March 29th, 2004

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The show

Chris and I had another show at the Blue Plate Lounge in Holden, MA yesterday. We started a little late (quarter past four instead of four), but it otherwise went OK. Only two people we knew showed up (my father and one of his brothers), so most of the people were at the bar. Some things of note:

- I brought the twelve-string guitar of Joe Manfre (a guitar I bought from manfire last weekend). Since I've only had the guitar for a week and it's taken some getting used to I wasn't sure we'd actually use it (I brought it mainly because I wanted to show it to my father), but we started the second set with me playing it on Kind Hearted Woman (with Chris singing and playing harmonica; people applauded after one of his harmonica solos, which was very nice!), and Chris also played a couple of songs on it in the second set (Peggy-O and a song he wrote called Me & Curby). Fun!

- We got a request for King of the Road, but neither of us knew how to play it. Maybe next time ... (Tamara Harris take note!)

Last time we played at the Blue Plate there were more people (both people I knew and those I didn't) and we had a couple of encore requests and everything, so I was a little disappointed that there weren't more people this time. But it was still fun, and hopefully there will be more people at the next show we do there, which will be on April 25.

We'll be playing in Worcester again on Thursday, April 8, which will be kind of a late show so I'm dreading it slightly although I'm sure it will be fun. The big one that Chris and I are looking forward to is on April 10, when we'll be playing at Billy Goode's in Newport. Chris thinks there will be a lot of people there (because Newport in April) and the fact that we've seen Paul Geremia play there is also quite exciting! Also, they have a real piano, so I may play that instead of me keyboard, which also would be fun. (Mmmmm, real piano.) Also, it's the first show in Rhode Island we've had in many months, so that will be fun.
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Latest web project

My cousin John Scott has been working with his father, John Anthony Scott, on a revised version of A Ballad of America, a book that John A. Scott originally wrote in, I think, 1972.

The revised version includes a bunch of new songs that were collected while both Scotts were working on Folksong in the Classroom, a self-published magazine on the topic of using folk songs as a teaching material.

Each song has an introductory essay that relates it to a particular historical period or event, and the lyrics, melody line, and chords are included. One of the goals with the new edition of the book was to make it available in loose leaf form, so that teachers can easily make copies of the lyrics to distribute.

So my cousin asked me if I wanted to put together a website for this, which I readily agreed to do. Unfortunately, other stuff in my life interfered, but I finally got to spend some time on it and so here it is: Folksong in the Classroom, the website! It includes a little PHP-based table of contents listing which I'm slightly proud of (although any PHP programmer probably could have thrown together something similar in ten minutes).

We're hoping to include additional content. For instance in each of the seven main sections of the book we'll probably have an entire song, complete with essay, lyrics, melody, etc., available to be looked at and maybe downloaded as a PDF. We'd also like to have simple recordings of the first verse and chorus of each song available as a download, although some decisions have to be made about how exactly that will work.

I've submitted it to search engines, but if anyone has any suggestions for other ways of improving its placement in the search results for "Folksong in the Classroom" and "Folk Song" and such please let me know. (It is probably pretty obvious that one of the goals of this entry is to help move it up in the rankings.)

OK bye.
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Cow Cow Boogie

One thing I did today is get a couple of versions of the song Cow Cow Blues, which was originally written by Cow Cow Davenport. (The two versions I got were by Paul Gayten and someone named Mr. B. I got 'em from the Apple Music Store using a couple of Pepsi bottle tops. It turns out there's a Cow Cow Boogie with lyrics that was performed by a bunch of different people, such as Ella Fitzgerald, and which doesn't appear to have any relationship to Cow Cow Blues.)

As with my earlier Pinetop's Boogie Woogie mass purchase, the idea here was to listen to a few different versions with an eye to learning to play some variant of the song myself.

The neat thing is that while the last time I tried to master the song (which was some years ago, I think) I couldn't play it at all, really. But now I'm trying to follow along and I only suck at it. So, progress! With a bit of luck I'll only be mediocre at it before too long, I hope!

As appears to be traditional with these things, one of the versions of the song is in good old C, while the other appears to be in E flat or some damn thing.