Joel Mabus | Flatpick & Clawhammer

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Folk: Traditional Folk Folk: Appalachian Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Flatpick & Clawhammer

by Joel Mabus

Traditional guitar and banjo music -- from 1991 & 1993, two albums compiled onto one 70 minute CD. Instrumentals & vocals. "Beautifully simple and simply beautiful." -- Guitar Player Magazine
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Rainbow
3:01 $0.99
2. The Friar’s Britches
4:15 $0.99
3. I’m Getting Ready to Go
2:59 $0.99
4. Twinkle, Little Star
3:32 $0.99
5. The Butcher’s Girl
5:03 $0.99
6. Durang’s Hornpipe
3:45 $0.99
7. Blind Mary
6:38 $0.99
8. Somewhere, Somebody’s Waiting for You
4:12 $0.99
9. Rock the Cradle, Joe
2:24 $0.99
10. Briarpicker Brown / Spider Bit the Baby (Medley)
3:13 $0.99
11. Groundhog
2:17 $0.99
12. Stoney Point
2:10 $0.99
13. Soldier’s Joy
3:47 $0.99
14. Marching Through Georgia / Abe’s Retreat (Medley)
3:14 $0.99
15. Pretty Little Pink
2:18 $0.99
16. Kitchen Girl
2:17 $0.99
17. Over the Waterfall / Mississippi Sawyer (Medley)
3:04 $0.99
18. Henhouse Door
2:02 $0.99
19. Old Mother Flanagan / Granny Will Your Dog Bite (Medley)
2:38 $0.99
20. Darlin’ Cory
3:58 $0.99
21. Little Rabbit
3:16 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
First came "Clawhammer" a banjo album recorded in two-mike stereo and released as cassette tape only. Then in 1993, the companion, "Flatpick" -- the same approach to guitar -- was released on tape as well. At the same time, this combined CD was released. The cassettes mentioned in the liner notes are in the dust bin of history, but the CD rolls on!

Mostly instrumental, with some vocals. Mostly American old-time, with some Celtic. Crystal-clear digital recording with warm, state-of-the-art microphones. Remastered in 2001 for new pressing. Enhanced dynamic range and presence, with no sacrifice of digital clarity


" ... a relaxed yet propulsive feel, unfailingly
beautiful tone, and fine, ever-graceful ornamentation.
Beautifully simple and simply beautiful." -- Guitar Player

"What a pleasure ...a wonderful album"
Bubba Hutch in Banjo Newsletter

Notes From The CD, tray card and insert:

Flatpick Guitar and Clawhammer Banjo

What I had in mind was dropping by your house and playing some favorite old time tunes on my guitar and banjo. Maybe sing a few, too. What I did instead was drop by the studio, set up a couple of nice mikes and plugged them into a digital tape deck. My audio engineering pal, Gary Reid, helped me approach my goal – to make a recording that hits the ears just the way my unamplified instruments do. I told Gary that when I put on the headphones, I want this CD to sound to my ears just like it does when I am playing in my living room. I think we came pretty close.

The banjo half [tracks 10-21] was recorded in 1991, the guitar portion [1-9] in 1993. On tape they are available as two separate albums. Together, they make a collection of some of my favorite traditional tunes and songs. Tunes that I’d be proud to drop by and play for you sometime.

All selections Public Domain, Arranged by Joel Mabus
Produced for Fossil Records by Joel Mabus
Engineered by Gary Reid
Artwork by Kathryn Darnell
Remastered by John Stites [2001]

There are always a few mundane particulars that musicians love to discuss. Always a few tidbits of arcane information that guitar players or banjoists need to know. Well, here goes. Pickers, this page is for you.

My guitar was handmade for me by John Colvin. Patterned after a Martin “M”, it’s of koa wood with a top of sitka spruce from a tree named “Cable.” I prefer a flatpick that’s heavy, triangular and very rounded at the corners. The strings are GHS “true mediums” and of phosphor bronze.

My banjo is a custom open-back made by Bart Reiter. It has what Bart calls a “Texas tone ring” (it’s cut from a bronze bearing sleeve off of a Texas oil drill). I use medium GHS strings and have a compensated bridge. I frail with my middle finger, and prefer my banjo un-stuffed behind its 5-star head.

I’ve been playing for more than 30 years now. I started when I was nine, and play by ear mostly. No, I’ve never played rock and roll, but I have been around the block with a lot of varieties of folk, bluegrass, and old-style jazz. These days most folks know me as a singer-songwriter, I guess. But old time music, as represented on this recording, is where I started. And it’s where part of me has always stayed.

So where did these tunes come from? Can I document my sources? Sorry, I’m not an archivist. But I can tell you that most of these tunes I’ve picked up from other musicians along the way, played them a long time myself, and now play them the best way I know how. It’s as simple as that. But there are a few prime sources I must mention. I don’t know who wrote “I’m Getting Ready To Go,” but it came from a Riley Puckett record, as did part of “Hen House Door.” O’Carolan’s “Blind Mary” I learned from harpist Derek Bell, and “Granny, Will Your Dog Bite” comes from the late Nebraska fiddler, Bob Walters. I switched the gender of the old ballad, “The Butcher’s Boy” and made him into “The Butcher’s Girl.” I hope nobody minds. I recorded “Over the Waterfall,” “Blind Mary” and “The Friar’s Britches” once before, years ago for other record companies which have let the fossilized vinyl discs slip into history. I think I play them better now anyway.

The whole shebang was recorded straight to stereo digital tape. No dubbing, no editing, no reverb. I like it best that way. I hope you do too.

Joel Mabus, April 1993



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