Week #107 ~ Bonaparte's Retreat

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  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is Bonaparte's Retreat. This is another tune I'm not familiar with.

    Thesession.org has this listed as a reel.

    Here is the abc from thesession.org

    X: 1
    T: Bonaparte's Retreat
    M: 4/4
    L: 1/8
    R: reel
    K: Dmaj
    F2 F/E/F/G/ | AF ED | E2 E/D/E/F/ | GF ED |
    F2 F/E/F/G/ | AF ED | EF/G/ FE | D4- | D4 :|
    d2 f>e | d/e/d/B/ AB/c/ | d>B AF | ED F>E | D4- | D4 :|
    F2 F/E/F/G/ | AF ED | E2 E/D/E/F/ | GF ED |
    F2 F/E/F/G/ | AF ED | EF/G/ FE | D4- | D4 :|
    d2 f>e | d/e/d/B/ AB/c/ | d>B AF |[M:1/4] ED |
    B4- | B4 | d2 f>e | d/e/d/B/ AB/c/ | d>B AF | ED F>E | D4- | D4 :|

    Here is a link to a different abc

    Here is a link to a different abc

    Here is a link to a site that has a couple of versions of the tune
  2. Susanne
    Cool! Something to play with!
  3. Marcelyn
    I'm quick on the draw this week, but I used to play this one a lot on fiddle, so it was fairly easy to transfer to mandolin. It's one of my favorites. Barbara, I think you'll like it. It has Texas written all over it. Played on my teens A3.

  4. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Mighty fine, Marcelyn!
  5. Grommet
    Another example of your excellent Old Time style!

  6. Susanne
    Fantastic, as all of your stuff, Marcelyn!!!
  7. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Marcelyn, that was authentic as ever, Old Time as it should be, brilliant....

    Here is my effort with some dodgy Power Director 8 effects....

  8. Susanne
    I think that sounds great too, Tosh! You have a nice sound in that mandolin.
  9. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Tosh & Marcelyn, those were both great! Marcelyn, you make those slides look so easy and sound so great! Maybe I can get into this tune.... I'll have to try... just trying to learn it from the dots didn't do much for me! But ya'll both made it come to life!
  10. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Marcelyn... do you have notation for your version (or close to it?) And, I've got a request! Next video.... more light! I think I could learn more from your videos if I could see what your hands are doing! (But, that IS a lovely wallhanging you've got there!!!)

    OK, Marcelyn, from your version, I'm getting the 'parts', but I just can't visualize the structure of the tune! How many parts, how many measures per part, how many repeats.... I'm almost there (but nowhere near yours!)
  11. Marcelyn
    Thanks everyone, and really fun slides in your version Tosh. They're great to hear on that resonant mandolin.

    Barbara, I think the parts usually go A, B, C, B, and then you can start over with A to do it again. It makes more since if you hear the sung version, and I nominate either of the Micheals to tackle that project. If they're not up for it, I really like Hot Club of Cowton's version. I don't have notation, but I'll look around for something similar.

    Here's lyrics to help visualize the parts:
    A Part
    Met the girl I love in a town way down in Dixey.
    Beneath the stars above, she was the sweetest girl you ever did see.
    B Part
    So, I held her in my arms and told her of her many charms.
    I kissed her while the fiddles played the Bonapart's Retreat.
    C Part
    All the world was bright as I held her on that night.
    And I heard her say, "Please, don't you go away."
    B Part
    So, I held her in my arms and told her of her many charms.
    I kissed her while the fiddles played the Bonapart's Retreat.
  12. pickloser
    Well, it's a bit messy, but probably as good as it's gonna get today. I enjoyed Marcelyn's and Tosh's versions!
  13. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I think I'm getting it... still working on it.

    So, I searched You Tube for Bonaparte's Retreat, and I gotta say, I fell in love with this one!!!

  14. Marcelyn
    Really pretty, Laura. I think your messy might be close to my Sunday best. I especially liked the chords in the C part. I'll have to figure those out.
  15. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Good and varied versions here, folks. Loved the slides and that Texas feel, Marcelyn, and Tosh and Laura's versions were equally well played. Must have a go at this one and get a Celtic flavour into it - or not!
  16. Susanne
    Sounds like an interesting idea, John!
  17. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Well, here's one that's got Celtic flavor!

    Seems to me that this is a tune that had it's origins in Scotland (perhaps?), or England, but the tune also became an Old Time tune? This one seems to just have 2 basic parts, doesn't it?

