2020-08 Tune of the Month - Beaumont Rag

  1. HonketyHank
    The Newbies' Tune of the Month for August 2020 is Beaumont Rag, popularized by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. Here is a link to the SAW thread (https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/g...cussionid=1507) which has several videos to show and hear how it goes. The tune was first recorded by Samuel Morgan Peacock of Cleburne, Texas, in 1929. Peacock may have been the composer. It has become a fairly common "show-off" or "crowd pleaser" piece, especially for fiddlers and flatpick guitar players.

    If you go to mandozine.com (http://www.mandozine.com/music/searc...rder=A&submit=), you'll find 13 versions of it at difficulty levels varying from "intermediate" to "impossible" and in three different keys (C, D, and F). Frankly, I found all of them to be rather difficult. The two I am gravitating toward are the one by Jethro (Burns) and one of the two Harvey versions (the one in D). Actually, my current thinking is to transpose the Harvey setting to the key of C and then do some mix and match with the Jethro version. We'll see. Anyway, I think the major challenge this month is going to be rhythm even though the left hand work is not easy either. Ragtime has syncopation as well as swing. Trying to do that in some trial runs this week has put me into a more addled than usual state. Everything has the acCENT on the wrong sylLABble. If you play it wrong and it sounds good you are on the right track. But it has to be the right kind of wrong. How's that for a challenge?

    Another challenge is that the "melody" gets buried with ornamentation in some of the versions. So far, I am not at all sure what the "melody" actually is, especially for the B part.

    If you want to have some true instructional videos on this tune, Banjo Ben Clark has a good set -- but they'll cost you $10 (or a membership fee). His teaser video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlMiTrjhdJA .

    Here is a nice version by Sam Lemann (guitar) and Adam Gare (mandolin). The YouTube description says they hadn't played this tune in years, which could account for some bum notes. Me, I wish I could play my bum notes that well.

    I would be remiss if I did not include this link to a video of Jack Tuttle's kids doing this tune back in 2007: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5fBEQQtf2I . Watch it. It's a hoot.
  2. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin

    We have gone from a very easy to a very difficult tune. This version is from www.traditionalmusic.co.uk and seems to appear also on The Session but in that case with several bars and whole sections omitted, so I would steer clear of it. There is also a crosspicking arrangement in Mickey Cochran's crosspicking mandolin book which I have never attempted because it requires reaching from the 2nd to the 8th frets.
    However, the second section ( in the traditionalmusic version)causes problems for the mandola player as you need to pick across from the fourth to second strings. I have therefore taken the liberty of substituting the crosspicking arrangement for the first four bars of the second section,
  3. Sleet
    Cool, mm! I wondered if anyone was going to take on this tune. I like the stomps, and drags, and rags, and their syncopated brethren, but this is a decidedly tricky one and apparently infinitely variable. Good for you for finding a way to bring it to the mandola.
  4. bbcee
    Nice arrangement @maudlin. I'm also bedeviled by the crosspicking bit. I was trying 6-2-0/6-2-2 (GDAE), but will likely play it with a different (and easier) inversion.
  5. HonketyHank
    Wow. Good job maudlin. Especially on that B part. Tricky stuff, there. I like that version of the A part, too. It is much closer to the older fiddle tune version than the flat picking guitar and mandolin versions I found.

    I plan to do a video late this month. But I am having trouble with the version I selected (and dumbed down considerably but not enough). I am making progress, but it is slow. Maybe if i understood jazz better ... ? Maybe if I weren't so ancient ... ? Maybe on that big rock candy mountain ... !
  6. HonketyHank
    I just stumbled on a great webpage if you are interested in a discussion of the roots for Beaumont Rag. It is Mark O'Connor's blog focused on "The O'Connor Method" of fiddle playing. I didn't even know it existed until this evening. Here it is:


    Shoot, from now on, I'm going to let Mark do my research.
  7. bbcee
    Here's my version, in D, which turns out to have some fairly brutal stretches and other weirdnesses. I learned a lot, but next time in C! I didn't get the tempo anywhere close to where I wanted it. The mando is not to blame.

    The first half is a mashup of several Mandozine versions. The second is an intermediate version from the Tunefox app.

    Played on my Ludewig A5, with iReal backing track. Hope you enjoy the tune and my fancy camera cuts!!

  8. HonketyHank
    Good show there, bbcee. That is impressive. Not only two distinct variations (played well) but also moving right along at a good clip.

