Archive for the 'Mine' Category

Winning Earth Day Again

H and I teamed with Doug Foehner to form the Trash Tones for this year’s Green Strum Band Scramble at St. Louis Earth Day. The rain and wind were intermittent enough to let the event happen. I blogged last year about winning the band scramble. The blogged Green Strum Project, headed by blogged friend Ryan Spearman and Kelly Wells, had a tent again this year with JR Scott and a crew of others. Kelly promoted the event on local station KTVI in this segment. H built a bow for the fiddle that we made last year, and I built a cigar box instrument somewhere between a guitar and a mandolin. Doug played a bucket slide guitar. We won against the Chlorphyllians and the Trash Truck Revival with our song “Solar, Wind and Waves.” Our prize was tickets to LouFest!

“Solar, Wind and Waves” by the Trash Tones

Introduction

Chorus:
G/G
Solar, wind and waves,
G/G
They'll be here all our days.
C/C
Renewable, reusable,
C/G
They don't make no waste.
Instrumental over chorus chords

Verse 1:
C/C/C/G
Nuclear, petroleum, natural gas and coal,
C/C
They're powering our cars and homes,
D/D
But crushing all our souls.

Chorus

Instrumental over chorus chords

Verse 2:
We can't go through out lives just digging up the past.
We must make it better now
If this world's going to last.

Chorus

Instrumental over chorus chords

Update April 23, 2012: This video on YouTube is up!

Update April 30, 2012: This message of thanks from St. Louis Earth Day links to the video above and to this post with the lyrics and chords.

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Michael M. on April 22nd 2012 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

My “Stagger Lee,” a resophonic festival and Mississippi John Hurt’s Rediscovery

On January 14, 2012, the Department of Pathology and Immunology at the Washington University School of Medicine hosted An Evening of Music / Winter Concert. It featured some great performances by string quartets, small ensembles and singers. I volunteered to play. With nods to the city of Saint Louis and  favorite Mississippi John Hurt, I chose favorite “Stagger Lee.” I got past the nerves and played it out. H took a video for me that I posted.

“Stagger Lee” (mp3) (video on YouTube)

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This past Sunday, H and I headed to Iron Barley for the 6th Annual Tom Hall Resophonic Extravaganza. I had to return after the blogged last one was so good. The Lulus, another favorite, made fine contributions to the festivities. So did blogged Tom Hall, Geoff Seitz, Brian Curran and many more I have forgotten.

At the benefit, a friend reminded me about the new Mississippi John Hurt album. He later directed me to this post on Black Grooves. It leads to Discovery: The Rebirth of Mississippi John Hurt. Weenie Campbell has this worthwhile thread on it. This new release on Spring Fed Records features recordings that Tom Hoskins made on March 3, 1963 when he journeyed to Avalon, Mississippi in search of the long lost musician. This video from the University Press of Mississippi on Vimeo also appears at the bottom of the album link above. In it starting about 10:20, twice blogged Philip Ratcliffe and author of Mississippi John Hurt: His Life, His Times, His Blues discusses how these tapes were found in the bottom of an old cardboard box under Tom Hoskins’ sister’s guest bed. I have been streaming tracks, and I gladly anticipate the arrival of my CD.

Update February 8, 2012: Outlook, the Washington University School of Medicine’s magazine, published this gallery of the Winter Concert. The photograph of me is 17th. You also can see it directly.

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Michael M. on January 31st 2012 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

Old-time fiddling at the Atomic Cowboy

I returned to the blogged Atomic Cowboy Open Mic last night. The heat slacked enough to bring out many of the best regulars along with a new face or two. I realized a while back that I had no videos of myself fiddling. My banjo playing friend SB graciously joined me on stage. We played three Illinois fiddle tunes and then I added a song on guitar, not recorded, at the end. H recorded the first three, and I have posted this playlist on YouTube. Below are audio files of the tunes and the embedded playlist.

The tunes all come from Illinois. “Dog Treed a Possum Up a White Oak Tree” is one I have blogged two times. “Brisk Young Soldier” is one I learned from SB at the beloved Folk School. Harvey “Pappy” Taylor played it. My “Red Hills Polka” comes mostly from Bob Holt‘s recording. The Allen Street String Band, the fellows who collected it, named it after Red Hills State Park where they heard it. They did not get the original title from the woman who played it for them or even her name. Mudcat has this discussion.

