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Thread: Blackberry Blossom

  1. #1

    Default Blackberry Blossom

    Poking around trying to find a definitive verion, both recorded and/or written out. Of course there are variations for this and every tune. Just haven't been able to find any one that's consistent. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Dan Scullin dscullin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    There is a nice version on Mandolessons.com with video tutorial as well. The sheet music/tab is downloadable for free:

    https://www.mandolessons.com/lessons...berry-blossom/
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    Thanks. Good one but missing the A7 in the A section. Seems to be the more modern version all the cool kids are playing.

  5. #4
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    I've always considered the version recorded on Tony Rice's Manzanita to be the gold standard by which all others are compared.

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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    For your consideration I'll mention two older versions I've always loved. First up Doc Watson "The Essential Doc Watson" on the old Vanguard VSD 45/46 vinyl recordings 1973. Just Doc and Merle. Straight up guitar pickin version. Next up Mark O'Connor "Markology" on Rounder 0090 vinyl 1978. How about this line up (for this tune): Mark on lead guitar, David Grisman on lead mandolin, Bill Armatneek on bass, and Tony Rice on RHYTHM GUITAR! Yow-ser! Grisman plays on some other cuts and so does Sam Bush.
    Not sure if either of those are available on CD or anywhere out in the digital netherworld.

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    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gnann View Post
    For your consideration I'll mention two older versions I've always loved. First up Doc Watson "The Essential Doc Watson" on the old Vanguard VSD 45/46 vinyl recordings 1973. Just Doc and Merle. Straight up guitar pickin version. Next up Mark O'Connor "Markology" on Rounder 0090 vinyl 1978. How about this line up (for this tune): Mark on lead guitar, David Grisman on lead mandolin, Bill Armatneek on bass, and Tony Rice on RHYTHM GUITAR! Yow-ser! Grisman plays on some other cuts and so does Sam Bush.
    Not sure if either of those are available on CD or anywhere out in the digital netherworld.
    Markology is on Spotify, thanks for the tip, I hadn't heard this one!

    I learned BB from the Sam Bush method Homespun DVD years ago
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  10. #7

    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    I guess there is no real, baseline melody version. Each of the mentioned versions are great and listened to many wonderful versions on youtube. Each one is heavily embellished from the basic melody. I did see a guy that runs through it in every key as an exercise, and that one seemed pretty concise. I can't find it again. Thanks for the input though.

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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    Quote Originally Posted by mmuller View Post
    Thanks. Good one but missing the A7 in the A section. Seems to be the more modern version all the cool kids are playing.
    Yeah the chords on Mandolessons leave something to be desired IMHO.

  12. #9

    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    I've always considered the version recorded on Tony Rice's Manzanita to be the gold standard by which all others are compared.
    Yeah, this is the answer imo. It greatly influenced the way I play the tune. The variations Sam Bush throws in are easily understandable and can be incorporated into other tunes, too. Also really interesting to listen to how he approaches his fiddle break v. the mandolin.

  13. #10

    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    Quote Originally Posted by mmuller View Post
    I guess there is no real, baseline melody version.
    That’s about the size of it. For all we know, the definitive version of BB was played in the parking lot of a festival by a group of folks who never played together until that afternoon, and wasn’t recorded for anyone to hear except the folks standing around listening to them. Then again, j has it right - if there’s a Tony Rice version, that’s probably as close to definitive as any other.
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    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    Derail alert:

    I played around with Blackberry Blossom the other day and started circling the tune from G to A to C to D and back to G, finding intense interest in exploring the fretboard in the same and alternate picking shapes. And that´s going to be my jam session contribution for the next get together with some of my unsuspecting music buddies. Player beware.
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  16. #12
    Ted Heinonen
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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    After learning and listening to a number of versions, I still like the version from Jethro Burns and his Mel Bay book Mandolin Player. You get a hi and low version to work with and the pull-off notes on the hi version are fun.

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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    All I can say is, WOW! I’m a nice novce player and when I get through with it people ask me, “Isn’t that BlackBerry Blossom?” Seriously though this tune is typical of many bluegrass “classics” that have manifested a number of variations, and that doesn’t even count the many newgrass variants. IMHO it is inherent to the genre, especially in regards to fiddle tunes. They are so regimented in their form, i.e. AA/BB format each section with early identical chord progressions and the fact that in some/many cases the B parts to some are completely interchangeable with other songs. All of this urges if not demands that the player inject variations to the tune if only to keep it interesting.
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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    From Vladimir Hron, Prague:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    My guess is most folks would say the Manzanita version is fairly canonical, as is the Tony, Doc, and Norman version from Blake and Rice 2. As far as a somewhat universal, ur-tab/sheet music version, I'd suggest that most are pretty similar. Maybe the precise ending tag in the last bar of both the A and B part are styled a bit differently, or perhaps someone ascends the scale pattern at the start rather than descends (both are "correct" and actually offer you a nice opportunity to vary the tune a little) but the tune is fairly standardized. I've learned versions from Joe K. Walsh at Peghead Nation, Steve Kaufman from the PLP book, the Fiddler's Fakebook version, and one from a Matt Flinner book. There are little differences (Kaufman has the A part on the lower strings, most versions play it on the higher strings, for example), but the melodies are all pretty standardized. Don't get hung up on the idea that one person does the last bar turnaround on the E and A strings and one person has it on the A and D strings, for example, and instead focus on the fact that most versions are really quiet similar melodically. FWIW, my "standard" version that I play is the version Joe K. Walsh teaches at Peghead Nation which is based on the Manzanita version.
    Last edited by Alex Orr; May-17-2022 at 11:56am.

  20. #16
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom


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  22. #17
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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    First and favorite recorded version for me. A written version was probably in the Tottle book I learned from


  23. #18

    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    This is a version of Garfield’s BlackBerry Blossom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR4QsT_ObLg

  24. #19
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    Quote Originally Posted by snakehead_a2z View Post
    This is a version of Garfield’s BlackBerry Blossom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR4QsT_ObLg
    I just heard about this tune from a jam I went to - never even knew it existed!! It's a fun tune that's on my "to learn" list
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    Distressed Model John Ritchhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    I learned BB using an ascending pattern over the descending scale of the melody. In a jam last year, I heard a professional musician use a descending pattern over the descending scale. It's an interesting variation that can be used to change things up and add some interest. I hope my description is understandable.
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  26. #21
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    Definitive? Hmmm, dunno. Anyway, I like this one with Sam Bush, Norman Blake, Dan Crary & Doc Watson.

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    Registered User Mark Seale's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    The definitive version would be going back to Fiddling Arthur Smith or Tommy Jackson's original recordings.

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    Default Re: Blackberry Blossom

    Quote Originally Posted by snakehead_a2z View Post
    This is a version of Garfield’s BlackBerry Blossom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR4QsT_ObLg

    There is also a version of this tune on the Blake/Ostroushko album "Meeting on Southern Soil"
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    Listen to original tune "When You Fly" by my old band The Kindreds

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