Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pa's Fiddle: Tunes played by Laura Engalls Wilder's Father Charles

I had missed this up till now but a very interesting set of CD's were recorded called, "Pa's Fiddle". This is a compilation of the known songs that Charles Engalls played while Laura Engels Wilder was growing up. What is even more interesting than that is the list of musicians who contributed to the effort. Pa's Fiddle Band (Shad Cobb, banjo, fiddle ; Matt Combs, fiddle ; Dennis Crouch, bass ; Matt Flinner, mandolin ; Buddy Greene, harmonica ; Bryan Sutton, guitar ; Jeff Taylor, accordion, pennywhistle piano) ; with Joe Weed, fiddle ; David Grier, guitar ; Derek Jones, bass." You may recognize David Grier and Bryan Sutton as two of the very best guitar pickers...ever. I recognize many of the others as well as very fine musicians of note. Clearly this must a quality recording that I will have to buy later this year. It's available several places. Just google or Bing it. Like I said, I am not a money making enterprise here. My wife thinks I should be but I tell her how disappointed in the amount this humble blog would generate. Nope. This is a labor of love.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Ozark Fiddle Tunes book

I was originally going to do a full on review of this book but decided a more concise description will be enough. First, this book has been out for a couple years or so now. It is a must have for Ozark Fiddle music and Old Time music aficionados. Gordon McCann and Drew Beisswenger put this together. It's a compilation of transcriptions of fiddle tunes as played by Ozark fiddlers past and present.Many of those featured were also featured on the Traditional Ozark Fiddling CD that has been out for some years now. (Another must have) For you "seconds" the chords are shown. This was why I finally bought the book. So I could learn to second some of these tunes. You also get a CD with the book as well. This makes it a great deal for those interested in Ozark fiddling and Old Time music. Highly recommended.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Just sayin...

The more I listen to Tricia Spencer's new CD the more I think...she is my favorite living fiddler. Her CD is moving me nearly as much as Hartford's "Hamilton Ironworks" CD.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review:" Play Me Something Quick And Devilish"

I just finished reading Howard Marshall's "Play Me Something Quick And Devilish". This is a newly released book about Missouri Old Time Fiddlers and the music they play. Howard Marshall has long been involved with Old Time Missouri fiddling for many decades now. Due to his personal contact with Missouri fiddlers and with his position as a Professor at The University of Missouri,he was in a particularly good vantage point to both document and to understand the history of Old Time fiddling in Missouri. This is the book we have all wanted and needed for a long time now. I have been wanting to find out more about this topic for some time now and I was pretty sure there was nothing comprehensive out there. Now we have in one book a pretty good overview of Missouri Fiddlers and the tunes they play. Marshall is an academic writer but he keeps it readable for those who are not. His style is a good blend of academic/popular. I like that he has organized his work in an academic manner with footnotes and references that we can use to follow up people and ideas with. Being an academic, he sometimes follows a theme that some might find mostly technical but this does not happen too much for me. He covers just about all the angles here and brings in a few surprises along the way. Marshall reviews the historical trail of fiddlers all through Missouri history including the French through to today. Because there is just about no record of the Spanish period, he does not say much about that but for all the other major periods he does. It was interesting to see that the French influence remains alive in Missouri. Of course, he also covers the "Old Stock Americans","Irish"(Scot Irish) Black,German,Indian,too.One very common background of many of the better known fiddlers were both Scotch Irish with some Indian in their family backgrounds.You would have expected this but Marshall found the Indian infusion an interesting phenomena that he explores at length. Of course,many of the well known fiddlers from the 20th century were examined. The only disappointment was that Roy Woolivar was only mentioned twice. I have been interested in learning more about him ever since I heard John Hartford talk about him on his "Hamilton Ironworks" CD. (See Gene Goforth's "Eminence Breakdown"CD too)I suppose there is a lack of any kind of document trail for him or I would guess that he would have covered him better. Otherwise, I felt like I understood many of these folks better after reading his biographical sketches. He has a very helpful section on the influence of early jazz on Old Time music and explains how rags became part of the typical fiddlers playlist. I found this most interesting. There is a CD included with the book. There are 39 tracks with various fiddlers representing the spectrum of fiddlers across the state.They are, Gene Goforth, Art Galbraith, John Hartford, Cyril Stinnett, Bob Holt, Taylor McBaine, Pete McMahan, Ed Tharp, Fred Stoneking, RP Christeson,Lyman Enloe, Jim Herd, Charlie Walden, Johnny Bruce, Kelly Jones, Jake Hockemeyer, Emmanuel Wood, George Helton, Cleo Persinger, John White, Billy Lee, Bunk Williams, Gary Johnson, Warren Helton, Leroy Canaday, Cliff Bryan,George Morris,Geoff Seitz, Bobby Joe Caldwell, Lloyd Lalumondier,Nile Wilson. I don't know why but he did not include Lonnie Robertson. I think this was a mistake because I regard him as one of the more important Ozark fiddlers.Otherwise, this is a good collection of tunes that help illustrate their playing styles and tunes. Not surprisingly, there is a real jewel of a tune played by Hartford called, "Moselle". I just love that tune and Hartford does it they way he does. Which is real good. So, overall, this is a wonderful book that I strongly recommend you purchase while you can. For many of us this is a long awaited source of information. University Of Missouri Press Book. Below is the author.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Last nights jam in Kansas City

Here is a clip from last nights jam. Not our best tune but not bad. We are getting into a groove now. The best is yet to come. If your interested in attending email me. Email address is on the right hand side of the blog.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Banjo Billy Mathews gravely ill.

Please pray for Billy Mathews. He is gravely ill at a hospital in Champaign Illinois. He is a wonderful person and a wonderful Old Time musician. UPDATE THURSDAY: BILLY JUST DID REAL WELL AND HAS BEEN RELEASED FROM THE HOSPITAL. THIS IS GREAT NEWS. I HOPE YOU HAVE A FULL RECOVERY BILLY. AMAZING TURN AROUND!!!