I will not be at the next intermediate jam. The song of the week cycle will be suspended for the week. I will resume leading the jam on Nov. 2nd, two weeks from now.
The song of the week will be 'Old Joe Clark' in the key of A.
Breaks & Tempos
My intentions in revisiting 'Old Joe Clark' as a song of the week for the intermediate jam are: 1) to provide an occasion for people to review the breaks they have been playing for the most frequently played fiddle tunes at the jam to see if there is anything in their breaks that could use some 'updating' in accordance with the level of playing ability that they have now attained; and 2) to continue where we left off at when Turkey In The Straw went through its song of the week cycle in terms of working on increasing the tempos at which the jam group is able to successfully play standard fiddle tunes.
In the attachments, I have given not only a version of the basic melody, but also two breaks each for fiddle, mandolin and guitar in which notes are added around the basic melody. If the breaks you play for Old Joe Clark consist of little more than just the basic melody, or if you are looking for ideas for other ways to play a break for Old Joe Clark than how you usually play your break, I hope you will find these useful. I have not included any banjo breaks in the attachments because most banjo players who learn to play Old Joe Clark learn to play it with many notes added around the basic melody from the get go.
Better yet, in listening to the breaks on the recordings given below, if there is anything in them that strikes you as something that you would like to add into your breaks for Old Joe Clark, try to learn it directly from the recording. Remember, if you go to settings in youtube, you can slow down the recording to half speed.
The breaks given in the attachments are not as busy as most of the breaks on the recordings provided below, but if you combine the two breaks together, using most of the busy spots in each, then the resulting breaks will come close to some of the breaks heard on the recordings. However, in view of the tempos at which Old Joe Clark will be played at the jam, be careful about how many notes you try to your breaks all at once.
The tempos at which I intend to kick off Old Joe Clark at as it goes through its song of the week cycle are:
Nov. 2nd: 124 beats per minute (2 clicks of the metronome per measure)
Nov. 9th: 128 beats per minute
Nov. 16th: 132 beats per minute
Here are some youtube links of good bluegrass live performances of Old Joe Clark that I hope you will enjoy:
Carolina Bluegrass Express: The fiddle breaks are my favorite part of this performance. The basic melody of the tune can be heard very prominently in the banjo break, since the banjo player not only accents the melody notes loud and clear, but also does not put quite as many extra notes around the melody as what a lot of other banjo players tend to do with this tune. In contrast to this, the guitar break is a good example of non-melody-based playing on a fiddle tune. For the final break, the fiddle is playing a harmony part while the melody is carried on the mandolin.
UK98 Bluegrass Band: good mandolin, banjo and guitar breaks; notice how in the guitar breaks, the A Parts of the breaks consists of little more than the basic melody carried on the low strings of the guitar, which is then contrasted with higher pitched non-melody-based playing for the B Parts.
Gravel Road Bluegrass Band: I really like the breaks these kids play: the basic melody always remains discernable in these breaks, even in the spots where there is a lot more going on than just sticking to the basic melody:
1 1 1 5
1 1 1/5 1
1 1 1 b7
1 1 1/5 1
In the key of A: b7 = G. (In the key of G: b7 = F.)