UP IN THE BATTEN HOUSE

 

                       

 

© 2011 SNAPPIN' BUG RECORDS

Selections from the Samuel Bayard Collections performed by:

Mark Tamsula ~ Fiddle, Guitar 

Richard Withers ~ Banjo, Flute, Accordion & Harmonica

 

CDs available for purchase through

Elderly Instruments

 

 

~ABOUT THE RECORDING~

TRACKS

  1   Black-Eyed Susie
  2   The Lost Indian
  3   Running Through The Rain To 
           Keep Your Hair Dry
  4   Scotch Hornpipe / Snappin’ Bug / Pine Top
  5   The Carrolltown Breakdown
  6   Short’nin’ Bread / Chicken-Foot And
           Sparrow-Grass
  7   Betty Martin / All The Gals Is Gone Away
  8   Up In The Batten House
  9   The Girl I Left Behind Me / Sailing Down The
           River On The O-Hi-O
10   Old Dance Tune
11   The Horse Called Rover
12   Right Foot, Left Foot
13   Oho, Oho, I’ve Found You Out / Hunnell’s
           Double Drag
14   Cotillion
15   The Corn-Huskers
16   The Cuckoo’s Nest
17   Neil Gow’s Rant
18   Hogs In The Cornfield / Hang On
19   Dick’s Handspike
20   Daddy Killed The Brown Bull
21   Who Hit Nellie With The Stovepipe?
22   Down On The Big Sandy / Dance Tune

 

 

    

    Between 1928 and 1963, Samuel Bayard and his collaborators traveled throughout southwestern Pennsylvania collecting and transcribing nearly 1000 traditional folk tunes. The intent was to "show something of what the older Pennsylvania tradition really consisted of" - "pre-radio, pre-tape, pre-TV" (Bayard, 1982, p. 2). Their sources were largely country dance fiddlers, but also fifers, who carried on a once widespread but now relatively obscure tradition of American marching music. Most of the tunes we play on this recording are taken from the Bayard collection, and all are traditional tunes played in Pennsylvania until recent times.

    Though raised in rural Pennsylvania, Mark and I grew up unaware of this rich musical heritage and as aspiring traditional musicians we turned to the better known tunes and instrumental styles of southern Appalachia. We met up in Pittsburgh and played together for some time before we came across the Bayard collection and other regional musical sources. Gradually we've added Pennsylvania tunes more and more to what we play. While we treasure the southern old-time tradition, we've found great satisfaction in the discovery of this music from home.

    Sadly, Bayard's sources are long gone and their once flourishing tunes have been largely forgotten or absorbed into the better known blends that make up traditional music as we know it now. We didn't get to learn directly from Pennsylvania's last great generation of traditional players - Sarah Armstrong, Tink Queer, the legendary Dunbar fiddlers and their contemporaries. We hope to pay them homage with this recording, though, and bring some of their music back into circulation.

    Bayard's collection reflects the musical heritage of the first Europeans to inhabit Pennsylvania, predominately the Scots-Irish, Irish, English and Germans, and includes several distinct musical styles. We haven't tried to represent these styles equally, but play the tunes we found ourselves drawn to, probably leaning toward Appalachian rhythms and tonalities.

    We also haven't tried to imitate closely any of the old players' instrumental styles. (Archival recordings are available for musicians interested in that project). Instead we play here in the style we've learned and developed over the years, figuring it's better to do what we know than to imitate something out of context. However, we have tried to keep arrangements true to the instrumentation, rhythm and feel of the tunes we selected. We feature fiddle and banjo on most of the tunes, a common enough pairing in the region even if never dominant in the old days. Mark adopts some of the choppy bowing of the old Pennsylvania fiddlers in places. With the banjo there's less to go on; Bayard mentions banjos, but to my knowledge there's no identified regional banjo style to follow. Otherwise we stick to instruments recognized in Pennsylvania tradition, such as guitar, accordion and harmonica. I use wooden flutes as a substitute for the fife on the few tunes we include from the fifing tradition.

    Hopefully we capture the spirit of the tradition in this recording, adapting our playing to the tunes, rather than the other way around.

Richard Withers and Mark Tamsula
Pittsburgh PA, 2011

 

 

Fiddle, guitar:  Mark Tamsula 

Banjo, flutes, harmonica and single-row accordion:  Richard Withers 

Recorded at Richard's home in Forest Hills, PA. 

Mixing and editing by Mark Tamsula. 