    The abc's that I found for tunes by this name, seemed wildly varied, as well!
  18. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Hey David.... it's so 'moody' that I can't even hear you!
  19. jordandvm
    Me either!

  20. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Here's my favorite version of this song. It was recorded in 1937. A famous American composer "borrowed" much of this note for note. It has also been used on a few commercials recently, but it's still Bonaparte's Retreat!!!

  21. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Great stuff, Marcy. It will take me years to get closer to your signature sound.

    Laura, great performance as well.

    Tosh, solid and clean as always, with nice slides thrown in.

    David, great mood, but no sound. Maybe it got lost on its way from WA to Bavaria
  22. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Some great versions all round, here. I decided to have a go on my newly-finished bouzouki (just completed about a week ago and my first bouzouki) and added in my octave for the accompaniment and alternated some octave melody too. Tried to get away from the Texas feel - I know it's an American tune, but just wanted to put a bit more Scottish/Irish feel into it.

  23. Jim Baker
    Jim Baker
    Nice sound John. Tuned GDAE?
  24. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Great stuff everyone!
  25. Tavy
    Guy's there's some really great playing on all these versions, and lot's of different styles too!

    For me, Aly Bain's version is the definitive one - I got the CD of that TV series (the ever excellent Transatlantic Sessions - new series with Aly, Jerry Douglas and featuring Alison Krauss coming soon) years ago, and learned it from there when I started playing.

    Here's a slightly tentative version I recorded for this group way back, must try and do an updated version now that it's an official tune of the week!!

  26. pickloser
    Congratulations on the new bouzouki, John K. Did you make it? I sounds great and I liked your perky Retreat.

    Very nice drone effect, Tavy; what an interesting instrument. The Aly Bain version was a revelation to me. I had always considered BR something of a novelty tune, although I had suspected that the line "while the fiddle played the Bonaparte's Retreat" referred to a fiddle tune with a different melody.

    (repeat, repeat, "I do not want a bouzouki or a waldzither...I do not want a bouzouki or a waldzither....")
  27. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks Jim and Laura. I did indeed build the bouzouki as a change from my mandolins and octaves and it is tuned in GDAE, Jim, with unison strings rather than octaves on the lower 2 courses. Scale length is 620 mm.
    Tavy, great balanced sound from that waldzither and congratulations for getting so far up the dusty end of the fretboard!
    Laura, there's a lonely bouzouki or waldzither out there just waiting for you to come along and give it a good home.
  28. BlueMt.
    Nice versions, everyone; it's always interesting to see the different ways people approach these tunes. Here's mine on the Forster tuned DGDAD. I'm not sure if I'll ever get used to the stretch on this beast. Eric

  29. Marcelyn
    I'm really liking these celtic versions and never even knew the lyrics were talking about dancing to a real song called Bonapart's Retreat. It kind of makes me wonder what the real Tennessee Waltz sounds like.

    John, the zouk is fabulous! That has such a deep sustain. You've got to be proud of that one.

    Eric, I'd say it sounds like you're pretty comfortable with that scale length. That booming bass is gorgeous.
  30. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Some cracking instruments on display John, Tavy, Eric! Great sounds and great versions. David, will look forward to a version with sound when you're back from you're travels, hope you are having a great time.
    Barbara and Michael, thanks for those clips, really great to see old footage and performances like that, it gives an insight into the history of tunes...........
  31. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Great sound from the Forster, Eric. The stretch is interesting and I find the same with the bouzouki - much more like guitar scale and brings the pinkie into play a lot more. Moving from mandolin (375mm) to octave (540mm) to the zouk (620mm) involves a bit of rethinking finger placements and even picking, but it keeps the brain active. Just listening to all the different interpretations here gives so much food for thought and reinforces the notion that there is no "correct" way to play a tune, just differences in taste and interpretation.
  32. Ten_or_Fifths
    So I committed this one to memory, which is a first for me in this group.
    Unfortunately, it was the Fiddler's Fakebook version, which is much more appropriate for....well....fiddle. I played Rodeo on violin in back in high school, so I figured "how hard can those 16th notes be? Oh well.

  33. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Like the sound of that tenor. Interesting time changes you build in to your version too.
  34. Ten_or_Fifths
    Thanks John,

    I didn't practice with a metronome until this morning and I realized my 16th notes were too slow (I think...it feels like the B part is more than twice as fast as the A part, but I think it's about right give or take a beat). I think the fiddler's fakebook B part is a simplified version of the William H. Stepp recording that Michael posted earlier. A fiddle can play all those 16ths with either a single bow stroke or a sort of circular motion that's pretty natural once you get the hang of it - on the guitar as far as I can tell you just have to play fast. Next time I'll leave half the notes off the guitar part and use a fiddle for the fiddle part.