    Question: Do you have two cameras going or did you play it twice, recording from different angles then cutting and pasting the video portion? An aspiring video editor wants to know!

    ps: have I mentioned that I like that Ludewig?
  9. bbcee
    Thanks Henry, glad you liked it.

    It was two cameras at once - I had this GoPro sitting there that I use for underwater videos, and thought, " This'll wow 'em on the Newbies thread!" As I was playing to a fixed tempo, camera two matched up easily to the main video, and I was able to drop cuts right in. The quality on the GoPro is so good, I may use that more the next video.

    The Ludewig is really settled in and sounding good, I think! I'm sure enjoying playing it.
  10. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Nice work, bbcee and maudlin. Tricky tune, isn't it?

    Some versions, I can't even see or hear the ragtime tune under whatever people are playing or have written down. I ended up using the same version you did, maudlin. out of all the versions I could find, this one made the most sense, and it actually had a ragtime feel.

  11. HonketyHank
    Quite nice, Louise. That B part is really an exercise, isn't it. Did I catch you playing an E on the A string with your pinkie toward the end of the A part? If so, kudos! I don't have the nerve to try that in a real tune. It works well for you.

    bbcee: I saw you sneaking up to like the ninth fret with your pinkie, too. Maybe that's why some people like me like the tune better in C. And I am indeed envious of your camera work.

    me? maybe tomorrow. I had hoped for today but I had some oldtoot screwups with the camera and lost a half a day figuring out that the problem was me and not the camera or software.
  12. bbcee
    Well gul durn it, @LouiseNM, now I have to learn it in C. That arrangement really does capture the feel. The "rag" around your neck helps the vibe too and of course that Pava of yours is just wonderful. You must be enjoying it. Glad you posted!

    Hope you get your camera stuff sorted, @Henry, looking forward to your version!
  13. HonketyHank
    Well, here is mine. What an adventure this has been. I approached this tune with an attitude like, "That which does not kill me, makes me stronger." I am actually pretty surprised I got this far along with it.

    Most of this is from the Jethro version downloaded from mandozine.com. I did borrow some from Banjo Ben Clark and one of the Harvey tab files from mandozine. I also fudged a few places to bring it down closer to my level. I am playing it in C.


    I apologize for not memorizing it yet, but I am still working on how to play it without tripping over my fingers. So in the video, I am reading the tab file from my computer screen. If we had another month, I might have it memorized and somewhat faster. Or I might not. If I knew in advance I had two months instead of one, I probably would have just put off working on it until the second month. Ah well.
  14. Sleet
    This tune brings out the best in the newbies. Good job, bbcee- sure and steady, with great work on the stretches. I like the feel of your version, Louise, very ragtimey, especially liked the b section, if you can call it a b section, this tune seeming to defy conventions. I hear some jazzy influence in your version, Henry, nice.\, and I'm with you in not having it memorized yet. I keep cutting out bits and pieces, trying to bring it down to size, but left too many in to get it in memory and still with much tripping over fingers.

  15. HonketyHank
    Good job, sleet! That is an interesting version. It sounds like there are A, B, and C sections and then a variation on the A section. Any way you think about it, it is a heck of a lot of notes to get down. Is that from mandozine? It is interesting to me that the tune is relatively recent (only 91 years old or so) but there are so many different versions with different themes in different order (not to mention different keys). And some even have a few bars of Sailors' Hornpipe (College Hornpipe) thrown in for a gotcha.
  16. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Well willya look at that—Sleet weighed in on this one, and Honkety Hank too! Nice renditions, everyone. That makes five versions: any more out there? This is the most participation we have had in ages, and the tune is a stinker. Is everyone sick enough of staying home that we all decided to tackle it?

    I'm still amazed how different each version is. Part of it was how each one of us chose to modify what we had, but the starting places were so different, too. On to September!
  17. bbcee
    Well done, Henry & Sleet! Two fine and different versions. I'm with Louise - nice to see more than usual participation.

    September's tune is such a lovely melody and pretty easy to play (technically). Hope to see some new postings!
  18. Sleet
    Thank, the version I worked with came from Stephen Parker's "Ragtime for Fiddle & Mandolin", which has some fun tunes and some mind boggling complicated ones. After snipping out a bunch, I maybe played a third of it.

    I agree, bbcee, that September's tune is nice one for the new newbies to join in on. To my surprise, I was able to just pick up the fiddle and play it. Now to mandolinize it.
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