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Liner notes for High Desert Echoes -Borderline Tunes

The Arthritis Brothers.
We play old time music. Stuff that was popular in the early 1900's; music that grew out of the minstrel era and preceded
Bluegrass. But, why try to define it – just give it a listen and you will know what we play.
The Brothers are three retired dudes with rural roots. Banjo picker John Clabourne was raised in the country in Sussex County, Virginia. Fiddler John Beland
was raised on a Mitchell County, Iowa farm. And guitar thumper Jim Whitesell is a generation removed from the farms and coal mines of Vigo County,
Indiana. All three live in the semi-rural countryside east of Sierra Vista, Arizona. Clabourne is retired from both the U.S. Army and the Sierra Vista police
force. Beland is a retired electrical engineer and contractor. Whitesell is a former reporter and a retired U.S. Customs officer. The three men share a love of
old time string band music and have been playing together for over three years. Keys and Banjo tunings are listed with the tunes, the fiddle is GDAE unless
otherwise noted.
Borderline tunes We have listed our tune sources below. This area of the country has a huge mix of styles. We are located 50 miles from New
Mexico and about 10 miles from Old Mexico. Borderline tunes. We play tunes from these traditions: Appalachian, Minstrel, Tohono O’odham (Papago
Indian), New Mexico Spanish Colonial, Canadian, but, of course, we play them in our style: Borderline Style.
01 ALTAMONT Key of C. Banjo tuned to gDGBD capo V Altamont is a town on the Cumberland Plateau in the Ky./Tenn. border area. We
learned the tune from a Library of Congress recording of the Lusk African-American string band. The band consisted of John Lusk on fiddle, Murph Gribble
on banjo and Albert York on guitar; the same instruments we use. We try to play in their spirit.
02 Mud Creek Waltz Key of G. Banjo tuned to gDGBD We learned this from the Playing of Jerry Jones;who learned the tune came from the
playing of the Lewis family of Crow Flats NM. (the Lewis family made the seminal recording of “Bull at the Wagon”. Jerry thinks that the original title has
been lost and that Mud Creek has been substituted. McKINLEY'S MARCH Waltz. We learned this pretty waltz from field recordings of Bruce
Greene who learned it from Roy Bennett of Battletown Kentucky. The title probably refers refer to William McKinley (1843-1901), 25th President of the
United States, who was assassinated on September 6th, 1901.
03 CAMPTOWN RACES Key of G. Banjo tuned to gDGBD capo II This tune was written in dialect by Stephen C Foster The melody he
used has apparently been collected as a sea shanty called “Banks of Sacramento,” whose origins were in the California Gold Rush of 1849. This seems to
predate the Stephen Foster copyright
Some lyrics
De camptown ladies sing dis son
Doo-dah Doo-dah
De camptown racetrac five miles long
Oh! De Doo-dah day
Gwine to run all night
Gwine to run all day
I bet my money ona bobtail nag
Somebody bet on de bay
04 Hard Times Key of C Banjo tuned to gDGBD capo V This tune was written by Stephen C Foster in 1855. The lyrics are still appropriate
over 150 years later..
Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears,
While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
There's a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh Hard times come again no more.
Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard Times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh hard times come again no more.
2. While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door;
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh hard times come again no more.
3. There's a pale drooping maiden who toils her life away,
With a worn heart whose better days are o'er:
Though her voice would be merry, 'tis sighing all the day,
Oh hard times come again no more.
05 CHICKEN REEL Key of D. Banjo tuned to gDGBD capo VII This tune was published as a piano composition in 1910 by Joseph M. Daly,
a nineteen year old from Boston, who may have either recorded an existing folk melody or "composed" it from folk strains. The tune is widespread in the USA,
it was played by Arizona fiddler Kenner C. Kartchner since the early 20th century, was commonly played for dances in New York state at that time, and was in
the repertiore of Cumberland Plateau African-American fiddler Cuje Bertram. We feel that a chicken tune should sound like a chicken and no additional lyrics
are needed.
06 GEORGIA RAILROAD. Key of G. Banjo tuned to gDGBD Fiddle tuned to GDGD. Sometimes titled "Peter Went A Fishing. The
seminal recording was made by the Skillet Lickers in 1924.
Peter and I we went fishin'
Georgia Railroad I am bound;
Caught a big mud cat, put him in the kitchen,
Georgia Railroad, Georgia gal.
I led sheep up to the pasture,
Georgia Railroad I am bound;
But my gal said: "Sheep can't you go a little
Georgia Railroad, Georgia gal.
