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Banjo Lessons: “Sandy Boys”

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[MUSIC]
Sandy Boys
is currently one of my favorite tunes.
I love playing this thing, especially with
two or three fiddle players and
the guitar.
And just playing for about ten minutes.
It's one of those great old time tunes
that you can just zone out on.
And it's a tune that I first heard played
by the Hammonds family.
Family from West Virginia who recorded
kind of home recordings back in the,
field recordings back in the 70's.
This is a little bit different version.
And this is one I heard and learned from
Russ Barenberg.
We played this this past summer.
This is 2009 as we're speaking here, in
the fall.
And I learned this from Russ at the Elkins
Augusta Heritage
workshop that we did out, did down there
with Casey Driessen and some other folks.
And we played it as part of the teachers
concert, and
I just fell in love with the tune and this
arrangement of it.
And interestingly the first part of it
sounds just like Clinch Mountain Backstep.
By Ralph Stanley, but it pre dates Ralph's
version by probably 100 years or
so, who knows, but
[MUSIC]
Pre dates it so.
Let me play a little bit of Sandy Boys for
you.
This is just repertoire, I'm not teaching
you anything besides the tune itself,
there's no particular technique here but.
[MUSIC]
And that's the whole thing two A's two
B's.
[MUSIC]
so I'm using the ring to the index.
[MUSIC]
On the left hand.
[MUSIC]
And
that's the part that sounds like Lynch
Mountain Back Step.
[MUSIC]
And sliding with the ring.
[MUSIC]
And
since I'm already on the third fret of the
first string with the index.
[SOUND] I'm just sliding up with the
index.
[MUSIC]
Back to the index.
[MUSIC]
Slide.
Slide to the middle, slide to the middle.
And again these are eighth note slides.
[MUSIC]
And
what I'm doing when I'm doing this part of
the melody.
[MUSIC]
I'm emphasizing the upbeat,
this is something that Earl does, in
Cripple Creek and a lot of other places,
this kind of thing.
[MUSIC]
One and two and.
[MUSIC]
And two and one and two and one and
two and one and two and one and two and,
all these pinches coming on the upbeat,
it's part of the syncopation that Earl
added to bluegrass.
So, I'm doing that here.
One and two and, those pinches are coming
on the up-beat.
Just kind of an Earl thing thrown in here.
And then the B part.
[MUSIC]
I'm doing a fast hammer-on here.
That's why the sixteenth notes are there.
So two to three hammer-on as I'm pinching
the first string,
Alternating with the fifth string, pinch,
slide using the thumb and
middle, slide, to a C chord with an open
first string.
Slide, C, pinch again, fast hammer.
[MUSIC]
Slide, slide.
[MUSIC]
So all put together, it's.
[MUSIC]
Sometimes I go-
[MUSIC]
Or instead of hitting this C, I
go up one fret on the first, fourth string
to the third fret of the fourth string.
And then resolve to the C.
[MUSIC]
And once more slowed down.
[MUSIC]
Sandy Boys.
[MUSIC]