The song of the week is 'Little Birdie' in the key of C.
This was one of the first songs I learned to play on banjo.
Probably the most well known version of this song within bluegrass circles is Ralph Stanley's, on which he plays clawhammer (old-time) style banjo instead of the more common (for bluegrass) 3 finger style. Ralph's version of the song is 'crooked', meaning that there are extra half measures in the progression. This makes his version somewhat hard to learn or to play along with. Making things even more difficult is that the breaks do not follow exactly the same form as the verses. Here is a link for Ralph's version of the song. But this is not the version that I will use at the beginner jam, since it is not very jam friendly.
Ralph Stanley (key of D)
Here is a slower version of the song, and one in which the form is not crooked, and in which the form is the same for both the verses. the choruses, and the breaks. Notice that Ralph Stanley's version has no chorus. His first verse is used as a chorus in the version below.
The Cartys (key of D)
This is pretty much how I intend on playing the song at the beginner jam, except that there will be no chorus, only verses, as in the Ralph Stanley version.
The chord progression, for both the verses and the breaks is:
In the key of C: 1 = C and 5 = G
In addition to playing in C without a capo, there is another good option for playing 'Little Birdie' in the key of C on banjo and guitar, namely, capoing to the 5th fret and then playing as if you were in the key of G (In the key of G: 1 = G and 5 = D). See the attached melody sheets. On banjo, this will also mean raising the 5th string up to a C note by capoing at the 5th string at the 10th fret. If you do not have a 10th fret spike on your banjo for capoing the 5th string, then use the 9th fret spike, and then tune the string up the extra half-step from B to C.
Here is another version of Little Birdie which you may enjoy (and which, unlike the previous links, has a 3 finger style banjo break):
Spinney Brothers (key of B)