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Jody Kruskal

Tune Of The Month For August 2008

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Here it is, well into October and I’ve finally found time to post my August Tune of the Month blog offering:

 

Walk On Boy

 

Click above to hear this country classic. Text below:

 

I had some great audiences this summer at the Towersey, Whitby and Bradfield festivals in England. Here is one of the songs that folks seemed to enjoy, yet another take on the John Henry legend, “Walk On Boy”.

 

This gem was written by Mel Tillis and Wayne P. Walker in the early 1960’s and recorded by Doc Watson and others. I know it from the singing of a local guitar player and friend, Bob Jones. Bob has been an inspiration to me and though I like singing “Walk On Boy” I still think of it as Bob’s song.

 

Bob Snope at the Button Box replaced a note I seldom used to give me that cherished low D on my C/G Jefferies. I love having that pitch for bass lines and I use it quite a bit for this song.

 

Enjoy!

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One of my favourite songs, and a lovely arrangement, Jody. I sing it (with guitar) in Em, but could adjust that if we ever got the chance to jam it. It has a really nice chord sequence, eh? And you have a verse ('The rich men make all the money') that wasn't in the version I learned from Doc. Thanks for that!

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One of my favourite songs, and a lovely arrangement, Jody. I sing it (with guitar) in Em, but could adjust that if we ever got the chance to jam it. It has a really nice chord sequence, eh? And you have a verse ('The rich men make all the money') that wasn't in the version I learned from Doc. Thanks for that!

 

Hi Brian,

 

Thanks. In this recording I'm playing a C/G. I usually play it in Em on my G/D with the same fingerings and that was the key I have been performing it in, but it just goes a bit too low for my voice, except in the morning. When I solve that problem by singing it up the octave then I loose that nice intimate quality. Octave shifting in the middle of lines works too, but the C/G solution works nicely, hey?

 

So what did you think of that nice circular room with the spiral staircase at Augusta? What a fine room for singing in. Many happy late night memories there.

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I usually play it in Em on my G/D with the same fingerings and that was the key I have been performing it in, but it just goes a bit too low for my voice, except in the morning. When I solve that problem by singing it up the octave then I loose that nice intimate quality.

I sing it in Em in the high octave, but it's a much more rock'n'roll arragement so a bit of yelling doesn't hurt.

So what did you think of that nice circular room with the spiral staircase at Augusta? What a fine room for singing in. Many happy late night memories there.

Yes, a wonderful acoustic. I also managed to get one or two English music jams going in the Ice House. Mainstage was pretty good too!

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Yes, a wonderful acoustic. I also managed to get one or two English music jams going in the Ice House. Mainstage was pretty good too!

 

Very good. English sessions in W.V.?! I'm not surprised but tickled and grinning to picture it. Anything can happen there, and usually does. Their Irish week is reputed to be mind blowing.

 

So they gave you a main stage slot? Excellent! My first year they gave me one and I found three other musicians (who I had never played with, I like to live dangerously!) to join me and we rehearsed more than we should have to do it. We sounded fine but not as good as the performing bands who had been on tour, fun though, to have a pressing goal and do the best you can with the materials at hand. Nice folks all. Highly recommended for anyone into traditional music. Here is a link: http://www.augustaheritage.com/about.html

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That's really excellent Jody; you get an almost mouth-organy feel to it which seems entirely right.

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Very good. English sessions in W.V.?! I'm not surprised but tickled and grinning to picture it.

I don't know whether you've ever met the amazing hammered dulcimer player and Mexican cookery expert R. P. Hale, but he was always up for a jam and able to follow pretty much anything I threw at him. He has low-pitched strings on his dulcimer which work great for bass lines. So he and I would start up, and usually one or two other musicians would hear what we were doing, exclaim, "Hey, English tunes - I play a few of them!", and join the circle. We even played some 3:2 hornpipes - is this a first at Augusta, I wonder?

 

So they gave you a main stage slot? Excellent! My first year they gave me one and I found three other musicians (who I had never played with, I like to live dangerously!) to join me

I opened my spot by walking on from backstage playing Princess Royal on Anglo. As you know, it's a big stage, so there was a gradual increase in volume as I approached the mikes. I've never played that tune as part of a concert set before. I guess I like to live dangerously, too!

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Very good. English sessions in W.V.?! I'm not surprised but tickled and grinning to picture it.

I don't know whether you've ever met the amazing hammered dulcimer player and Mexican cookery expert R. P. Hale, but he was always up for a jam and able to follow pretty much anything I threw at him. He has low-pitched strings on his dulcimer which work great for bass lines. So he and I would start up, and usually one or two other musicians would hear what we were doing, exclaim, "Hey, English tunes - I play a few of them!", and join the circle. We even played some 3:2 hornpipes - is this a first at Augusta, I wonder?

 

R.P. is great fun to play with and I got many chances my three years at Augusta. No, I don't think playing English session tunes is a "first" there, more like a special treat. Here is a little bio on R.P. who has his fingers in many pies and loves to talk about all of them with great authority and enthusiasm:

 

R. P. Hale is an interdisciplinary artist and musician from a Mexican family that is noted for its long involvement in the arts. Born in Tucson, Arizona, he is a sixth-generation master calligrapher and illustrator, fifth-generation musician and third-generation wood engraver, printer and gilder. Mr. Hale is a harpsichordist, organist, builder of early keyboard instruments and period-design hammer dulcimers. He also makes and supplies marbleized papers for bookbinders, other artists and of course harpsichords.

 

He took his degrees in microbiology and organic chemistry and minored in scientific illustration at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and taught courses there in scientific illustration and technical photography for six years and also worked as a medical illustrator.

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R.P. is great fun to play with and I got many chances my three years at Augusta.

I thought you might have enjoyed that privilege. Apologies for dragging this thread way off topic (although if it keeps your lovely arrangement on page 1 that can't be a bad thing), but I thought I'd post up a couple of pics, one of R. P. Hale in Mexican chef mode, and another of me playing Princess Royal in the concert.

 

Forgive me for boring you all with my holiday snaps!

post-1365-1224155421_thumb.jpg

post-1365-1224155484_thumb.jpg

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Yes, we drifted into talking about Augusta in WV (nice pictures Brian, brings me right back) but I would love to return to topic.

 

That's really excellent Jody; you get an almost mouth-organy feel to it which seems entirely right.

 

Thanks Dirge. I didn't hear that "mouth-organy" quality as such until you mentioned it, now I hear it. I think that sound comes from both a technique and an arrangement idea I'm using.

 

The technique is to hold down some buttons and articulate with the bellows to make a rhythm. That is opposed to articulating each note with a button push, which is how I play most notes.

 

The arrangement aspect that contributes to the harmonica quality is to persistently play those adjacent button thirds off the melody line. On the harmonica of course, they are adjacent holes.

 

Perhaps I should pay more attention to emulating the Harmonica sound. The concertina is virtually unknown in the country or old-time world but harmonica does set a precedent and has a small but recognizable place there.

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