Jump to content


Photo

Tune Of The Month, October 2015: Redwing


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
22 replies to this topic

#1 Jim Besser

Jim Besser

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2363 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington DC metro area

Posted 30 September 2015 - 08:51 AM

The October TOTM should be fun!

 

Redwing, by Tin Pan Alley composer Kerry Mills (who also wrote Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis honoring the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair), is an incredibly versatile tune. I learned it years ago as a contra and square dance tune, but it  started life as  the kind of novelty song that was popular in the late 1800s/early 1900s, with lyrics by Thurland Chattaway.

 

As I said in the poll, it has been incorporated into popular, Western swing, bluegrass, polka and country music, among other genres. As Daria noted in the poll thread, the tune seems based on The Merry Peasant, by Robert Schumann

 

You'll find a clean, easy to follow version to guide you  here.

Want something a little more high energy? Try this rousing Chemnitzer-laden  polka band.

A Bluegrassy version here with some mighty nice flatpicked guitar, key and speed changes and maybe just a little too much cuteness..

By guitar legend  Chet Atkins.

A ragtime piano version from  the Lawrence Welk show.

 

Here is what the song sounded like originally,  complete with lyrics,  a now-rarely-heard bridge section and, for good measure, a chorus of tweeting birds.  

 

Here are some dots for you to chew on.

 

From a contra dance tunes site here. (ABCs here if you prefer).

ABCs from The Session here.

A real simple, chunky  version.

You can buy the notation with the lyrics here.

 

There are many ways to play this tune; hope we get to hear a lot of them!


Edited by Jim Besser, 01 October 2015 - 07:28 AM.


#2 Jim Besser

Jim Besser

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2363 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington DC metro area

Posted 01 October 2015 - 03:29 PM

Redwing more or less at contra dance speed.

 

Playing around with the tune a little the second time thru.

 

https://dl.dropboxus...esser_Take1.MP3



#3 Chris Drinkwater

Chris Drinkwater

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1689 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London

Posted 01 October 2015 - 06:51 PM

Nice, Jim. My wife, who has done a lot of calling, heard it with me and was dancing and singing the chorus at the same time!

 

Chris



#4 Paul_Hardy

Paul_Hardy

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 163 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cambridge, UK

Posted 05 October 2015 - 11:48 AM

Here on Soundcloud is my initial rendition, played on Lachenal English Concertina 57544. I'm still trying to get the bellows flexing well after a few decades in someone's attic, so it's a bit breathy and tends  to run out of air slightly, which flavours the tune a little.



#5 David Barnert

David Barnert

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3051 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Albany, NY, USA

Posted 05 October 2015 - 12:40 PM

Here's mine. Pretty straightforward.



#6 Jim Besser

Jim Besser

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2363 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington DC metro area

Posted 05 October 2015 - 02:42 PM

Nice  versions, Paul and David!



#7 Daria

Daria

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 93 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Wellsboro,Pa

Posted 07 October 2015 - 10:38 AM

Here is my version, with the harmony done first as an intro.  I am not sure if I am bouncing the song too much or not.

 

https://youtu.be/NdQrHsGjbgY



#8 Jim Besser

Jim Besser

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2363 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington DC metro area

Posted 07 October 2015 - 03:56 PM

Here is my version, with the harmony done first as an intro.  I am not sure if I am bouncing the song too much or not.

 

https://youtu.be/NdQrHsGjbgY

 

For me - a Morris, ceilidh and contra player - it's hard to 'bounce' too much! Nicely done, and the kiddo seems to be enjoying it, too.



#9 Jim Besser

Jim Besser

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2363 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington DC metro area

Posted 07 October 2015 - 04:04 PM

Here's a version I recorded about 15 years ago - the Glen Echo Open Band doing Redwing for a contra dance.  The concertina is in there somewhere, but I must have been off mic that night and was overwhelmed by all those fiddles and the sound of dancers having a good time.

 

https://dl.dropboxus...edwing_GEOB.mp3


Edited by Jim Besser, 07 October 2015 - 04:23 PM.


#10 Bob Michel

Bob Michel

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 373 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:USA

Posted 09 October 2015 - 03:44 PM

After playing around with the dance tune all week I finally realized that what I really wanted to do was have a go at the song:

http://youtu.be/9T5-C0A5lbc

Learning the original lyrics (which involved temporarily scouring my brain clean of "Union Maid") put me in mind of a gig I played maybe five years ago near Lewistown, Pennsylvania, where I was asked to perform a song of local significance, "The Blue Juniata" (1844) by Marion Dix Sullivan. It has some historical resonance as the first American hit written by a woman, and as the marching song of William T. Sherman's troops in Georgia during the Civil War.

The lyrics to "Red Wing" aren't anything to write home about, but compared to "The Blue Juniata" ("Loose were her jetty locks/ In many tresses flowing," etc., etc.) they sound like Shakespeare. It's roughly the same scenario, though, with the same sentimentalized Indian maiden from Central Casting who reliably showed up in American song five minutes after the actual native population of any particular region was subdued and uprooted.

"Juniata" has a pretty boring tune, though, whereas "Red Wing" is catchy as hell. Plus there's that whole redeeming Woody Guthrie association.

Bob Michel
Near Philly

Edited by Bob Michel, 09 October 2015 - 03:53 PM.