    If anyone else has that version handy, I'd be interesting in hearing another take on it. The book recommends retuning the G up to D (or you might be able to just plant your pinky, the rest of the fingering's pretty simple on a fiddle). Then you can play drone notes all over the place. They call the technique the "Georgia Shuffle".
  35. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    I still haven't figured out what's wrong with my other video, every time I upload it there's no sound. Maybe I'll save that one for when "The Sounds of Silence" is the song of the week. Here's a new recording this time on the Sobell.

    I always thought that the tune William H. Stepp played was called "Bonaparte's March" but apparently not. I searched around a bit and found this tune which is called "Bonaparte's March" which eerily reminds me of an Irish tune that I can't quite put a name to. So if anyone knows what Irish tune Bonaparte's March sounds like I would be thrilled to know.

  36. Kay Kirkpatrick
    Kay Kirkpatrick
    All you guys have outdone yourselves, but David, THAT'S the way I want to be able to play it! Smooth and melodic with perfect ornamentations. Fantastic!
  37. Ten_or_Fifths
    The more I look around on youtube, I can't find any place that has a dramatic time change. Either I read it wrong, there's a misprint, or more likely they meant to imply that the B part sounds great when played fast. I practiced that way, but then second guessed myself when I turned the metronome on.

    The Fiddler's Fakebook version probably sounds a little closer to this if played correctly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hv3LSK-Ev4

    It also sounds nice fingerstyle guitar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th_jCemhmMg.
  38. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    ALL of the versions here are really great. Thought I'd combine several different variations of this tune and see what resulted. It's played on a Guild 12 string guitar tuned, dD aA dD DD AA DD and also on a National resophonic mandolin in regular tuning. This version tries to tell a little story of Napoleon's march to battle, the battle and then the retreat afterwards...

  39. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Great performance here, Michael! Liked the ornamentations on the mandolin part.
  40. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    David, your second offering here, "Bonaparte's March", the one you are seeking the name for, is very close to the song "The Hot Asphalt" sung by (I think) The Dubliners, and based on the tune "Bonaparte Crossing The Rhine". And no doubt many more answers will appear offering other possibilities!
  41. pickloser
    Marvelously moody, Michael. I enjoyed that. I'm impressed with both your playing and your recording abilities.
    David, your Sobell has a wonderful tone, and you played those very well.
    I eagerly look forward to hearing more.
  42. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    David & Michael both of your posts were worth waiting for, excellent versions and great playing.
    David I don't know of an alternate name for the March but that was great.
    Tens or Fifths, well done for tackling the FF version. I left that alone after I saw the alternate tunings! The Tenor Guitar sounds great......
  43. Mike O'Connell
    Mike O'Connell
    I have enjoyed (and learned from) all of the above postings form Marcelynís signature style to Michaelís superb offering. I also enjoyed Johnís new bouzouki and Tavyís waldzither. David did have me going with his first post. I thought is sounded pretty good until I read Manfredís comment. So, I put my hearing aides back in, then I finally understood.

  44. GKWilson
    Great posts by everyone. Love those Zouk's n Zithers. John I think you built another good one.
    David are you still in the Northwest. If so, where are you playing Fri., Sat. or Sun.
    The right answer could be worth a pint to ya.
  45. Loretta Callahan
    Loretta Callahan
    Wow, just wow. What great versions. Nice to hear the guitar versions; reminds me why I love to listen to guitar music. Michael, that Guild is gorgeous and your playing gave me moose bumps!
  46. Bernd Bannach
    Bernd Bannach
    Great posts all of you, its a pleasure to hear you. Can't post this week, time is running and a lot of work not done. David your second post, we play this one with the band and it is "Bonaparte Crossing The Rhine " in a slightly different version than we play it.
  47. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Michael, I stand in awe of your musicianship.

    And lots of other great performances, too.
  48. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin
    So many great versions! The final phrase of the first section seems to have been borrowed from Camptown Races.
    Here's my belated effort.
  49. Tavy
    Wow guys, there's some really amazing versions coming out here!

    Particularly loved Eric's Forster, Michael's multi-instrumental version, and David's ornamentation.

    Keep up the great work guys!
  50. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Here's mine. I'm listening to the mp3 of the YouTube video of Aly Bain doing this tune. I'm playing my Petersen octave mandolin.

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