements so sometimes to fill gaps you can pull notes from what the guitar is playing for part of a measure.
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    Last edited by sixwatergrog; Jul-07-2020 at 9:44pm. Reason: to subscribe

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    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ragtime Skedaddlers and The Etcetera String Band

    I'm a fan.
    Cary Fagan

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    Default Re: Ragtime Skedaddlers and The Etcetera String Band

    Dennis Pash wields a mean banjo-mandolin, for sure. He even makes it sound musical. I got hold of the Skedaddlers CD a while ago and I have enjoyed it a lot but I was unaware of the Etcetera Band, so thanks for this.
    Keep us up to date on any transcriptions you make. I like playing this stuff, although I don't claim much competence in doing so.
    Anglocelt
    mainly Irish & Scottish but open to all dance-oriented melodic music.
    Mandos: Gibson A2, Mike Black A4, Taran Springwell, Shippey Rosewood; TM and OM by J E Dallas (London) & Davidson.

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ragtime Skedaddlers and The Etcetera String Band

    I enjoy the Skeddadlers, and thanks for telling us about the Etcetera String Band.

    Here's a video that I can't get enough of (it pops up on the forum from time to time), with Keith Carey on cello, and Bill Foss playing a commodium, Keith's creation, and Meredith Axelrod (corrected) playing guitar, and vocals with the others. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Hokum Blues w Vocal Trio and Commodium".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQy1om865I0



    Here's the original Hokum Blues by the Dallas String Band: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7saLgpdb8A
    Last edited by Ranald; Jul-08-2020 at 4:11pm.
    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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    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ragtime Skedaddlers and The Etcetera String Band

    Quote Originally Posted by sixwatergrog View Post
    Anyone else a fan of this music? I recently rediscovered a couple old CDs by The Etcetera String Band - Fun on the Levee and Harvest Hop - featuring ragtime pieces, cakewalks and marches from the Kansas/Missouri region, 1895 to 1909 time period.
    These recordings were made in the mid 1970's (I think) and feature Dennis Pash on mandolin. You may know him from a more recent band called the Ragtime Skedaddlers where he played banjolin better than anybody has ever played that instrument.

    Most of the sheet music for these vintage ragtime pieces is findable online. Starting with Fun on the Levee I've been selecting some favorite tracks to transcribe into simplified single note mandolin tab head melodies using a combination of the piano sheet music and just listening by ear. It's a slow going brain teaser - lots of flats...Bb, Eb, Ab ugh - but lots of fun. I've noticed that The Etcetera String Band would often change the key into a more mandolin friendly one, so that's good for working out the transposing muscles, and of course they were playing it as mandolin + guitar arrangements so sometimes to fill gaps you can pull notes from what the guitar is playing for part of a measure.
    A tip no one asked about. Once you upload those you can easily stream them using our Forum BB Code. As such:



    This should increase listener-ship marginally as some won't have their browser configured to listen to MP3s or just don't know how.

    On a PC right-click the MP3 after it's uploaded (the link) and select Copy Link Address, then insert that between a beginning and ending MP3 BB Code tag, instructions here. On a Mac hold down the Ctrl key, click the link then select Copy Link to grab that web address of the MP3.

    Dennis Pash used to hang around these parts a bit, maybe still does. Fine musician.

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    Default Re: Ragtime Skedaddlers and The Etcetera String Band

    Thanks for the video. I though that woman's name was Meredith Axelrod? I've seen other videos with her and like them all.

    The transcriptions are slow going and I have sort of my own way of writing it out in mandolin tab where I don't like to use bars between measures or think of it that way.

    I'm just coming off a three year project where I tried to come up with one new tune a week so after writing out about 150 tunes and getting them from the imagination or ear onto paper you develop I guess a peculiar shorthand way of understanding this.

    These ragtime tunes are so dependent on the syncopated rhythm that I could never just look at the music and play them at all correctly. But at the same time they are so complex that I couldn't begin to transcribe all the notes just by ear alone. So it takes me hours to decipher what the old sheet music is saying and where those notes correspond to notes played on the audio track. Once I get that lined up I just re-write it basically into a tab format that is much easier for me to look at and understand. I'm trying to do about one or two a week as a new hobby!

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    Default Re: Ragtime Skedaddlers and The Etcetera String Band

    By the way I liked the ragtime tune called "A Catchy Thing" right away because it reminded me of the bluegrass fiddle tune Blackberry Blossom - at least in the A part (see the uploaded mp3 file).

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ragtime Skedaddlers and The Etcetera String Band

    Quote Originally Posted by sixwatergrog View Post
    Thanks for the video. I though that woman's name was Meredith Axelrod? I've seen other videos with her and like them all.

    The transcriptions are slow going and I have sort of my own way of writing it out in mandolin tab where I don't like to use bars between measures or think of it that way.
    You're right. She is Meredith Axelrod, which leaves me wondering who's "Meredith Baxter"? The name rings a bell. I corrected that above (post 4), just to confuse future readers. I agree with you about ragttime. It's quite exacting and requires, at the least, many listenings or many playings. Someone said recently on the Forum that "Alabama Jubilee", his warm-up piece, is the hardest tune he plays. I agree. If I don't play that one regularly, I must go back and relearn sections.
    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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