Truman Price

Fiddle and …

(in progress)
Songs and tunes played, as vaguely recalled the morning after:

New Year’s Party 2014-15 at Bergel’s, lots of music. My leads:
Folsom Prison Blues
Gloucester Wassail
(everyone singing!)
Breakin’ Up Christmas
Mind Yr Own Business

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Jan 20 for Washington Manor
* were requested by the audience: the others were my choices

Wait for the Wagon
*She’ll be comin’ round the mountain
*So High, you Can’t Get Over it
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
So Long, Been Good to Know you
(only one w/ guitar)
*Old MacDonald’s Farm
Home on the Range
* Good Old Mountain Dew
You Are My Sunshine
Five Foot Two Eyes of Blue
Over the Waves (instr.)
*instr. request: St. Anne’s Reel
*Sweet Betsy From Pike
I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
Valsetz Loggers Lament
*Polly Wolly Doodle
Uncle Sam’s Farm
Yankee Doodle
Explanation of Violin vis. Fiddle
*Oh Suzanna + Gold Rush Version
The Blue-Tailed Fly (Jimmy Crack Corn)
Days of Old, Days of Gold
Golden Slippers

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Feb 14 2015

What a day: three gigs.

1)  with OOTFA in state capitol rotunda, noon:
Wait for the Wagon
Uncle Sams Farm
Oh Suzanna

The Capitol Rotunda is incredibly noisy: although I belted lyrics out full voice, they were unintelligible ten feet away. But the TV camera was right there for the Uncle Sam’s Farm

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2)  Santiam Historical Society  Feb 14, 1:30-3:30

A nice afternoon in Stayton, in the Historical Brown House, for the Santiam Historical Society.  Thought it would be a 45 minute – one hour program, but it went for a full two hours.  Approximate list, memory, with small bits from the explanations:
Rights of Man   (“that was written around in Northumberland 1843 by… and wasn’t representative of OTrail music, should be more like a hoedown…
like Betty Martin;  Quote from an oldtimers reunion in Salem 1875: “on our train of 1845, young Simeon Smith played that Betty Martin from one end of the trail to the other” )
Pretty Betty Martin & comments on its history and variants
.    (After the two tunes we invited comments and queries from everyone, which led to several of the tunes below);
Wait for the Wagon  (one of the most popular songs of the mid-19th century…)
(the Hutchinson family singers; the homestead act, which applied only to Oregon Country…)
Uncle Sam’s Farm
(How the blackface minstrel music era began; Thomas Moore’s Irish Songs been the most popular 1810, 20, 30, then traveling singer Pappy Rice learned the next song from a stevedore in Pittsurgh… and had to borrow his rags.)
Turkey in the Straw
(named for the horse of 1841)

Oh Suzanna   (this gold rush version was the number one hit of 1849, much bigger than the original song written in 1848)
Gal I Left Behind Me
& the Oregon version,  Girl I Left Behind   (as printed in the Oregon Territorial Observer in 1855; the first newspaper west of the Mississippi, published by a literary society of about 8 men, led by Doc Newell)
Mississippi Sawyer and its early version  The Fall of Paris both.
At the Foot of Yonders Mountain (which is about being far away from the loved one)
The Parting of Friends   (O’Carolan, sweet and sad instrumental; played at a gathering in Northern Ireland 1798; discussion of the Scots-Irish emigrants from the Presbyterian northern counties to Pennsylvania and the Carolinas, then to Appalachia and West, and their tremendous influence on American music)
Barbara Allen  (a sample of the long ballad)
Old Dan Tucker  (Discussion of Pa Ingalls’ music and the importance of the Little House on the Prairie series as a look at the nature of music on the frontier; Laura said she wrote the books to pass on her father’s songs and stories… she names 58 different songs, quoting several  of them in entirety… I’ve played all but two)
Nellie Bly  (played by a German emigrant family on the Oregon Trail in 1854, two months after it was published)
Western Country (Fly Away, my pretty miss)  (reference to one young lady’s account, in Holmes, of walking across the prairie and the daily routine, including frequent evening dances after walking 15 miles)
Soldier’s Joy  (with dance calls for Duck the Oyster, one couple through and chorus)
Rosin the Bow
..a bit of Jordan is a Hard Road to Travel  (as sung in Jacksonville in 1855, as was the next:)
The Days of  ’49
Rose on the Mountain   (a lovely tune, now forgotten, written down by Knaupff in 1839)