#11 Patrick Scannell

Patrick Scannell

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 99 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Schodack Landing, NY, USA

Posted 10 October 2015 - 06:01 AM

Here is a vanilla version played on an Elise.



#12 cboody

cboody

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 481 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Mound, MN

Posted 11 October 2015 - 12:12 AM

After playing around with the dance tune all week I finally realized that what I really wanted to do was have a go at the song:http://youtu.be/9T5-C0A5lbc
Learning the original lyrics (which involved temporarily scouring my brain clean of "Union Maid") put me in mind of a gig I played maybe five years ago near Lewistown, Pennsylvania, where I was asked to perform a song of local significance, "The Blue Juniata" (1844) by Marion Dix Sullivan. It has some historical resonance as the first American hit written by a woman, and as the marching song of William T. Sherman's troops in Georgia during the Civil War.
The lyrics to "Red Wing" aren't anything to write home about, but compared to "The Blue Juniata" ("Loose were her jetty locks/ In many tresses flowing," etc., etc.) they sound like Shakespeare. It's roughly the same scenario, though, with the same sentimentalized Indian maiden from Central Casting who reliably showed up in American song five minutes after the actual native population of any particular region was subdued and uprooted.
"Juniata" has a pretty boring tune, though, whereas "Red Wing" is catchy as hell. Plus there's that whole redeeming Woody Guthrie association.
Bob Michel
Near Philly

Bravo Bob,

Spot on about the tune and the lyrics. Though I must admit they are better than the singing square dance which includes "Now the first couple out to the right and circle four hand half. And the inside out and the outside under, dip and dive and go by thunder. Dip and dive and dip and dive it's over then below...."

Kerry Mills wrote good stuff though...

Edited by cboody, 11 October 2015 - 12:14 AM.


#13 Jim Besser

Jim Besser

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2363 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington DC metro area

Posted 11 October 2015 - 09:57 PM

Here is a vanilla version played on an Elise.

 

Very nice!



#14 Jim Besser

Jim Besser

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2363 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington DC metro area

Posted 11 October 2015 - 09:59 PM

After playing around with the dance tune all week I finally realized that what I really wanted to do was have a go at the song:

http://youtu.be/9T5-C0A5lbc

Learning the original lyrics (which involved temporarily scouring my brain clean of "Union Maid") put me in mind of a gig I played maybe five years ago near Lewistown, Pennsylvania, where I was asked to perform a song of local significance, "The Blue Juniata" (1844) by Marion Dix Sullivan. It has some historical resonance as the first American hit written by a woman, and as the marching song of William T. Sherman's troops in Georgia during the Civil War.

The lyrics to "Red Wing" aren't anything to write home about, but compared to "The Blue Juniata" ("Loose were her jetty locks/ In many tresses flowing," etc., etc.) they sound like Shakespeare. It's roughly the same scenario, though, with the same sentimentalized Indian maiden from Central Casting who reliably showed up in American song five minutes after the actual native population of any particular region was subdued and uprooted.

"Juniata" has a pretty boring tune, though, whereas "Red Wing" is catchy as hell. Plus there's that whole redeeming Woody Guthrie association.

Bob Michel
Near Philly

 

 

Really nice! Makes me wish I could sing.



#15 Tootler

Tootler

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 287 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Middlesbrough, UK

Posted 13 October 2015 - 07:14 AM

You can download a copy of the original score for free from the Lester Levy sheet music collection

 

http://levysheetmusi...=✓&q=Red Wing

 

The original is in Eb - not the most Anglo friendly of keys - unless you have an Eb/something that is. OK for other systems, I imagine though my friends who play English system tell me flat keys are not their preferred choices.



#16 Bob Michel

Bob Michel

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 373 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:USA

Posted 13 October 2015 - 08:28 AM

 The original is in Eb - not the most Anglo friendly of keys - unless you have an Eb/something that is.


I actually worked it out directly from the sheet music in Eb first (on a C/G Anglo); I liked singing it in that range. It's not such a forbidding key, especially if you're mainly vamping chords for vocal accompaniment (though I appreciate my 40 buttons, including the C drone, when it comes time to play an Ab or Cm chord). But with the key of D just a half step away, playing it in Eb seemed a pointless exercise.

Bob Michel
Near Philly

#17 Tootler

Tootler

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 287 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Middlesbrough, UK

Posted 13 October 2015 - 01:31 PM

 

 The original is in Eb - not the most Anglo friendly of keys - unless you have an Eb/something that is.


I actually worked it out directly from the sheet music in Eb first (on a C/G Anglo); I liked singing it in that range. It's not such a forbidding key, especially if you're mainly vamping chords for vocal accompaniment (though I appreciate my 40 buttons, including the C drone, when it comes time to play an Ab or Cm chord). But with the key of D just a half step away, playing it in Eb seemed a pointless exercise.

Bob Michel
Near Philly

 

My thought was to take it down to D.

 

It's good to have access to the original sheet music, though as you can see what the composer original wrote. These tunes tend to get "folk processed". Nothing wrong with that but it's still good to see the original. I quite often find myself changing harmonies as what works on a piano doesn't always work as well on other instruments.



#18 iradcliffe

iradcliffe

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Isle of Man

Posted 24 October 2015 - 01:29 PM

A regular tune from the Calor Gas Ceili Band 'Grand Old Duke of York' set.  https://soundcloud.c...liffe-1/redwing






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users