Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The necessity for a manic fiddler in a band

Two fiddlers who commanded enormous respect were these boys:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Swarbrick

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Daniels

Massive talent, both, and CD had the added feather in the cap late in life of being one of us, politically, on Twitter.  These two tracks are maybe most identified with them - not meant as some sort of comparison or "battle" - I'm truly not into that guff, just  two facets of the world of fiddle playing, underscoring the necessity for the player to have that manic ability when called for, that ego if you like. 

One criticism of Katie Petersen is - technically excellent but as she's the arranger for the band and eldest sis, she holds back when the song requires her to gun it, to really go for it. Ger O'Donnell there provides the Irish manic.  That band really needs such a singer/player.

With Fairport, no decent live recordings left on YT, so went with the audio version. Looking back - goodness - Richard Thompson and Swarbrick interplaying, plus Sandy Denny and Simon Nicol - what a line-up.

About the album/song:


Of the rehearsal sessions at Farley Chamberlayne that led to the album, Hutchings later said: 
"It was a magical time ... and there’s a lot of magic on that album. There was a special feeling in the house, in the room, and also a lot of hidden magic and weirdness on that album. The past is weird, you know, our ancestors did a lot of weird things." 
While Thompson said: 
"Nothing resonates like an old song... To sing something beautifully written, and then refined over hundreds of years, that still has meaning and urgency, that still creates vivid pictures in the mind, is a deeply rewarding thing. I think we hoped the band would achieve some mainstream popularity, so that we could bring the tradition a little closer to people's lives."

That really is not hyperbole, it's so as legions of English fans can attest.  The moment in the song you'll be looking for is around 5:06.

Apologies to Charlie Daniels fans below as it's the shorter version in live form.  You'll still get the idea of the talent level though.  On YT, at this time, it's the best available.

Notes also from Wiki:

The song is written in the key of D minor. Vassar Clements originally wrote the basic melody an octave lower, in a tune called "Lonesome Fiddle Blues" released on Clements' self-titled 1975 album on which Charlie Daniels played guitar. The Charlie Daniels Band moved it up an octave and put words to it. 

The ballad's story is a derivative of the traditional deal with the devil motif. Charlie Daniels has stated in interviews:

"I don't know where it came from, but it just did. Well, I think I might know where it came from, it may have come from an old poem called 'The Mountain Whippoorwill' that Stephen Vincent Ben├ęt wrote many, many years ago (1925), that I had in high school."

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