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Thread: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    Hi All:

    I've been invited to an Old-Time jam on Sunday in celebration of the anniversary of Stephen Foster's birth. I am very excited and honored to have received this invitation. This will be my first time playing with this group of folks, many of whom are very good musicians.

    I haven't played much of Foster's stuff up to this point, so I'll be working like crazy on Oh! Susanna, Camptown Races, and My Old Kentucky Home between now and Sunday. Any other suggestions?

    Also, is it considered appropriate to bring notation/tabs to something like this? Or is this considered strictly verboten? If it's not appropriate to bring tablature, maybe I should concentrate on trying to learn the chords instead of the melodies? Any suggestions or advice is very much welcome.

    Thanks much;
    Ed

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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    You could try Beautiful Dreamer, Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair, & Merry Merry Month of May.

    I personally wouldn't think anything of it if somebody brought tab or notation, but I'm not a highbrow ...

    Just go and have fun!

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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    "Hard Times Come No More" has proven pretty popular.

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    ************** Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    Didn't Foster write Angeline the Baker as well?
    ...

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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    If you mean Angelina Baker; yes he did.

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    Registered User Nick Royal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    A beautiful cd to recommend produced and played by Joe Weed and other musicians: "Swanee: The Music of Stephen Foster," on Highland Records. (Two different mandolinists play on the cd.)

    And a bit of trivia from the intro to the cd: "Foster was born into a large family on the 4th of July, 1826--the day our new democracy turned 50, and the same day that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died."

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    I'm fond of The Glendy Burke as well. Also, Foster's Angelina Baker is related to, but hardly identical with, the Angeline the Baker tune that's a staple of old-time sessions. Foster's has the "Angelina Baker -- Angelina Baker's gone! Left me here to weep a tear and beat on the old jaw-bone" chorus, which the fiddle/banjo standard lacks.

    So many of Foster's songs have stayed in our musical vocabulary! Remember, he never reached his 40th birthday. Also, perhaps the first in this country who considered his main profession to be "songwriter" -- not the first to write songs, but who before him considered songwriting a career?

    And regarding the question re: bringing sheet music or tabs to a jam -- normally not the practice, but when you have a thematic get-together like this, probably defensible. Will you be singing Foster's songs as well as playing them? Passing out lyric sheets might even be OK. Just be careful regarding some of the language -- check out the never-sung third verse of Oh! Susannah, e.g.
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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    I play a lot of Foster--as I'm playing a lot of banjo/harmonica, as well as diatonic accordian--which lies so well on these. Nothing says Americana like Oh Susanna and Old Folks At Home on a banjo with harmonica..

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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Kessler View Post
    "Hard Times Come No More" has proven pretty popular.
    That one sounds really cool on the mandolin. It's a pretty tune.
    I Pick, Therefore I Grin! ... "Good Music Any OLD-TIME"

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    Thanks very much to everyone for the great suggestions! I really appreciate it.

    BTW, for those interested, here are some of tabs (based on your suggestions) I've found on-line:

    http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/am...ul_dreamer.htm
    http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/fo...nth_of_may.htm
    http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/ma...endy_Burke.htm
    http://www.alltabs.com/bluegrass_tabs.php
    http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~eknuth/.../camptown.html
    http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~eknuth/.../hardtime.html

    The last two are from the great tab page of Elizabeth T. Knuth. It's fantastic!, particularly for lovers of Old-Time mandolin music:
    http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~eknuth/mandotab/

    By the way, I heard back from the host of the jam who basically said to me in his e-mail..."bring whatever instrument and notation you'd like. The idea is to play, sing, to have fun and learn great songs from the repertoire of other players...There's no pressure to impress other. The point is to have fun!" - What a great attitude and message to send!

    I'm very much looking forward to this!

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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    When I obtained my first 20-button anglo concertina--quite by chance--I taught myself to play by learning the more popular Foster tunes by ear. This material sounds especially good on free reeds, IMO, so it's also great on harmonica of course...but the advantage of concertina is that you can sing these great tunes while you play them.

    Yes, this is classic stuff, and makes people happy to hear it. Don't forget Old Folks At Home!

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    Here's our own Don grieser on the mandola:


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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    That's really nice, great job Don. That 'dola sounds great!

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    Hi All:

    I wanted to thank everyone for the input...The jam was outstanding, lasted about 6 hours (with a put-luck meal break), and I had a wonderful time !

    After much consideration, I decided to not take any chord charts or tabs, etc. with me...When I got there, other players were setting up their music stands, and asked me where my music was (lesson learned - Always take your music...You can leave it in the car if it turns out that having it is a violation of protocol).

    Fortunately, I was able to sit across from a friend of mine who is a very good guitar player, so all I needed to do was follow his chording patterns if I didn't know the tune. (During the jam, one of the other players actually asked me..."Do you know all of these songs by heart? )

    The instruments present included: 1 mandolin (yours truly), 3 guitars (1 12-string), 1 flute, 1 hammered dulcimer, 1 autoharp, 1 bowed psaltery, and 2 mountain dulcimers.

    What a great time! Thanks again for the comments.

    P.S.: Don - great work on the mandola. Shaun, thanks for posting.

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    Registered User Steve Jeter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    Thanks very much to everyone for the great suggestions! I really appreciate it.

    BTW, for those interested, here are some of tabs (based on your suggestions) I've found on-line:

    http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/am...ul_dreamer.htm
    http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/fo...nth_of_may.htm
    http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/ma...endy_Burke.htm
    http://www.alltabs.com/bluegrass_tabs.php
    http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~eknuth/.../camptown.html
    http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~eknuth/.../hardtime.html

    The last two are from the great tab page of Elizabeth T. Knuth. It's fantastic!, particularly for lovers of Old-Time mandolin music:
    http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~eknuth/mandotab/

    By the way, I heard back from the host of the jam who basically said to me in his e-mail..."bring whatever instrument and notation you'd like. The idea is to play, sing, to have fun and learn great songs from the repertoire of other players...There's no pressure to impress other. The point is to have fun!" - What a great attitude and message to send!

    I'm very much looking forward to this!
    Thank you for this. I printed out Hard Times , should go great a folk fests.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    I quite enjoy singing. I know I'm not much good, but I go on the basis that EVERYBODY can sing. This song is Hard Times Come Again No More, by Stephen Foster. I heard Hannah Rarity sing it (beautifully) at Belladrum Festival last weekend, so I thought I'd give it a go. I have always enjoyed this song, and I have particularly fond memories of the late Willie Beaton of The Incredible Fling Band singing it in the bar of the National Hotel in Dingwall, Scotland about 40 years ago (now there was a character ...).

    David A. Gordon

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stephen Foster on Mandolin & Tabs at a Jam?

    Try the Civil War version:

    "Let us pause our game of poker, take our tin cups in our hand,
    While we all stand around the cook-tent door --
    Where dried mummies of hard crackers are handed to each man.
    Oh hardtack, come again no more!

    'Tis the song, the sigh of the hungry,
    Hardtack, hardtack, come again no more!
    Many days have you lingered, upon our stomachs sore;
    Oh hardtack, come again no more!"
    Allen Hopkins
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