& maybe more! … skipped the story of Letitia Carson, slave turned freedwoman, who won the lawsuit over her property near Corvallis in 1854, because I didn’t bring my songbook in and was afraid I’d blow some of verses of my song about her. ..

I had to end it after two hours, but I think everyone there, including me, seemed delighted, and we could have kept going….  !

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3)  Square dance, at Guthrie, 7- 10:00 pm (up to 10 squares crammed in the small space)
Called these:
Skip to my Lou
Duck the Oyster – 2 squares
sudden influx of 13 carloads!
Duck the Oyster – with 10 squares
Take a Peek
Plow the Row
Virginia Reel
Swing Lucky 7 –
inc. a line-dance trip through the parking lot
Texas Star
Forward 6 back 6
Fred’s Mixer
Swing Sally Goodin
… (& what did I forget?)
           — altogether, was a nice day it was!

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Jam at Tru and Suzi’s 15 Feb 15

Barlow Knife
Big Scioty
Puncheon Floor
Shove that Pig’s Foot
Granny Blair
(from Estel Bingham) [ note: work on this!]

a bit of Washington’s March, from 1789 – t.
Aura Lee
Jenny on the Railroad
Indian Nation
Old Aunt Jenny with her Night Cap On
(3 parts, crooked); from Estil Bingham via Bruce Greene
Fort Smith Breakdown

All The Good Times are Past and Gone
Lightning in the East
Benton’s Dream
(Benton Flippen, via Shep)
Horse and Buggy
Lonesome John
Angus Campbell
(from Gene England, via tru)
I’m as Happy As I can Be in This Land
Snowbird in the Ashbank
(Booker’s tune, via tru_
St. Antoine’s Reel
Brushy Fork of John’s Creek
Billy in the Low Ground – 1839 version, re. Knauff
Hangman’s Reel
Jeff Sturgeon
(from John Salyer)

The Engineers Don’t Wave From the Train Any More
Melville Two Step
Chinese Breakdown
Duck River
Five Miles from Town
(2 long parts)
Camp Meetin’ on the Fourth of July
When the Fiddler Has Played His Last Tune for the Night
Rose on the Mountain
(tru, 1839)
Walkin’ Down the Georgia Road

note – advice; look up Christian Wig – early U.S. music performer

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May 30
— Set list: NW Folklife, Seattle Adam and Truman

Wait For the Wagon
The story of  Betty Martin  (all tunes/songs had their historical settings described briefly)
Betty Martin
Sample of modern Billy in the Lowground (C)
Billy in the Low Grounds, 1839 (A)
Oh Suzanna – Gold Rush Version
Rose on the Mountain
Nellie Bly
Story of  Fall of Paris

Fall of Paris ( and a quote of the high B part)
Mississippi Sawyer (banjo starts, with that same part)
Valsetz Loggers Lament *
(*This being a last-minute add, on finding we were between two groups each billed as NW Timber community songs)

No one left. Standing ovation. Several well-wishers at the exit ramp.

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May 30
Gee I had fun Saturday.  A scattered 3 1/2 hour gig at a restored old “Singing Creek Schoolhouse” near the Eugene airport playing Pa Ingalls (for staff; the kids wanted hayrides)… then Suzi and I walked around Junction City for a while.  99W was blocked off, and no parking for a half mile, for the rather incredible parade of various old cars, hundreds, maybe over a thousand, filling virtually every street all over downtown Junction City, up one block and down another, around and around and around and both sides of 99 in opposite directions; then back to Paul Clements’ in North Eugene.

