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A Labor Day party ...


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Folks - I've been sitting on my porch, minding my own business and quietly playing my English concertina. My neighbor heard me, and insists that I will play something at his big Labor Day party. Now, to put this in context, he always has a bunch of real musicians in the folk / country / trad line that are REALLY good. And there is always a pretty good crowd. I am middling on the concertina, probably an advanced beginner. Two questions:

1. Any suggestions on two or three good traditional tunes for the EC that I won't make a complete flub of ...

2. I have never (never) performed solo with a musical instrument. I have with a bunch of others, but not alone. Help!

 

It is a really great party - so running away probably won't be an option ...

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Jay,

 

Top priority would be the pieces you know the very best and could play while talking to someone. Those are least likely to flub up, or if they do you will recover and keep going. You were already good enough we visited in Leominster (five years ago, yikes!), so go for it. The more you play out, the better you get. Music is not for those who are perfect, it is for those who believe they can still improve!

 

Ken

 

P.H. go up to Portsmouth NH and play Tom Hall's jam - highly recommended. That will help too.

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Jay,

 

Top priority would be the pieces you know the very best and could play while talking to someone. Those are least likely to flub up, or if they do you will recover and keep going. You were already good enough we visited in Leominster (five years ago, yikes!), so go for it. The more you play out, the better you get. Music is not for those who are perfect, it is for those who believe they can still improve!

 

Ken

 

P.H. go up to Portsmouth NH and play Tom Hall's jam - highly recommended. That will help too.

 

Hi Ken - good to hear from you! Five years, doesn't seem possible. I've got to work on the sing / talk thing. Hopefully that is just practice and not a coordination issue. Thanks for the suggestion on the jam - great idea! Where in Portsmouth? Hope to get to the NE Squeeze in this year as well, haven't been since 2004 I think, and it is a good time.

Cheers!

Jay

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A problem with so many great union songs is that they are set to hymn tunes, making them easier to learn. If you just play the tune, only the most die hard union person will get the connection.

 

Some examples:

 

Solidarity Forever - Battle Hymn of the Republic

The Preacher and the Slave - The Sweet Bye and Bye

Praise Boss - The Doxology

 

Nearly all of the songs in the anthology, "The Big Red Songbook" are set to known tunes, if not hymns then popular tunes of the past, one notable exception being The Internationale; but it's not a simple tune.

 

Go to mudcat.org, and in the DT (Digital Tradition) do a search for "union." You should get lots of songs, many with tune midis.

 

The Press Room is at 77 Daniel Street in Portsmouth NH. Every Friday, for the past twenty six years, we've had a mixed (songs and tunes) trad session from 4:30 to 9:00 PM. On the third Sat of each month we have a shanty/forebitter/ ballad session from 3:30 to 7:30.

 

PM or email me for more details or help with union songs.

 

Fan the flames - Tom

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  • 2 weeks later...
Folks - I've been sitting on my porch, minding my own business and quietly playing my English concertina. My neighbor heard me, and insists that I will play something at his big Labor Day party. Now, to put this in context, he always has a bunch of real musicians in the folk / country / trad line that are REALLY good. And there is always a pretty good crowd. I am middling on the concertina, probably an advanced beginner. Two questions:

1. Any suggestions on two or three good traditional tunes for the EC that I won't make a complete flub of ...

 

Play Redwing. The union people will all recognize it as "Union Maid," apt for Labor Day.

 

Easy tune, most trad musicians know it.

Edited by Jim Besser
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