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Thread: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

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    Default cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Do you have any tunes that you play that no one plays at jams?

    Like:
    New Camptown Races
    Little Rock Getaway

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Its funny, I have two or three jams that I go to. My local Tuesday night jam, mostly northern OT, you know, contra dance tunes, Irish traditional, New England, French Canadian, a little southern OT. Things like Liberty and Over the Waterfall

    Then there are folks I jam with regularly at festivals. And while its the same music, its different tunes, wilder, lot of French Canadian, lots of obscure Irish. THings like Reel Te Me and Josephins and Wizards Walk, and Jump at the Sun and some Scandinavian tunes.

    Then there are the southern OT jams and folks I jam with Southern OT festivals. We do all the regular southern, and some of the more obscure OT stuff. Western Country, Black Eyed Susie, Spotted Pony would be typical.

    Most of the tunes I do in the second and third jam I don't do in the first jam, not because they don't like them, they just don't play them. The regular Tuesay jam has a narrower set of tunes. I can bring a tune in, but I have to teach it to them, and bring it up every week or so, and hope it catches fire. Occationally it does.

    I have a few set pieces that I do, slowish aires, some beautious waltzes and the like, and tunes in odd keys that really aren't good in a jam because they are not as well known and don't seemto catch fire at jams. Things like Limerick's Lamentation, Planxty Drew


    And then there are a few tunes that nobody plays at jams anymore, because we have all gotten plain tired of them. Beautiful tunes, yea, but after the 3541638413687168176387 time playing them, you need a break. The tunes will come back into vogue I am sure, but not right away. Ashokan Farewell comes to mind.
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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Several by Robert Earl Keen; Willie, Lonely Feeling, Bluegrass Widow, his cover of Sonora's Death Row (Kevin Farell originaly), Train Trek, Let the Music Play

    Some by James McMurtry: Levelland, Song for a Deckhand's Daughter, Six Year Drought

    Of course Time by Tom Waits.

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    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Waltz for Bill Monroe
    Watson Blues
    Dawg's Waltz
    Phil

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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Philphool.....come on over, we'll jam out on Watson's Blues & Dawg's Waltz.
    I've only found a few folks who played Tony Rice's Swing 51 from on the first DGQ album.
    Most Bill Monroe instrumentals..... except for a few..... & just about all Dawg tunes fit in this category.......the Grisman tune I hear the most is probably EMD.

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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Quote Originally Posted by SternART View Post
    Philphool.....come on over, we'll jam out on Watson's Blues & Dawg's Waltz.
    I've only found a few folks who played Tony Rice's Swing 51 from on the first DGQ album.
    Most Bill Monroe instrumentals..... except for a few..... & just about all Dawg tunes fit in this category.......the Grisman tune I hear the most is probably EMD.
    Swing 51...yeah! Great tune. I've been playing it for years. For Grisman tunes, Cedar Creek gets played a bit around here.

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    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Quote Originally Posted by SternART View Post
    Philphool.....come on over, we'll jam out on Watson's Blues & Dawg's Waltz.
    I've only found a few folks who played Tony Rice's Swing 51 from on the first DGQ album.
    Most Bill Monroe instrumentals..... except for a few..... & just about all Dawg tunes fit in this category.......the Grisman tune I hear the most is probably EMD.
    Thanks. If I ever get to the Left Shore, I'll look you up. Not too many folks around my area seem to get into Dawg much.
    I'll have to try Swing 51. I haven't heard it in years. Another goal for me.
    Yeah, if I hear a Grisman tune around here, it's gonna be EMD!
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Oh theres a ton of the obscure Monroe, Reno and Smiley, Jim and Jesse songs/ tunes that a lot of the people I see at jams don't know any of them, but now all this new stuff they know.

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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    There are loads of tunes which have fallen away:

    Crazy Creek
    Snowball
    NCR
    Billy In The Lowground
    Kentucky Chimes
    Sure-Fire
    many more

    And to call out the changes whilst I'm playing takes away from the whole thing big-time.

    Unless I get up with a similarly-experienced mando or fiddle picker, these and others are simply not done. What is done are the ultra-common: Wheel Hoss, Goldrush, Soldier's Joy, Daybreak In Dixie..etc. It gets old to play these over and over.

    And fuggetabout Dawg tunes, other than EMD. Even the simple ones like Fanny Hill, Cedar Hill are neglected. Ah, civilians....

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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    The thing about a jam session is that the tunes (I'm reading instrumentals, no singing) have to be familiar enough for everyone to follow along. Once it gets too complicated it's not going to work for everyone.

    Here's a couple I jammed on last weekend that dont get played often enough and are pretty easy to pick up:

    Salt Spring & Nesser - John Reischman
    Tommorow's Breakdown - Avram Siegel
    Molly Bloom - Alan Munde

    With respect to Salt Spring, we had a jam with Charlie Edsall and Mark Miracle from Sawmill Road and even though they had not head the tune they just tore it up!

