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St Patrick Was a Cajun, L.E. McCullough

26 Aug 02 - 12:27 PM (#771770)
Subject: St Patrick Was a Cajun, L.E. McCullough
From: Jeri

I have to admit I bought the book last spring based solely on the titles of the tunes. If you saw "A Snake is a Chiropractor's Dream," "How Much Do Those Weigh?" "Hoosiers in Heat," "My Guardian Angel is a Space Cadet," and "Up to your Neck in Newts," would you put the book down? At worst, I'd have a bunch of bad tunes with funny names.

I got it home and messed with some of the tunes. They were great tunes! They were a bit difficult on fiddle and I wasn't in the sort of mood to learn new tunes. So I put the book aside for a time I DID want to learn.

Here I was last weekend, bored out of my skull. I've been playing guitar, but not making a whole lot of progress. I sat here and thought - geez, I should pick the thing up and practice. I picked it up. I tried to think of something new to do and saw the book. I went straight to a tune I'd marked "Birds Sleep Safer on Bellerock Street Tonight." It's a 3-part hornpipe but doesn't sound bad when you play it slowly - according to the notes, it started life as an air. The tune gets its hooks into me - big time! From Sat morning to now, something strange happens. I pick up speed playing it, my fingers get to places that were nearly impossible when I started, and I DREAM about the tune. Ever happen to you? I'm addicted to the damned thing and I have to go play it again in about 5 minutes or I'll go mad. I did force myself to try a few other tunes and also have "Humors of Sarajevo" marked to learn.

I don't know if this is a book review, a discussion of motivation in learning, or a search for a tune addiction support group. The book is good, the tunes are good. I look forward to playing one in a session and just waiting for someone to ask me the name - and folks WILL ask!


26 Aug 02 - 01:21 PM (#771797)
Subject: RE: St Patrick Was a Cajun, L.E. McCullough
From: GUEST,sorefingers

Hi Jeri - this place is becomming a habit just now since A. I always did love Muddie and B. I am on a short week. My reason for butting in is that I am a secret fiddler/whistle blower - though mind you I am far better on the singing biro than the cat scarer.

Adding that I for a long time thought Julia Clifford must have had several helpers to play a tune I now know to be the 'Scartaglen Reel' may help you to comprehend just how far away from sucessfully completing any tune I am and considering my age - way over the hill - may never happen, but still. Trying to play the fiddler's secret licks which they refuse to tell me about - humm maybe I am imagining that - caused me for a long while to think the downbows are on B 3 an 7.

Bored with thumping out old folksongs I discovered a misplaced tune sheet with mentioned tune. Amazing thing for me is that when I set about playing it as instructed by all the books I read for the last 20 years - it actualy worked. So not only did I get a new tune off, I can do it end to end without stopping and without getting confused about where to change bowdirections.

Which all goes to show if you try hard enough for long enough then sooner or later one will suceed. As to the invention of tunes and putting strange names on them, I have no idea - just happy I can still blast out a few bars of Lucky in Love.

BTW If you can and have the chance - I seem not to be able to get a copy - do get hold of Junior Crehan's - deceased was both fiddler and whistler - original tunes , perhaps thats where Mr Mc Culloch found so much inspiration.