“Dog Treed a Possum Up a White Oak Tree” (mp3) (m4a) (video on YouTube)

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“Brisk Young Soldier” (mp3) (m4a) (video on YouTube)

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“Red Hills Polka” (mp3) (m4a) (video on YouTube)

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Michael M. on August 9th 2011 in General, Mine, Music, Recorded

Thuman Grill Open Mic

I have blogged about the Atomic Cowboy Open Mic several times. Back in April, I visited the one at Thurman Grill. H’s band River Bound opened the night. Then I followed. With nobody in the wings to play after me, I kept going until my fingers got too blistered to continue. H recorded a few of the songs with her camera. I extracted the audio for mp3s, and I cut the videos to make this playlist on YouTube. The tunes are favorite Mississippi John Hurt‘s “Big Leg Blues” and “Louis Collins” with an original in D between them. She also recorded my arrangement of the wonderful Beatles‘ “In My Life.”

H recorded one long video with the first three tunes. I used FFmpeg edit it. Her camera records AVHCD videos with the .MTS extension and AC3 audio. For FFmpeg to cut it into pieces, I had to put it in a .mov file first. FFmpeg then was able to split the .mov file using the -ss and -t switches, but the duration was always wrong. I had to adjust the duration specified with the -t switch by a factor of 2. When I uploaded the videos, the YouTube results lacked audio. I re-encoded the audio track to AAC, and YouTube was able to convert them. I also used FFmpeg’s audio extraction feature to make mp3s. Here are the results.

“Big Leg Blues” (mp3)

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“D Original” (mp3)

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“Louis Collins” (mp3)

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“In My Life” (mp3)

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Michael M. on June 8th 2010 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

Fiddle exploration

For Memorial Day weekend, H and I headed up to Alton, Illinois. A friend told me that blogged Banjo Billy would host a jam at Mississippi Mud Pottery. The Old Time Music Gathering and Fiddler’s Picnic was a small, but it had good players. It was a celebration of fiddling on the river stretching back to the Corp of Discovery. I had a good time, but then I forgot about it.

Today I decided to revisit the Fiddle Hangout on my day off. While looking at whether any of my friends had been active there lately, I found this video. It is also here on YouTube. I am in it. In fact, I called and led the tune, “Dog Treed a Possum Up a White Oak Tree.” I posted the tune several years back. I learned it from banjo buddy Robert Mallery and the Dear Old Illinois collection. A newspaper reporter recorded it although I was not aware at the time. “Fiddlers tip hats to the past” came out in the Telegraph.

Banjo Billy is a regular at the three times blogged Indiana Fiddlers’ Gathering, better known as Battle Ground. I will go this year. I hope to play with Billy again. I know a number of Saint Louis players will go, too. I am excited for it!

“Dog Treed a Possum Up a White Oak Tree” (mp3)

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Michael M. on June 7th 2010 in General, Live, Mine, Music

The Bootstrappers

I have posted recently about H’s band River Bound and my solo performances at the repeatedly blogged Atomic Cowboy Open Mic. We play together sometimes as the Bootstrappers although our performances generally are limited to our living rooms and the rare informal gathering. One such occasion, blogged this past summer, was on a float trip. I finally got the video of “John Henry” from Facebook and posted it here to YouTube.

“John Henry” (mp3)

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Michael M. on April 14th 2010 in General, Mine, Music, Recorded

More Cowboy

I revisited the blogged Atomic Cowboy Open Mic Monday night. The blogged Ryan Spearman opened up with several great songs, as usual. Then H played with her new band River Bound. Videos may be forthcoming.

I took the stage for a few songs. H recorded me with her new camera. While I never feel totally happy with these things, I still like to share. I opened with “Stagger Lee” from my favorite Mississippi John Hurt. Then I played Libba Cotten‘s “Oh Babe, It Ain’t No Lie.” With enough tragedy in place, I switched to partying with bloggedAlabama Jubilee” before closing with “Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor,” another MJH song. Here is a YouTube playlist followed by links to the individual videos and mp3s.