    And a couple I think could be done pretty easily (that don't get played):

    Tennessee Hardwood - Aubrey Haynie
    Missing Vassar - Ricky Skaggs

    And a couple of "classics" I think shoud get played more often:

    Tombstone Junction and Come Hither To Go Yonder - Bill Monroe
    Foggy Mountain Special - Earl Scruggs
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    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    A tune that I've always liked that almost no one plays is Orange Mountain Special. It's a Pete Wernick tune from the first Country Cookin' album.
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    No one plays many fiddle tunes or instrumental type tunes at the jams I attend. They wouldn't know "Old Dangerfield" from Rodney Dangerfield. If it ain't got words, they ain't a playin it!
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    But, would those tunes still be "cool" if everyone was playing them?

    Then, otoh, there's the advice of a Sippie Wallace blues song, revived by Bonnie Raitt: "Don't Advertise Your Man". - i.e. if you've found some really cool unknown/obscure songs or tunes, maybe it's better to keep it to yourself and save it for your own band, CD, project.
    (For example, I never should have played my mandolin version of "Secret Agent Man" in a jam with various members of Mando Mafia way back at Vandalia (Charleston, WV) back in the late 80s. In fact my wife chastised me for doing it on the ride home, saying..."they're gonna steal your material, you just watch.")

    NH

    But where, in the course of a "jam", are even some of the "hits" from:
    - Hank Williams (Sr.), Bob Wills, George Jones, Buck Owens, Elvis, Merle Haggard, Sons of The Pioneers, Johnny Cash.....
    - Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, BB King, Chuck Berry & Bo Diddley,
    - Dan Hicks, Mose Allison, Commander Cody,
    - Smokey Robinson, Temptations, Aretha, Ray Charles, Drifters, Coasters, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, etc.
    - Beatles , Stones, Kinks, Creedence/Fogerty, Beach Boys, Rod Stewart, surf guitar (Pipeline, The Munsters, Goldfinger etc), Pink Floyd, The Rutles, Elton John, Springsteen, CSNY, Eagles, Byrds, Dead........

    There are plenty of tunes/songs that have obvious and/or fairly easy-to-follow chord progressions (at moderate tempos) that aren't "How Mountain Girls Can Love" or "I'll Fly Away" which most of the pickers should be able to follow - besides, it's stuff that folks have heard plenty of times on the radio.

    There's nothing better, imo, to enliven a jam more than the presence of someone who used to play/sing in Top 40 bands for years and years.

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    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Mandocrucian:

    At last night's jam we played:

    2 Merle Haggard songs (can't remember which)
    "Last Kiss" by Frank Wilson (We were out on a date in my daddy's car....)
    Folsom Prison Blues
    House of the Rising Sun
    Glendale Train
    Blue Bayou
    Cocaine (a la Clapton)
    Jambalaya
    Oh Lonesome Me
    Wolverton Mountain
    Long Black Train
    Are You From Dixie
    Summertime
    Good Hearted Woman
    Rawhide
    Honky Tonk Nighttime Man

    among the array of usual Bluegrass & Gospel

    I thought the mando fit right in.

    Oh, and I had "Secret Agent Man" ready (really!!) and didn't get to it.
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    Several by Robert Earl Keen; Willie, Lonely Feeling, Bluegrass Widow, his cover of Sonora's Death Row (Kevin Farell originaly), Train Trek, Let the Music Play
    We do Willie and Swervin' In My Lane. Robert Earl Keen Jr writes some really creative and bizarre stuff. How about The Armadillo Jackal!

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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Quote Originally Posted by Gutbucket View Post
    No one plays many fiddle tunes or instrumental type tunes at the jams I attend. They wouldn't know "Old Dangerfield" from Rodney Dangerfield. If it ain't got words, they ain't a playin it!
    That's interesting. In our jam there are a couple of singers, so every so often there is a "singing song".

    There are some groups around here (within an hour or so drive) that are mostly songs, but folks songs and classic rock songs, not a lot of bluegrass songs.
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    We always have what seems to be a standard set of the old bluegrass and old-timey tunes...I've tried to get my jam-mates to try something more Newgrass (because we always do the same stuff, strangely), but nobody seems to know any. I guess this comes from me being big on instrumentals....
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoviol View Post
    We always have what seems to be a standard set of the old bluegrass and old-timey tunes...I've tried to get my jam-mates to try something more Newgrass (because we always do the same stuff, strangely), but nobody seems to know any. I guess this comes from me being big on instrumentals....
    There are a lot of great Newgrass instrumentals and singing songs. Beats me why no one wants to try them. I respect the old school, but there's a plethora,(how's that word for a hick like me), of new material out there. The last time I tried a new String Dusters tune on the gang, I got blank stares and heard cricketts chirping. Maybe it just sucked, but the responce was dismal.
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    The big problem with alot of newgrass is that the chords are more complicated (interesting) than the basic 1,4,5 and sometimes 6 chord progressions. It's hard to get them going.

