Fast Jam: My Two Cents

Murphy Henry

Since Casey has already done such an excellent job telling you about the basics of the new Fast Jam DVD, I thought I’d give you some of the inside scoop.

First of all, I must say it was completely delightful to have Casey back at home for four days. I fixed us oatmeal and tea for breakfast every morning and was rewarded by her taking care of those little things that mean so much: bagging up the trash, cleaning up the kitchen, playing Scrabble with me. Beating me was going above and beyond the call of duty, but it did make for a most interesting game!

In true bluegrass fashion (or perhaps its just Murphy Method fashion!) there was no advance song list for the DVD, so Steve (bass) and Malia (fiddle) had no clue as to what we’d be doing except that I said, “It’s standard stuff. You’ll know it.” And they did. Except for my original tune Hazel Creek, which Steve had never heard. So we took a few extra minutes to teach it to him on the spot. No big deal, just the bluegrass way. (No, of course, we didn’t use chord charts! We are the Murphy Method and we practice what we preach!)

Friday morning, we were ready to roll a little after 9:30 a.m. Casey, Steve, and Malia were positioned in front of the backdrop, tuned and waiting and chatting amongst themselves. Where was I? I had decided, at that exact moment, that I need to clean my banjo head, so I was in the kitchen with the 409 and a paper towel trying to remove five or ten years worth of gunk that had accumulated around where I plant my fingers. Oh, and there was blood, too, from when I pricked my finger on a string end and then daubed it on the head. Why? I have no idea! It just seemed like the thing to do at the time. Most of the gunk came off, but not all of the blood!

As I was doing my cleaning, I was imagining a blog that Casey might write:

[Imaginary blog by Casey]: There we were in the studio, all ready to go, and where was Mom? In the kitchen cleaning her banjo head! She never cleans her banjo head, as you can clearly see in the last jam DVD. So, why this moment? She had all week to clean it! She had all year! Could she be more of a prima donna? Sheesh. [Imaginary blog over.]

When I got to the studio, I told Casey about my imaginary blog but she didn’t think it was as funny as I did.

We started off with a couple of tunes that were easy for me to play on banjo because I’ve been playing them (and teaching them) so long: Sally Goodwin and Salt Creek. It’s always wise to start with something easy in hopes of getting a good recording vibe going. Those went well, and we were off and running.

Several vocal numbers were on the list and I assumed that Casey and I would do them as duets. But when Steve came in on a baritone part as we were rehearsing them I thought, “Wow! This is a bonus!” So we had trio harmony all the way through. Yes! We had to sing everything in very low keys (for me) because I still had the remnants of a cold. Casey served as my “stand-in” singer while we ran over the tunes, and then switched to tenor of the taping. We’d usually just try the tune once, or maybe twice, and then roll the tape. (Or whatever is the digital equivalent!)

We were hoping to get at least 20 songs down for the DVD, so we were looking at putting in some serious recording time. As it turned out, we got about 10 songs the first day and 10 the second day. And let me tell you, when we got done on each day I was a whipped puppy!

Saturday, after we’d wrapped up the DVD, Casey and I went to lunch with two of my fiddle sisters, Patty and Robyn. We thoroughly enjoyed a couple of hours of girl talk, the content of which I can in no way reveal in this (mostly) family-oriented blog. We, of course, capped off the meal with shared desserts. And then I came back home and took a long winter’s nap, preparatory to square dancing that night!

It was a good weekend. I think you’re gonna enjoy this DVD. I hope we can include some of the “bloopers” because I’m just remembering that when we started off on Sally Goodwin, our very first number, I messed up right from the start. And said a bad word. And then I messed up again and said that same bad word. Only a mild bad word. Worse than damn but not as a bad as most of the stuff you hear on  TV now. On second thought, I don’t think that would be appropriate material for bloopers. Or even You-Tube. But it was sure funny in the moment. A good time was definitely had while making this DVD and we think you’ll enjoy the end result. We’ll keep you posted on the release!

4 thoughts on “Fast Jam: My Two Cents

  1. Martin Bacon

    I’ve heard Murphy use bad words. She’s probably said them about my picking. Lucky there is Ultimate DVD Player so I can use this DVD.

  2. Mark Heilman

    Even though she was whipped on Friday, Murphy still did an hour long banjo lesson from 6 – 7 Friday evening with me including some singing.

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