I helped build a little log cabin that Paul lived in (10×12 feet, x 18 feet high! In a low place near the bottom of a waterfall…) 40 years ago.  Paul’s in the Barnstormers, from Eugene, with Wes and Shawn Lockery their fiddle player; Ambo who used to be in their band was in town, and an excellent cellist Carol Melia came late.  Paul played guitar, Wes guitar, banjo, or mandolin, Ambo plays a kind of 4-string tenor banjo, I think (Suzi who was behind him thought it was a mandolin).

During food Ambo talked about Gum Tree Canoe so I kicked off with that.  Then we had to repeat the whole song because every word and musical fragment overflowed with meaning — not kidding!   Deep song. More tunes and songs, nonstop …  Paul repeats a lot, generally, and on many songs or even fiddle tunes is mentally composing strings of words, so will play a tune over and over and over until they all rhyme in his head then out they pour.  Might be puzzling at times, for audiences, but fun to play with: fiddle tunes with cascades of notes rolling off the strings, jazz, rock, i don’t know, all fiddle.

Kinda late I thought of Fall of Paris, told about it and the theory that maybe the 3 and 4 parts were dropped because of the difficulty of chording.  We played it through several times, quite well, and I asked about the chording in those parts.  Paul said no problem (of course he’s all over the guitar all the time anyway), Wes said no, but I’m not sure what he was playing at the time. Ambo said no, not at all..

Carol had already learned After Christmas somewhere and started that.  It was lovely; Suzi was just about to ask for a fiddle/cello duet on a verse when Wes started in on banjo or mandolin…  then Carol nailed The Swallows as soon as she heard it.  By midnight I could belt out a song at full voice.  In view of the long drive home, had to quit, but it felt so good: I don’t get to play at that level much.

Only titles I remember for sure:
Gum Tree Canoe (2x)
(Paul started some)
Dixie B Line
Everybody Knows about the Chevrolet Car
(two hymns by Wes)
Meetin’ in the Air
(Carter Family)
Wind that Shakes the Barley
After Christmas
The Swallows
My Name is Mud All Over Town

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at Soap Creek schoolhouse 10 June 2016

(all the songs had some historical setting description, hinted at here)

— Bit of Betty Martin “On our train of 1845, young Simeon played that Betty Martin from one end of the trail to the other…”
… “homesteading”
— Wait for the Wagon (with vocal chorusses!)
— Uncle Sam’s Farm
— Tom Bigbee River “(& my interpretation that it was about escaping from slavery)”
… “description of Letitia and David Carson, who settled on Soap Creek in 1845… ”
— Letitia’s Song (original)
… Let’s have a dance! “recitation of a bit of description from 1n 1853 journal, about how crossing Nebraska, they’d dance every night (after walking 15 miles each day!) and how hard it got after that.”
– a little bit of Fly Away My Pretty Miss (1 sung verse)
Three dances:
— Skip to My Lou
— Duck the Oyster (using Soldier’s Joy)
— Virginia Reel (using Old Joe Clark)
… “how unfair the division of labor for women”:  Nellie Bly
— {Gold rush version of) Oh Susanna.
… and another 10 minutes, of chat, answering questions, demonstration of fiddle vs violin technique using Yankee Doodle… etc.

Great fun, much appreciated.

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June 21 At KMUZ Radio, live on Max Marbles’ Blues and Zydeco Show

  • Backwater Blues;
  • Come on in My Kitchen
  • Folsom Prison Blues
  • The Blind Fiddler
  • Oh Little Mamie
  • Carroll County Blues
  • Down Blues
  • My Name is Mud
  • A nice program; also lots of Zydeco tunes off records, and some short chats with Max.

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