“Stagger Lee” (video page) (mp3)

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“Oh Babe, It Ain’t No Lie” (video page) (mp3)

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“Alabama Jubilee” (video page) (mp3)

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“Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor” (video page) (mp3)

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I used FFmpeg to extract the audio from the video files above to make mp3s. I then realized that I could do the same with my recently blogged last videos from Atomic Cowboy Open Mic. Here they are.

“Coffee Blues” audio (mp3)

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“My Creole Belle” audio (mp3)

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Several friends showed up after H and I announced our plans of Facebook. It was great to see them out in the audience.

A band called Chicken Little! from Nashville played later in the night. Evidently, they had played a gig the night before and decided to stick around to check out more of the city. They combined accordian and guitar in a way I had not witnessed before. The singing was the true focus, though, and they have some fine arrangements worked out.

One of my favorites was the performance of Dave Black and Colleen Williamson. He opened with a fine arrangement of “Blackberry Blossom” on nylon-stringed guitar. The real great was “Jerusalem Ridge.” He played mandolin and Colleen played hammered dulcimer. It was inspired.

Thanks to friends who were there.

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Michael M. on April 1st 2010 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

Open mic

The Atomic Cowboy Open Mic, four times blogged now, offers a great opportunity for me and other amateurs to give performing a shot. Kelly Wells, who runs it with her husband twice blogged Ryan Spearman, records some of the performances. I got two of me, “Coffee Blues” and “My Creole Belle” from favorite Mississippi John Hurt, and posted them to YouTube. Here they are!

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Michael M. on March 24th 2010 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

Crazy crazy world

Crazy crazy world crazy crazy times
Crazy crazy world crazy crazy times
Hang up your chairs to better sweep
Clear the floor to dance
Shake the rug into the fireplace

I spend Saturday at a friends’ house up on a ridge out near Berger, Missouri. The party was terrific. They rolled up the rug and moved the table. A dance caller from blogged Childgrove directed the festivities, and the Berger Creek Jam Band supplied the music. I fiddled for the dancers on “Julianne Johnson,” “Late for the Dance,” “Jingle at the Window Tidy-O” and a few forgotten tunes with two friends from the beloved Folk School and Greg Krone of Seitz and Krone, Violinmakers. Then I backed him up on guitar for twice bloggedSoldier’s Joy” and a medley of something and “Mississippi Sawyer.” After the dance broke up, a few pickers stuck around, and we went through some songs. It was how I imagined parties have been for millennia, and the recipe still works.

I spent the night. The next morning the hosts treated us stragglers to pancakes with cornmeal in them. It was a good variation on a favorite food. Then we walked the property. I grew up enough in the country to miss it.

Back when I defended my thesis, I added a clip of “Stand” by twice blogged R.E.M. to my presentation. Green and, as mentioned, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band were my first two CDs. The lyrics above come from R.E.M.’s “Fireplace.” Quoting a song is a common writing device, especially on blogs. Sometimes it just works.

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Michael M. on October 20th 2009 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

Floating again

I floated two weekends ago. I blogged about floating two years ago. We went to the same place this time, floating the Current River, part of the National Parks Service Ozark National Scenic Riverways, and camping at the Pulltite Campground. It was the sixth float trip for the Program in Neuroscience. I think I have made them all. The cool summer made it even better than usual, and the usual is fun every time. Despite a summer busier than ever, it was my second escape to the Ozarks. After the float, H and I played a few tunes, and unbeknownst to me until a day or two later, a friend shot this video available on Facebook.

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Michael M. on September 1st 2009 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

Music in print

The Study of Medicine (PDF) is a brochure from the Washington University School of Medicine. The school sends out copies to prospective students. Look at page 16! It is a photograph of me on fiddle and Robert Mallery on banjo playing old-time music at the Coffeehouse this past spring. I blogged about our first effort there. We gave it another try before graduating. The Record published this photograph of one of the other groups who played. I had just rushed over from my pediatrics rotation with no time to change clothes. I did not realize the photograph had been taken, much less that it had been used for any purpose. I can become oblivious when playing.

A few weeks ago, a nurse at the hospital asked whether I played violin. I replied that I do play the fiddle. Trying to think quickly, I asked whether she had seen me on television. I was wrong. She had spotted me in the brochure. Her son will apply to medical schools this year, and she saw one that he had. I wrote the Assistant Dean for Admissions. She had a few printed copies sent to me. Then I had the thought to look for it on the web, and there it is. I only wish we had been identified by name.

