Two New Tunes!

I recently found a couple gems on the old reel-to-reel tapes.

The first one is a version of "Rollin' in My Sweet Baby's Arms," which is one of my favorite bluegrass tunes. My grandfather isn't on vocals this time, but the song features the banjo quite a bit. You can hear the lead vocalist yell out "5 String!" when he wants my grandpa to step up to the mic and play a solo on the banjo.

My Dad has told me that the main other two guys in the group were
Chet Stubbs and Danny Stubbs, a father/son combo on flattop guitar and fiddle. He also said Everett Whitmore was in the group as well. I'm not sure what he played. Perhaps bass.

The second song is an instrumental version of "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," better known as the theme to the TV show "The Beverly Hillbillies." It features the banjo pretty heavily and the mandolin as well.

I believe it's my grandfather introducing the song as "A little bit of 'The Ballad of Jed Clampett' in the key of G." It sounds like his voice anyhow. I'm guessing he liked this one because of it's feature of the banjo and for the fact that it was a Flatt & Scruggs song.

You can enjoy the songs on the player to your right! The other recording is still there as well.



First Reel-to-Reel Digitization!

I have begun the process of converting some analog reel-to-reel recordings my grandfather made with his bluegrass combo.

My grandfather Wendell, who passed away a few years ago, had given me a Sony TC-530 reel-to-reel machine quite a few years back, but I had no idea what to do with it. It didn't work up to snuff for recording purposes, but there was a stack of his tapes that came along with it.

I have no ideas when the recordings were made (I imagine late 70's) but they were made at my grandfather's house in Marshalltown, Iowa. I'm just in the stages of researching, but I believe it was a three piece combo consisting of my grandfather on banjo and occasional vocals, and two other gentlemen on guitar and fiddle.

Sorry, my grandfather can't hear you over the sound of how awesome he is....

I posted the first recording I digitized on the player to your right, "The Girl I Left in Sunny Tennessee." I chose this particular recording because it features my grandfather on vocals, which is rare as he usually just played banjo without singing.

I have no idea whether this is a "good" version of the song according to them. There aren't really any notes on the tapes about which take is which or whether it's a good one. I haven't even listened to all the tapes, so there could be a much better version of the song on a different tape.

I just wanted to start somewhere, so I started there.

So listen and enjoy!

p.s. Nerdy info = I sent the audio out from the reel-to-reel into my Tascam FW-1804 through the line input, then used the Tascam to convert it to digital as it has a Firewire output. I captured the audio in Garageband on my G4 MDD PowerMac. I then had to send the .aiff of the recording to Audacity to speed up the recording. Based on the fact that the song is traditionally done in the key of G, I sped the audio up 17%, bringing the guitar and banjo into G. Then I reimported in Garageband, doubled up the track, panned them for mock-stereo, and did some equalization to eliminate some hiss. Then I sent it to iTunes as an .aiff, and converted it there to .mp3 for the web. Whew!