Learn Some Old Time Tunes

Here is the sheet music, and MP3s for some Old-Time tunes. They do NOT correspond exactly. You need to get the "feel" of the bow movements to make it sound right, and I can only approximate the feel that the masters get.

If you like this page and want more, take a moment and email me.

Tommy Jarrell and Fred Cockerham

Tommy Jarrell and Fred Cockerham

Try and listen to as old a player as you can find, one with serious "roots" in the music. Go to Cliff Top, Galax, Battleground, or other old time music festivals and listen. Get the original recordings, the remastered old 78s, go to sites like the Appalachian Colleges Association Digital Library, an unbelievably rich collection of audio files. Go to Old Time summer programs at places like Augusta, and the Swannanoa Gathering, both of which have great old time "weeks."

The sheet music is by me (David James) and the MP3s are also by me (fiddle and guitar). As time permits I'll put on slowed down versions of them, but if you want to do this yourself, and for any other recording, avail yourself of a program such as the Amazing Slow Downer (in my opinion the best program for the Mac), a great help in learning.

Please realize that these are VERSIONS of tunes, by me, and they are not definative. The chords are "suggested" and many other players have other chord schemes, but I've tried to stay true to the people from whom I learned and the tradition as I learned it.

1. Nail That Catfish to a Tree was written by Chicagoan Steve Rosen, a great banjo and fiddle player often found with the Volo Bogtrotters. This tune has wide currency in the old time music world along with many other newly composed tunes. Old time music is not a static tradition.
Nail That Catfish to a Tree sheet music with chords
Nail That Catfish to a Tree MP3 audio recording

2. Little Dutch Girl I heard for the first time from the great Dan Gellert. Get his latest recording. You can't go wrong with any tune version by him. It's also played at the Evart Dulcimer Festival, a unique and unforgettable gathering of Midwestern dulcimer and old time music people.
Little Dutch Girl sheet music with chords
Little Dutch Girl MP3 audio recording

3. Golden Slippers has been a dulcimer players' favorite for as long as I've been playing, which you do not want to know how long. It has words. Look at Mudcat.org and enter "golden slippers" in the "lyrics and knowledge search" box on the upper left corner of the splash page. While you're at it, get lost in this mighty web site for hours, and . . . send them a little money; nothin's free.
Golden Slippers sheet music with chords
Golden Slippers MP3 audio recording

4. Rag Time Annie is played everywhere. I've heard this three-part version more in Michigan and New England than anywhere else, so always ask.
Rag Time Annie sheet music with chords
Rag Time Annie MP3 audio recording

5. Staten Island Hornpipe is played as a hornpipe, and as an old time reel. I've heard it both ways, here and in Ireland. Hammered dulcimer players love it also.
Staten Island Hornpipe sheet music with chords
Staten Island Hornpipe MP3 audio recording

6. Jumpin' Toothache I first heard in Michigan, at the Evart dulcimer festival. 'Way too much fun, and family friendly. Maybe Paul Goelz played it, or Judi Morningstar and/or the Ruffwater Stringband.
Jumpin' Toothache sheet music with chords
Jumpin' Toothache MP3 audio recording

7. Water Bound (Stay All Night) I first heard in 1983 as played by a string band at the Five Colleges Folk Festival in Saratoga Springs New York. Anybody there that remembers the name of the band holler at me at the address above. Anyway, they were red hot, so I learned this tune off them. It's very common in the old time world, and major fun to play.
Water Bound sheet music with chords
Water Bound MP3 audio recording

Also on this web site are Irish tunes, and some audio recordings HERE. Heaven forbid you might want to book me or my two or three piece band, but if you do, go HERE.

And if you go to the HOME PAGE you can start all over.

Sincerely Yours,

David James
916 Emerson Ave.
South Bend, IN 46615