Sheep said: "Cow, I have a sore toe",
Georgia Railroad I am bound;
Cow said: "Sheep, I did not know",
Georgia Railroad, Georgia gal.
07 COWBOY WALTZ Key of C. Banjo tuned to gDGBD capo V. This tune is also known at BLACK VELVET WALTZ in Canada. This
tune has been attributed to Canadian Fred Mann who got thetune from Howard Beyer and also attributed to Andy De Jarlis. It is commonly played in the
Midwest with the Cowboy Waltz title. This tune should not be confused with the four other different tunes also named Cowboy Waltz. MONKEY IN A
DOG CART. The tune was recorded for the Library of Congress by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph from Ozark Mountain fiddlers in the early
1940's. Earlier recordings were made by the Leake County Revelers in 1927 and by Hoyt Ming in 1928. We liked Hoyt’s version.
08 Dixie Darlings Two Step Key of C. Banjo tuned to gDGBD capo V Two Step Originally composed as a rag by Percy Wenrich in 1907
(University of Colorado Digital Sheet music collection), the lyrics were popularized by the Carter Family. It is popular as a dance two Step in Missouri and is
widely played in America.
09 Roscoe Key of G. Banjo tuned to gDGBD A traditional Round Peak tune from the the repertoire of Kyle Creed. The B part is a lot like Boil
Them Cabbage as is Possum on a Rail and also Possum Up a Gum Stump. Perhaps Roscoe was a possum hunter.
10 Purple Lillies Polka Key of D. Banjo tuned to aDADE This cheerful happy tune was written by Elliott Johnson of the Gu-Achi Fiddlers
who played the traditional music of the Tohono O’odham. The tune was collected by Ken Keppler and Jeanie Mclerie of Bayou Seco. Blame them if you wake
up whistling it!
11 BOATMAN Key of G. Banjo tuned to gDGBD, fiddle in GDGD. The tune is derived from the minstrel piece credited to Dan Emmett called
"De Boatmen Dance" or "Dance, Boatman, Dance;" the tune was frst heard in performance in Boston in 1843. Emmett published it in that year, advertising it
as "An Original Banjo Melody." The tune appears in many American and even English songsters of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Both Nathan and
Cauthen (1990) assert the melody was in folk currency before the minstrel era, and that it made its way back to folk currency in the fiddle tradition after
popularization by minstrels. It was in print as "Ohio River" in George P. Knauff's Virginia Reels, volume IV (Baltimore, 1839) before it was played on the
minstrel stage.
Some Boatman lyrics
The Boatsman dance, the Boatsman sing,
The Boatsman do most everything.
And when the Boatsman get on shore,
Spends all his money and he work for more.
Dance, Boatsman, dance. Dance, Boatsman, dance,
Stay out all night, 'til the broad daylight,
Coming home with the girls in the morning.
12 GOLDEN SLIPPERS. Key of G. Banjo tuned to gDGBD James Whitesell plays mandolin on this tune. Originally a song composed in
by prominent black minstrel songwriter and banjo player James A. Bland in 1870 as "Oh! Dem Golden Slippers," which later passed into folk and fiddling
tradition. It was played in our area by Kenner C. Kartchner, who played the tune in F.
Oh my golden slippers are laid away,
Cause I don"t expect to wear them til my wedding day,
And my longıtailed coat that I love so well,
I will wear up in the chariot in the morning
O dem golden slippers, O dem golden slippers
dem golden slippers I'm gwine to wear cause they look so neat;
O dem golden slippers, O dem golden slippers
dem golden slippers I'm gwine te wear to cross the golden street.
13 Oh Susannah Key of G. Banjo tuned to gDGBD, Stephen Foster Foster was delighted to eventually receive $100 for this 1844 song..
I come from Alabama with my Banjo on my knee--
I’se gwine to Lou’siana my true lub for to see.
It rain’d all night de day I left, de wedder it was dry;
The sun so hot I froze to def-- Susanna, dont you cry.
Oh! Susanna, do not cry for me;
I come from Alabama, wid my Banjo on my knee.
14 HOME TOWN BAND, Key of G. Banjo tuned to gDGBD This tune is also called the Old Town Band. This tune comes from
Pennsylvania and was collected by Samuel Bayard and transcribed by him in the book Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife. Ed Baggott has a nice version
on his web site, we learned it from a field recording of James Bryan.