    I one of my fiddle playing friends and I are trying to get folks playing Big Sciota and Jerusalem Ridge. I don't know why Big Sciota does not catch on. Folks tell us it sounds nice and the chords are not bad. We know why Jerusalem Ridge is not played. We just stared with it and we are going to make an effort. Just learned it and I'm obsessed with it.

    The group that tends to go to many of the local jams will play 2 DGQ tunes. EMD, and Minor Swing (often). I've learned Opus 38 but have not busted that one out yet.

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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    I asked at a bluegrass jam on Saturday about Stephen Foster songs and nobody knew any!!!??? No, Camptown Races, Old Folks at Home, etc.
    Then again there are things like Streets of Laredo and even Maurice Chevalier's signature song "Louise". All fun to play.

    I have a book of Candian Servicemen's Songs from WWII that has great stuff in it like: "Barnacle Bill the Sailor" and "Mademoiselle from Armentieres" and "A Band of Banshee Airmen". Also, easy and fun
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    So mandocrucian & Philphool thanks for validating in my own mind that I'm not alone in loving these classic tunes that are so much a part of people's musical history. When Lightnin' Charlie and I play these it's like memory lane for players and listeners alike. Some could be adapted into a bluegrass setting but we really go into a Country Blues/Swing kinda thing. How about these:

    Crazy Arms
    Heartaches By The Numbers Ray Price

    Honky Tonk Blues
    Hey Good Lookin'
    Mind Your Own Business (Great Call & Response)
    Moanin' The Blues Hank Williams, Sr.

    Swingin' Doors
    Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down
    Workin' Man Blues Merle Haggard

    T For Texas Ernest Tubb

    Set Em' Up Joe Vern Gosdin

    Stagolee Professor Longhair

    Are You Sure Hank Done It That Way? Waylon Jennings

    You can start playing any of these songs and players fall into the groove because the chord progression is easy and familiar enough it's not intimidating for the less experienced in the jam.
    The blues in these tunes allow a slower tempo if that's what's desired - but man Workin' Man Blues can get going too fast real quick. And Stagolee - really funny lyrics.

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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    I like to stretch back and do:

    A Fool Such as I - Hank Snow version
    It Don't Hurt Anymore - Hank Snow version

    Fernario (aka peggy-O)

    Nobody Wants You When You're Down and Out (Cool progression-Nobody wants to stop playing this one)

    Hard Times Come Again No More - speaking of Stephen Foster
    (This one has phrases you won't meet every day:
    "frail forms fainting at the door"
    "pale drooping maiden "
    "sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave"
    "dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave")

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    Last edited by lmartnla; Sep-14-2009 at 7:02pm. Reason: add song

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    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Quote Originally Posted by brown akers View Post
    So mandocrucian & Philphool thanks for validating in my own mind that I'm not alone in loving these classic tunes ..... How about these:

    Crazy Arms
    Heartaches By The Numbers Ray Price

    Honky Tonk Blues
    Hey Good Lookin'
    ......
    Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down
    Workin' Man Blues Merle Haggard

    .....

    Are You Sure Hank Done It That Way? Waylon Jennings....

    Hey man. You'd fit right in at my jam group.
    I actually did "Secret Agent Man" last night.
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    Registered User jim_n_virginia's Avatar
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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    Quote Originally Posted by montana View Post
    Do you have any tunes that you play that no one plays at jams?
    There is a fine line to walk here. You could walk into most jams and play Brilliancy or Get up John and for the most part you would be playing by yourself. In other words you will be "performing" not jamming.

    Part of the reason for the jam is the socialization of it in my opinion not just the the venue to play music I think, but I understand that for a lot of folks the jam IS the only place they get to play for others.

    BUT ... here is where the fine line comes in ... you have to introduce new tunes to your group or yall will just be playing the same old tunes over and over every week.

    There is a balance ... introduce new tunes that are simple and thus jam friendly. My personal rule is if you have to teach it or shout out the chords all the way through it is not a jam friendly tune.

    Some of the tunes I think that are not done a lot everywhere but familiar enough to where people generally have heard of them or it would be easy enough to find the tune online to learn is...

    Rebecca
    Jerusalem Ridge
    Down Home Waltz
    Dixie Hoedown
    Nashville Skyline Blues

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    Default Re: cool tunes that no one plays at jams

    In my experience, the larger the jam, the more it needs to dumb-down to a lowest common denominator (and no offence intended with that comment).

    For all to join in, the tunes *have* to be accessible to all and have to be of the simple type - Soldier's Joy is one. Flowerpot hosted a wonderful gathering at his home. Hans B. was there with his gorgeous mandolins, plus many super pickers showed up - John R (from this site), Eric Robertson, Dave O'Brien, Mandoe (from this site), Jeff Foxall, others. We all sat in a circle. What did we pick? Why...Soldier's Joy, Arkansas Traveller, Redwing, etc. The common herd. Even Monroe tunes were tough to do, as the changes to some of them are quirky.

    A couple of us went off in a corner and tried some of the Grisman, Rice, Django stuff. But for the collective group, it was stuff that's on the first page of any banjo book...and that was ok.

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