Back In The Saddle

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

We were back in the saddle at the Misfit Jam tonight but pickings were sorta slim. Bob Mc and Susan were on banjos, Bobby V (the artist formerly known as Bob Van) was on bass, and I was holding down the guitar.

We opened with "Cripple Creek" in G, playing in unison, but then I thought, “Let’s go to A since there are only two banjos to retune when we put the capos on.” So, to A we did go. And in that glorious chord (or key as some folks say) we did:

Boil Them Cabbage
Blue Ridge Cabin Home
Salt Creek (Susan soloed)
I Saw The Light
Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms
Old Joe Clark

I will point out that the key of A is the “normal” fiddle key for "Cabbage", "Salt Creek", and "Old Joe". And “singing songs” are done wherever the singer wants. Although I will have to say that A was stretching Bobby and me (or Bobby and I, as folks are wont to ungrammatically say these days). I was definitely straining for the tenor on the higher notes.

Funny things that happened: Bob Mc got lost in the middle of "Blue Ridge Cabin Home" and was out of sync with the rest of us. I stopped him to say, “Bob, are you listening to the rest of us?” His answer? “No, of course not!” Gotta give him credit for honesty!

Susan got a bit flummoxed in the middle of "Salt Creek" when she tried to put the ending on without finishing the song, that is, after the A parts. When that obviously didn’t work, she started to say something about it. I responded with, “Don’t talk in the middle of the song. Keep playing!” Which she did. We got the ending lick straightened out after the song was over, but the ever-supportive Bob Mc said that if he got a vote, he would always vote for talking in the middle of a song!

On the subject of capos, I pointed out that some folks I have picked with refer to the key of A as “two G.” Which simply means put the capo on at the second fret and play out of G position. Thus, the key of B becomes “four G.” When I was performing as a solo folk singer back in my college days, I used that same terminology on the set list I had taped to the side of my Yamaha 12-string guitar. I also used “two C” when I capoed up two frets and played out of C position. (Most folks would call that the key of D.) Made sense to me. But I always did have a strong streak of redneck in me. Or at least I like to pretend that I do!

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