Garfield's Blackberry Blossoms

  1. Michael Romkey
    Michael Romkey
    Kinda surprised this one hasn’t been a TOW selection but I can’t find it in the TOC.

    I like the story of this tune. Supposedly during the Civil War, Gen. Garfield, later President Garfield (and even later, the assassinated President Garfield) was playing this on his fiddle. Somebody asked the name of the tune. "Blackberry Blossoms,” said the General. "No it ain't," said somebody else. Apparently even then Americans didn't take authority too seriously. "OK, so it's Garfield's Blackberry Blossoms,” Garfield replied.

    I learned this from a variety of sources, none of which I ever got completely right, plus a few things I threw in just to disguise the aforementioned. So call it "Romkey's Garfield's Blackberry Blossoms."

    Can I get a 'No it ain't" from one of y'all?

  2. Frithjof
  3. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    No it ain't, but you could just call it "Romkey's Blossoms". Make sure you write it down so the rest of us can learn it. We'll vote it in as SAW.
  4. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Ah, Mike. You will of course be aware that all those tunes from the Civil War period are really tunes of Scottish (and possibly Irish) origin that were brought over from my homeland and then adopted when they reached the USA. We would call it Bramble Blooms or some such Scottish title and the Irish would step in and say it was really Blackthorn Blossoms, and so the history would develop! I remember playing over in County Antrim several years ago at a folk festival in Cairncastle where we were one of the guest groups, along with others from Scotland and several from various parts of Ulster, and the compere introducing one tune, Gary Owen, as an Irish tune that was adopted by the US 7th Cavalry as their regimental march. He said something along the lines of "We're going to play a great wee Irish tune now that yer man, General Custer, stole for his 7th Cavalry". So, No it Ain't! Great picking, by the way.
  5. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    I’ll vote for Romkey’s Blossoms too!
    Nice slides and double stops Mike.
  6. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    That's some exceptional playing and improv, Mike. Love the slides going up the neck to grab the doublestops. Very cool.
  7. Michael Romkey
    Michael Romkey
    Thank y'all for the encouraging words. You're right, John. The old country is where it all came from. Guess that's why I secretly prefer Irish and Old Time to flat-out bluegrass. I'm about 55 percent Irish/Scottish, according to 23 & Me, so it isn't complete cultural appropriation! The other 45 percent is German, which I think means I really like to drink, and I really like to fight -- but I'm mainly trying to behave. (I also have more than the usual amount of Neanderthal...)
  8. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    very jazzy for an Irish tune, but an insufficient reason to be assassinated for (apparently, there is an increase here: late Garfield became assassinated later for his latest tune)
  9. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    I kinda learned this one a long time ago and found this Ed Haley version on an old iPod and thought it was a good one to learn. I like the Eb in the second phrase and that crazy swirling lick that ends the A part.

    Played on my 2020 Pomeroy mandolin that I don't play enough.
  10. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Fine piece of picking there, Don, and a great sound from that Pomeroy.
  11. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    Thanks, John.
  12. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Very catchy tune ... yes it is! & nice playing guys. Thanks for the history and the post, Mike; thanks for the sheet, Don!
  13. bbcee
    Here's my and Don's run at the weird and wonderful Garfield's Blackberry Blossom. Search as I might in the Cafe, I didn't turn this up as having been done until doing a Google search for the origins of the name. Not only has it been done, but done well, and for Don, second time around (guess I didn't ask!). He plays the second and fourth melodies, stretching out that Ed Haley version on his Heiden. I play the first and third melodies on my Rigel. We wanted to try something a bit different with the arrangement, so here it is, with the band in tow

    Video is totally unrelated, just a wander in the fields around my village during our glorious spring this year.

  14. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Sweet! Like those 'odd' scales, and fine music playing both of you Gents. Thanks.
  15. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Another fine collaboration, gents. Interesting comparing the sounds of the two mandolins in your recording.
  16. bbcee
    Thanks gents! A challenging and addictive little tune, for sure.

    You're right about the contrast between the two instruments, John, Don's Heiden just has so much character to it. I'd say mine is more neutral.
  17. gortnamona
    loved that Mike, a real foot tapper
  18. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks Lawrence, had another listen to yours Mike. Love the way it looks like you’ve just grabbed your mandolin and you’re onto it! Great stuff!
  19. John W.
    John W.
    Another great collaborative piece, Don and Bruce
  20. bbcee
    Thanks John, much appreciated.
  21. Frithjof
    Another amazing Don n’ Bruce Project!!!
  22. bbcee
    Too kind by half, Frithjof! Thanks very much.
  23. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Frithjof’s kindness is legendary!
    I must say I really appreciate, and enjoy hearing all of you guys on SAW, it’s always a pleasure to hear such a diverse group of humans playing music!
  24. Frankdolin
    Man! Outstanding! I'm so impressed with this piece. I'm "Frankly" speachless. But that aside, if I ever made an album, I want your producer or who ever is creating this great sound.
  25. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    Thanks to all for your comments, John & John, Simon, Frithjof. Appreciate you giving our tunes a listen.

    Thanks, Frank. You'd probably have to hire both of us. Bruce came up with this arrangement, and we bounce ideas and mixes with different levels around till we're both happy with how it sounds.
  26. bbcee
    ... Or until we can't listen to it anymore!!
  27. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    I know that feeling, Bruce!
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