I’m a bit late writing this blog because.......we got four inches of snow after the jam last night....and we kept grandson Dalton overnight...and Casey can’t get out here to pick him up so.....guess who is still babysitting? Granddaddy and Gran! Actually Red and I take the babysitting in shifts and right now it’s Red’s shift! He was feeding Dalton a snack when I came downstairs to blog. And I’m guessing it will be naptime next.
Anyhoo.... the frigid weather kept some folks away last night but seven hardy souls ventured out to sing and play and socialize:
We missed all our regulars but especially Kasey (and her dad, Ben, who was kind enough to text that he just wanted to stay home and keep warm!) And, Kasey, just so you know: We didn’t play Boil Them Cabbage Down! (Of course, if you’d been there, we would have had to play it!)
As you can see, we were guitar heavy which was not a bad thing at all. For one thing, fewer banjos means you can actually hear the lead guitar players! And we totally welcomed back Bob Van and Janet who have been MIA for two weeks. And as you can also see, all THREE Bobs were present! That why we called it the “Bob Jam.” Bob Mc also hammered the point home by bobbing his head frequently!
(Aside: I told them having three Bobs reminded me of one of the books Dalton has. It’s a book about learning numbers and all the animals in the book are named “Bob.” Of course, when Red reads it to Dalton he renames all the animals using every variation of Bob he can come up with: Bobbie, Rob, Robbie, Robert, Roberta, Bobbette, Bobalooie, Billy Bob, etc. It’s too funny. However, I thought it would be too confusing to call everyone at the jam “Bob”!)
This week we added a few new numbers to our repertoire. (Complete list at the bottom of the blog.)
Little Maggie: Scott is learning this one and it has a chord pattern that is easy to pick up (off chord F). I played the banjo and did the singing.
Ballad of Jed Clampett: Bob Mc suggested this one, which Casey teaches on our Easy Songs DVD. Scott also plays it and did most of the singing, with me chiming in when he forgot a word or two. After the song was over he said that in order to remember how to fit those last words in against the rolls (“Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea”) he had to think about Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies TV show. Bob Van immediately chimed in with what can only be described as a chortle and said, “Don’t you mean Ellie May?” To which a slightly embarrassed Scott quickly said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah! I meant Ellie May!” I said, “That’s going in the blog!”
It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels: Barbara did a great job singing this wonderful old Kitty Wells number in the key of A. It has the same chord pattern as Blue Ridge Cabin Home (and the same melody as Great Speckled Bird and I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes), so I told everyone they could either improvise a break or just play Blue Ridge Cabin Home! Except that I told Bob Van HE had to play the melody on the guitar. Which he did very well.
Daybreak in Dixie: Another tune Scott is learning. (He’s really on a roll right now!) It has a fairly simple chord pattern with the A part, again, being like Blue Ridge Cabin Home. The B part is different, but not hard. No one else knew it, so I played guitar and took a break. The consensus of opinion from the group was that this was a really good tune! I think I might have to teach it to Bob Van. We’re needing a new song!
Little Cabin Home on the Hill: I called on Bob Van to sing one, saying, “Do something easy with just three chords that they can improvise to.” And he surprised me by saying, “How about Little Cabin Home on the Hill?” I said, “Perfect!” And Scott said, “I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard you all agree on anything!” Scott and Bob Mc did a good job of improvising to this one which they’d never played.
We also did Do Lord in the Key of C because Scott (Murphy Method poster boy!) has just learned to play it in open C (no capo!) He was a tiny bit reluctant to play it but I knew he could do it. And he did. Bob Mc whipped out his capo and played it five frets up, as did Bob A on guitar. It was soooooo nice to be able to sing a song in the Key of C, which is where my voice (and many women’s voices) is more naturally pitched for most songs. Janet added some nice harmony, in spite of her lingering cold.
And I have to give a great big shout out to Bob Van for his excellent guitar breaks on John Hardy. We have worked long and hard--for years--trying to get him to come in correctly for his second break (each person usually plays two breaks in a row, so fitting them together back to back is crucial). The problem was he just didn’t “hear” the timing and would always come in too quick. Well, I’ve learned over the years if Bobby doesn’t “hear” something there’s no use fighting that battle. Even a two by four won’t help! But yesterday at his lesson we worked on it again because we usually play John Hardy in the jam and I wanted him to be able to take a break. This time, when I showed him how the timing went HE GOT IT! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! I told him I thought it was because he’s been playing so much lead guitar in both the jams he goes to each week and his playing has gotten much, much better. WHOO HOO! As I keep telling you (and I know I’m preaching to the choir) this Tip Jar Jam is really helping everyone kick their playing up several notches. So, if you’re ever in the area, drop by!
And, if you made it this far, THANKS! I get carried away because I’m so excited about this jam! And now....time for my babysitting shift!
Our complete list of tunes (as best I remember):
Old Joe Clark
Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms
Lonesome Road Blues
Somebody Touched Me
I’ve Got a Home in Beulah Land
Do Lord (in C)
I Saw The Light
Blue Ridge Cabin Home
When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder
Daybreak in Dixie
It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels
Ballad of Jed Clampett
Little Cabin Home on the Hill