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Michael M. on August 9th 2009 in General, Mine, Music

Showed Me at the Folk School of St. Louis

I posted a few days ago about the visit of KSDK television program Show Me St. Louis to the Folk School of St. Louis, a  frequent topic of mine. I showed up at the Folk School Monday morning ready for my close up. I got it! I appear on screen briefly singing and fiddling the twice bloggedGoing Down to Cairo.” Several friends are featured in brief interviews. The segment, which aired earlier this afternoon, is now available with text and on this video page.

The Folk School has brought me many new friends and hours of fun. It is great to see it garner this attention. With the economic problems, arts and recreation organizations are on hard times. I hope this publicity helps the Folk School to survive and flourish. I am honored and thrilled to have been involved in the television story. Thanks to the people at KSDK who made it.

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Michael M. on June 9th 2009 in General, Live, Mine, Music

Showcase dance

Following our planned performance at the Folk School Student Showcase, friends Steve Hall, three times mentioned Dave Landreth, Jim Nelson and Marc Rennard came on stage with us. Tables were cleared. Dancers took the floor, and Mac McKeever called a couple of squares before the night closed with a waltz.

Soldier’s Joy” is one I have posted before. I called that tune. The Library of Congress has this page about the famous tune. According to Glenn Godsey on the Fiddle Hangout, three times blogged Mike Seeger told him, “After all these years of searching out obscure, interesting tunes, my favorite tune is still ‘Soldier’s Joy.'”

The we played “Little Betty Brown” and “Cowboy Waltz.” Being fiddle tunes, they have been all over the place, but they came to us by way of Vesta Johnson. Her grandson Steve Hall fiddled with us, and she even got up and jigged a little.

Soldier’s Joy

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Little Betty Brown

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Cowboy Waltz

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Michael M. on April 4th 2008 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

Stagger Lee

The Folk School Student Showcase was last night at the Schlafly Tap Room. I love the Folk School, and the showcase is a great night every time.

The Beginning of the End, my Old-Time Ensemble class, closed the show. We opened with the recently bloggedOld Corn Liquor” from the playing of Joe Thompson. As mentioned before, he mentors the blogged Carolina Chocolate Drops. Our “Cotton Eyed Joe” comes from the Volo Bogtrotters. The last number is a favorite topic and a Saint Louis classic. I sang lyrics from personal favorite Mississippi John Hurt over string band music based on Foghorn‘s version, and they felt right.

Old Corn Liquor

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Cotton Eyed Joe

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Stagger Lee

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Michael M. on March 27th 2008 in General, Live, Mine, Movies, Music, Recorded

Old-time performing

Last fall, my friend Robert Mallery took up clawhammer banjo. He took to it quickly. He knew that I had started fiddling the year before. Within a few months of beginning to frail, he suggested that we start playing together. It has been great. Fiddle and banjo form a pair. Although threads from two different continents that met on a third, their weave is tight. Continuing the tradition ourselves has been terrific. After many fun evenings in our living rooms, we played in front of others earlier this month.

We performed at a Coffeehouse held at the WashU Medical School. I fiddled and sang, and he kept the tunes driving on the banjo. While not without rough spots, it went well. Our audience was appreciative although they appeared a little bewildered. I know we had a great time. Here are the tunes we played. I have used the very fine Audio Player plugin for WordPress. The upload speed of my subscription is supposed to be fast enough for one listener at a time, but because “service” is an excessively generous term with Charter, I suggest using the plain links.

Old Joe Clark

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Little Liza Jane

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Greasy Coat

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Cluck Old Hen

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Soldier’s Joy

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Dog Treed a Possum Up a White Oak Tree

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My Folk School classes are ending. This past term, I took Intermediate Old-Time Fiddle with Steve Hall and Old-Time Ensemble II with Jim Nelson. Both are great area folk musicians. As in the past, my classes will play at the Schlafly Tap Room this Wednesday in the Folk School Student and Staff Showcase. I am especially looking forward to playing with the ensemble class. We have had a great time in class and in after class sessions at the VFW. The Grass Pack will play. At the end of the night, my teachers along with some other Folk School instructors will close it down as an all-star old-time band. It ought to be an evening of solid amateur and professional folk music.

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Michael M. on October 15th 2007 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.