Tip Jar Jam #17: Thrown Under The Bus!

Murphy Henry

Before I explain the title of this blog (courtesy of Bob Van), let me explain this picture that you see right here:

Murphy Henry

Ben took this photo at the banjo camp and thought it was hilarious. He showed it to me then and I was considerably less amused (“Ha, ha, Ben”) but boys will be boys and I thought no more about it.


Fast forward to the Tip Jar Jam last night. I always sit with my back toward the fireplace and the mantle with the huge mirror over it. So I’m sitting there and we’re jamming, maybe we’ve played two or three numbers and all is well. Then, I stood up for something and Ben says to me, “Your hair is sticking up in the back.” Huh??? Whoever notices my hair?  (Except Kathy and Kristina! Thank you, ladies!) “It is?” I say, touching my hair thinking maybe my glasses have ruffled it up. Everyone at the jam nods their heads in agreement. So naturally, I turn to the mirror to look, and there, on the mantle, I see this framed 5 x 7 picture, pouty lips and all, staring back at me. I burst out laughing and immediately said to Ben’s daughter, Kasey, “You should have warned me!” She says, “I wanted to but he wouldn’t let me!” Ben does love his little jokes! So we all had a good laugh about the picture and I agreed with Kathy’s earlier comment at her lesson: at least my hair looked good!


Now back to the title of the blog. We kicked off the jam with Banjo in the Hollow but that’s not a particularly good song for the fiddle or for the bass. So next I called for Blue Ridge Cabin Home. I spent some amount of time finding out who could play a break, reminding fiddling Suzi of how the melody went, and telling Barbara, on guitar, that the first line was “There’s a well beaten path on this old mountain side” or, I said, as some folks sing, “There’s a half-eaten calf...” In other words, I talked about the song A LOT.


Then I turned to Bob V, sitting beside me, and said, “Will you sing it?” (Actually I probably said, “You’re singing this” because he always does.) And then he says, “Are we doing Little Cabin Home on the Hill?” And I look at him like he’s insane and say, “No, we’re doing Blue Ridge Cabin Home. Where have you been for the last five minutes?” And naturally, he can’t just let it go, but has to give me lip: “You said Little Cabin Home on the Hill.” Me: “I did not.” Him: “You did too.” So I turned to the other jammers and asked, “How many people heard me say Blue Ridge Cabin Home?” And everyone, grinning broadly, raised their hands high in agreement because they knew that Bob was......wrong. “S.O.B if you didn’t,” Bob said. To which Kathy replied, “I guess you just got thrown under the bus!” And I grabbed my yellow pad and pen while saying, “Thank you, Bobby, for the blog title!” And he’s growling, “Where’s the duct tape?”


We were ten strong last night with five banjos, three guitars, one bass and one fiddle:


Bob V






Kenney (on his new upright bass!)


Barbara (on guitar after a month’s hiatus)

Bob Mc


In addition to our standard repertoire we worked in one completely new song, Soldier’s Joy in D, so Suzi could have an honest-to-goodness fiddle tune to play. Bob V had also been working hard on his lead guitar break (in open D, which is a pretty hard key) and I thought it was time for him to try it in the jam. When we practiced in his lesson he did just fine. Unfortunately, when he went to pick it in the jam, he had a brain fart and thought he was picking in the Key of G so that didn’t go too well. But we’ll keep at it, because the only way to really polish a song is to play it in a jam. And all the banjos did great with their vamping in D. (No need to capo if you’re just vamping!)


Barbara sang It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels in the key of A to which everyone played their break to Blue Ridge Cabin Home which fits the chord pattern and is close enough. While we were there (capoed two) we did all our A stuff: Old Joe Clark, Somebody Touched Me, Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms, I’ll Fly Away, and Daybreak in Dixie.


We closed out with Keeper of the Door and right after we finished I said to Scott, “Go ahead. Kick off Midnight Train. I know you want to.” So he did and we ended with that. A rousing good way to end another excellent jam. We had so much fun! If you’re ever in the area, come jam with us!

3 thoughts on “Tip Jar Jam #17: Thrown Under The Bus!

  1. Ben

    In defense of the picture, truly not a joke, but a great photo, its hard to get shots that capture the moment. Eyebrows raised, both eyes canted left,two cheeks rosie, whistling lips, perfect hair and Stelling Banjo. Murphy was waiting for Casey to tune her banjo. She gave us her ( i am waiting look) personally I’ve taken lots of action shots and Murphy that is a very very good picture of ya. Doesn’t everyone agree?

  2. Murphy Henry

    Obviously, you need glasses, Ben! But, truly, my hair does look great!!!! 🙂 If only I had the fashion sense of your Kasey….or as Jimmy Martin says, “I’d like to be 16 again and know what I know now!” [Not really! I’m happy to be a backwards 16…almost, that is!]

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