Tom, Brad & Alice | Holly Ding

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Alice Gerrard Brad Leftwich Hazel Dickens

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United States - North Carolina

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Country: Old-Timey Folk: Traditional Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Holly Ding

by Tom, Brad & Alice

Tom Sauber, Brad Leftwich & Alice Gerrard are "Three of the most top-of-the-line musicians in old-time music today. Excellent material, stop 'em in their tracks vocals, superlative harmonizing." (Victory Music Review)
Genre: Country: Old-Timey
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Cuckoo
4:26 $0.99
2. Poor Ellen Smith
2:39 $0.99
3. Alone and Forsaken
4:13 $0.99
4. Backstep Cindy
2:18 $0.99
5. Cause I Don't Mean to Cry When You're Gone
2:56 $0.99
6. Love Was the Price
1:38 $0.99
7. Sail Away Ladies
3:05 $0.99
8. Doney
3:35 $0.99
9. Mama's Gone
3:17 $0.99
10. The Christian's "Good-Night"
4:30 $0.99
11. Lonesome Hill
3:33 $0.99
12. Little Old Log Cabin of My Dreams
3:16 $0.99
13. Lone Prairie
4:10 $0.99
14. Catlettsburg
3:03 $0.99
15. Alabama Waltz
3:15 $0.99
16. Moses and the Israelites
2:50 $0.99
17. Little Margaret
3:35 $0.99
18. The Red Hot Breakdown
3:36 $0.99
19. Dear Friends, Farewell
3:25 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Collectively they have been referred to in reviews as "three powerful musicians," "masters of southern traditional music," "triple threat," "sublime combination," "soulful, highly-skilled musicians," and "as well known as the Three Tenors are in the opera world." Individually, Tom Sauber, Brad Leftwich, and Alice Gerrard are each recognized and respected as powerful musicians whose influence has been felt on on a generation of younger musicians, and whose effect on the wider world of traditional music and culture has been far reaching.

"The banjo playing, fiddling, and plaintive, down-to-earth singing will be a pleasure for lovers of old-time music. I certainly find it worth adding to my collection. I'm sure you will, too."
-- Doc Watson

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Track notes:
Except as noted, Tom plays banjo, Brad fiddle, and Alice guitar

1. The Cuckoo (Tom: 3-finger banjo, lead vocal; Alice: clawhammer banjo)
Clarence Ashley played this with his banjo tune to A modal and Doc Watson backed it up using minor chords. We've used two banjos, one clawhammer and one finger-picking; both are tuned to A major, giving the tune more of a bluesy sound.

2. Poor Ellen Smith (Brad: lead vocal)
Peter DeGraff murdered Ellen Smith in Forsyth County, North Carolina, in 1892, was captured in Mount Airy, and was hanged in Winston-Salem two years later. He maintained his innocence throughout the trial, but confessed on the scaffold. The story goes that he wrote the song in jail. The melody traditionally associated with the song is loosely derived from one part of the the hymn "How Firm a Foundation." Brad recently worked up this "retro" version, setting the words back to the original hymn tune.

3. Alone and Forsaken (Brad: lead vocal)
A song from the dark side of Hank Williams.

4. Backstep Cindy (Alice: lead vocal)
Alice and Brad learned this tune from Tommy Jarrell; Tom learned it in California from Round Peak expatriate Eddie Lowe. Although the tune follows a call and response pattern, Tommy never heard anyone sing to it. Our inspiration comes from Thomas Talley's book Negro Folk Rhymes, in which he discusses a play song, "Holly Dink," where a leader would improvise calls and the others would sing "holly dink" as a response.

5. Cause I Don't Mean to Cry When You're Gone (Tom: lead vocal)
Tom learned this song from a recording of the Bailey Brothers and modified the melody to suit his own tastes.

6. Love Was the Price (Alice: vocal)
Alice wrote this song quite a while back during a blue mood. She's never before recorded it as an unaccompanied ballad, and this is her favorite version of it.

7. Sail Away Ladies. (Brad: lead vocal)
Tommy learned this tune when he met fiddler and Civil War veteran Pet McKinney in the road around 1916. Tommy tuned GDAE, but Brad likes to tune the G string down to a low E string drone. Our words come from Thomas Talley's book Negro Folk Rhymes.

8. Doney (Tom: high fiddle, lead vocal)
"Doney" is an old term of endearment. From a 1939 recording of fiddler Charles Long of Clarke Co., Mississippi.

9. Mama's Gone (Tom: lead vocal)
From a recording of Leadbelly.

10. The Christian's "Good-Night" (Tom: finger-style guitar; Alice: lead vocal)
From the Cokesbury Worship Hymnal, 1938.

11. Lonesome Hill (Tom and Brad: fiddles)
From Oklahoma fiddler Max Collins.

12. Little Old Log Cabin of My Dreams (Tom: lead guitar, lead vocal)
In 1968, Tom took a trip to visit Dock Boggs. After their get-together, Dock took Tom to see his friend, singer Kate Peters Sturgill. This number, which Kate wrote, was among the songs she sang for them.

13. Lone Prairie (Alice: vocal)
From Fields and Wade Ward. Alice added the last verse, which she got from Hal Cannon.

14. Catlettsburg
From a recording of the great Ed Haley.

15. Alabama Waltz (Tom: harmony fiddle; Alice: lead vocal)
From Hank Williams; Alice added the second verse

16. Moses and the Israelites (Tom: lead guitar; Brad: banjo, lead vocal)
From a recording of Addie Graham.

17. Little Margaret (Tom: lead vocal)
From Bascom Lunsford and Obray Ramsey. Tom actually adapted a melody that Ron Kane and Tom Carter used for "A Cowboy's Life is a Dreary Life," which is related to Lunsford's tune.

18. The Red Hot Breakdown (Brad: lead vocal)
From Earl Johnson and his Clodhoppers

19. Dear Friends, Farewell (Brad: lead vocal)
Addie Graham is among the sources for this song. Alice found it in the Primitive Baptist Hymn Book, and we combined our favorite verses from both sources.



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