15 DANCING BEAR Key of Em. Banjo tuned to gDGBD This popular dance tune was composed in February, 1978, by piano, accordion
player, and composer Bob McQuillan (Peterborough, New Hampshire [Bob’s note Book of Jigs, Reela and other tunes. Book number 3 page 21. Of course, we
changed it a bit. Bob dedicates the tune with this:
I have a wonderful friend who is a
Bear named Oso and this tune is for
Him because he likes it. Barry Nielson
Likes it, too , and so it’s for him too, with love.
16 Cuatro Por Cuatro Key of G. Banjo tuned to gDGBD This New Mexico Spanish Colonial style polka was learned from a recording of
Cleofes Ortiz . Although he described it a polka, the dance commonly performed to it was more like a Schottische. The recording was made by Ken Keppler
and Jeanie McClerie of Bayou Seco. The original title has been lost in antiquity so Cleofes created this title [Four by Four] at the recording session.
17 TEXAS GAL(E)S Key of C. Banjo tuned to gCGCD. Also known as “Knockin’ at Your Door in Missouri.. We have been playing this
tune for so many years we have no idea who the source is. The title is alternately given as “Texas Gals” or Texas Gales. If you were from Texas, or North
Carolina and spoke the title, what listener could tell the difference between Gals and Gales?
18 TURKEY IN THE STRAW Key of G. Banjo tuned to gDGBD Also known as "Old Zip Coon," and "Natchez Under the Hill. The tune
has been traced to parts of two Scottish tunes. The tune was popular on the minstrel stage with the title "Turkey in de Straw" appearing in 1861 with song lyrics
copyrighted by Dan Bryant; the melody was labeled only an "old melody” referring to “Old Zip Coon.”
Lyrics sometimes go like this
As I went down the newcut road,
I met Miss Possum and I met Mr. Toad.
And every time the toad would sing,
The possum cut the pigeonıwing.
Turkey in the straw, haw! haw! haw!
Turkey in the hay, hey! hey! hey!
The bull frog danced with his mother inlaw,
and they played 'em up a tune called turkey in the straw.
19 DUCK RIVER. Key of D. Banjo tuned to gDGBD capo VII This tune is in the family with Dubuque and Muddy Road to Ducktown, . The
seminal version came from John Salyer; our version is adapted from field recording of Bruce Greene playing Salyer tunes
20 JULIANNE JOHNSON Key of D. Banjo tuned to aDADE Galax, Virginia, area fiddler Emmett Lundy (born in 1864) recorded this tune.
Some say that it has no ‘G’ chord in it. Well, we like the G chord and we have put a few other changes in it, including adding a banjo! We are in the tradition
and we think Emmett would understand.
21 MERIWEATHER Key of G. Banjo tuned to gDGBD Learned from a field recording of Bruce Green who learned the tune from Jake
Phelps, a Kentucky fiddler who was originally from the western side (not the Appalachian part of the state). Jeff Titon says the tune is closely related to the
Irish “Tom Ward’s Downfall”; I hear a similarity to “Over the Moor to Maggie”
22 BARLOW KNIFE Key of G. Banjo tuned to gDGBD A Barlow knife is a type of folding pocket knife featuring double or single blades
that open at one end only. The knife-style bears the name of a man named Barlow of Sheffield, England, one of the earliest and most famous makers. Nigel
Gatherer has found melodic strains similar to “Barlow Knife” in two old Scottish manuscripts. The earliest, the Straloch MS. (1627) contains a tune called
“The Old Man,” while the second, the Skene MS (c. 1640) has a more developed version under the title “Long Er Onie Old Man.”
Some lyrics
I been livin' here all my life,
All I got is a Barlow Knife;
Buck horn handle and a Barlow blade,
Best dang knife that ever was made.
23 Valse Ruiz Key of G. Banjo tuned to gDGBD This New Mexico Spanish Colonial style waltz was Learned from a recording of Cleofes Ortiz
– Recipient of the 1986 New Mexico Govenor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. The recording was made by Ken Keppler and Jeanie McClerie of Bayou
Seco. The original title has been lost in antiquity so Cleofes named it for the Ruiz family that he learned it from.
24 SHENANDOAH Key of G. John Clabourne plays harmonica on this tune. Also known as The York Fusiliers, it is apearantly a British
regimental march from the Revolutionary War period that has found its way into American tradition
Some Lyrics
Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you,
Way hey, you rolling river.
Shenandoah, I long to hear you
Ha ha, we're bound away 'cross the wide Missouri.
Oh, Shenandoah, I love your daughter
Wey hey, you rolling river.
Oh Shenandoah, I love your daughter
ha ha, we're bound away 'cross the wide Missouri

Copyright 2006 Arthritis Brothers HDE notes 1.11 ver 2
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