[Harp-L] Blackest Crow
Sun Feb 4 12:46:34 EST 2018
Hey Dan, I think you’ll enjoy approaching it this way. One of the things that makes the tune interesting and at the same time makes selecting which harmonica to use a challenge is the fact that the progression starts on the V and ends on the minor VI - the song doesn’t linger much on the tonic chord, so part of the songs beauty arises from this musical tension and lack of resolution.
For the hills of Mexico which I play with Tin + Bone, we do this song in the key of G major to suit the singer, 12-year-old Nora Brown. Roscoe Holcomb does it in the key of F which is quite unusual for an old time musician. Again I like to play this on a C country tuned harmonica in second position putting me in the key of G. It is one squirrelly crooked assed tune with a very irregular form made all the more complicated by the tendency of many singers of the song to hold out phrases until the spirit moves them to sing the next line. There are so many great recorded versions but I am partial to the Roscoe Holcomb rendition.
Nora and I were up visiting with John Cohen who is a founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers and the person who brought Roscoe Holcomb into the mainstream through his remarkable field recordings and documentaries. As we sat in his cottage an hour north of New York City he played us different recordings from his archives and then queued up a version of the hills of Mexico recorded by Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby. Ha! One of the things I love about John is the fact that he is one of the great traditional musicians and yet at the same time is completely open minded and embraces renditions of these wonderful old songs that many contemporary folk musicians would sneer at for being watered down by pop music influences. The “folk process” is alive and well!
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> On Feb 4, 2018, at 12:06 PM, Dan Thomas <danchristhomas50 at xxxxx> wrote:
> Thank you very much. I was thinking I needed to learn the tune in Em. I am working it out in 2nd pos on a C harp as you suggested. Do you play "Hills of Mexico" in 2nd pos. As well? I very much appreciate the time members of this list take helping others
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