Catching Up

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

As you may have noticed, we have been rather recalcitrant about blogging this week. Call it the Christmas ho-hums. And it’s not really ho-hums so much—we’ve all got plenty to do—but it’s just that our various schedules are still in interruption mode. Which is wonderful because Red’s mom is visiting us from Tallahassee and Casey is here from Nashville. So we’ve been busy doing things with them, which lives little time for blogging.

I will mention that on Christmas Eve, David McLaughlin had his annual open house, which we have turned into an annual picking party because we don’t know how to behave at a “regular” party where you might have to actually talk to people...about something other than bluegrass! So we hide behind our instruments and this makes us happy and in general pleases most of the people at the party.

Red, Casey, Chris, Jenny Obert, David Himself, Gerald Crowell, Logan, and I rendered tunes for about three hours with no stopping other than the obligatory nature calls. Casey was playing her fretless, nylon-string Fielding banjo which provided a novel element (in a good way!), Logan outdid himself on my Stelling banjo, David played mostly fiddle and a little bass, Red and Chris played mandolins, Jenny played fiddle, and Gerald and I played guitar. I was perfectly content to play guitar, because that enables me to sing more, which seemed like a good thing that night.

My favorite jam sessions feature the old, moldy songs generally from the Stanley Brothers, but it seems like we hit quite a variety of numbers. It’s been several days since the party but I do remember these:

Please Papa Don’t Whip Little Benny (sung by Casey)

Daddy Frank

I Don’t Want Your Rambling Letters

East Virginia Blues (which sounds just like Rambling Letters so we didn’t do them close together)

The Prisoner’s Song

Beautiful Star of Bethlehem

Christmas Time’s A-Coming

Sally Goodwin (so Logan could practice it)

Cumberland Gap (which Logan mixed up with Sally Goodwin, of course—everybody does it)

Cripple Creek (which sounded great on the fretless banjo)

Traveling the Highway Home

Better Get in That Number

I’m Going Back To Old Virginia (sung by Casey and Chris—it’s a number David wrote and they recorded)

Rank Stranger

We ended with Beer Barrel Polka followed by Old Spinning Wheel, for which I took over on banjo

Robyn, Logan’s mother, asked for Blackberry Blossom but, of course, I wouldn’t do it. Later, I told her that the type of jam session we were in made BB inappropriate. So Robyn later asks, “At what type of session would it be appropriate?” Casey immediately says, “One that Murphy’s not at.” I had to protest, but only a little bit, because that is partly true. But on another level, to me, each jam session that’s really rolling has its own flavor, and we were doing old singing songs. Of which Blackberry Blossom is not one (to use good grammar....I think!). Besides, Logan didn’t play it. It just didn’t have the right energy. Besides, it was too early for me to go get a beer, which is what I usually do when BB surfaces!

All in all, a good time was had and we went home and nestled all snug in our beds. And, sure enough, Santa arrived sometime during the night! And we had a glorious time opening presents the next morning! Hope you got everything you asked for. I know I did!