Layout: Mark Tamsula

Cover art: Kathy Borland

CD Replication by Oasis Disc Manufacturing:  http://www.oasiscd.com

All tunes arranged and produced by Mark Tamsula and Richard Withers.

© 2011 SNAPPIN' BUG RECORDS

 

 

 

~THE MUSICIANS~

Mark Tamsula has been performing and teaching in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region for over 30 years. He plays and teaches fiddle, banjo, guitar and mandolin, drawing from an ever expanding repertoire of tunes and songs. In addition to performing and recording the music of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Mark also performs with the bands Lackawanna Longnecks (old time) and Grand Bon Rien (Cajun).    www.appalachianmusic.net

 

Richard Withers has performed and recorded Old-time music on the banjo and Irish music on the flute, whistle and other instruments over the past three decades. In addition to performing and recording the music of Southwestern Pennsylvania, he can be heard playing clawhammer banjo on recordings with the old-time string band Lackawanna Longnecks and Irish-style flute with Hooley, a Pittsburgh-based traditional Irish group.   www.hooley.info

 

 

~QUOTES~

 

"The Snowy Hill is my new standard for traditional music albums. It looks backward and forward with perfect clarity: the old tunes are performed enthusiastically, with freedom, and the new tunes are artfully crafted, worthy of inclusion in the canon. Richard's playing is gorgeous, and his arrangements are thoughtful and dynamic. I especially appreciated the moments in the album when the tunes were played long. Many players state the tune, repeat, then move on, but Richard plays with a rare faith in the music, that these tunes are more than novel, 16-bar compositions, and they deserve to be considered on a deeper level. 

 As someone who only recently fell in love with the traditional music of Southwestern Pennsylvania, I'm grateful to know it's in such good hands. Richard and Co. are doing the brave and discerning work of not only preserving a tradition, but tending it so it can grow and flourish.”

- Cameron DeWhitt, podcaster,

“Get Up in the Cool: Old Time Music with Cameron DeWhitt and Friends” - www.camerondewhitt.com

 

Well, Sam, when they was all a-blowin’ their innards out, and the drums backin’ ‘em up, it wouldn’t have made that much difference.”

– Marion Yoders, Greene County fifer

 

"Mark and Richard have once again drunk deep from the great Southwest Pennsylvania fiddle-tune collection of Sam Bayard. No reproduction or imitation here – pure oldtime Pennsylvania, freshly brought to life again by Mark and Richard."

Alan Jabbour, folklorist and musician

 

"Mark and Richard draw from the deep well of traditional fiddle and fife music in the longstanding Pennsylvania tradition.  The tunes flow forth not as artifacts but as living pieces of contemporary art.  They pulse with an immediacy that is infused with respect, moving the listener with their immortality."

Bob Buckingham of Fiddler Magazine

 

"Anyone who has been around the hill at Clifftop for the last decade has heard the beautiful and rare tunes that Mark has rescued from the hills of Pennsylvania. Now he and Richard bring us a marvelous cd that does for that region what Bruce Greene has done for Kentucky and Gary Harrison for Illinois."     

Philip F. Gura, author of
*America's Instrument: The Banjo in America*

 

"Nice tracks there! Always a treat to hear the old tunes and songs not just preserved, but alive and lively,... present[ed] with a clear regional focus."

Dan Gellert

 

"Samuel Bayard was the most prominent scholar of traditional Pennsylvania music. It is wonderful to know that this tradition still lives through the playing of Mark Tamsula and Richard Withers. Bayard would have been proud!" 

Carl Rahkonen, Ph.D., Ethnomusicologist, Indiana, PA.

 

"Dr. Sam Bayard collected the old tunes from the hollers and the hills …. Mark and Dick have brought them off of the flat page and back into our ears and straight to our tapping feet. You can hear the mountains in these tunes." 

Dave Krysty, Fiddler and Folklorist, 
Pittsburgh, PA.

 

"Mark and Richard have created an appealing aural anthology that revivifies the spirit of early Pennsylvania fiddlers and fifers, bringing Sam Bayard's collections to life in 3-D: dance, discovery, and delight." 

Deane Root, Professor of Music;
Director, Center for American Music;
University of Pittsburgh

 

"It is extremely doubtful if any other living man could have produced such a piece of research. Bayard's expertise in the field of general folklore, as well as fiddle and fife tunes could hardly be matched."

George Swetnam, Pittsburgh 1983

 

"Nothing that Sam Bayard has written has ever been refuted."

Kenneth Goldstein, head of the University of 
Pennsylvania's Folklore and Folklife department

 

 

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