October 7, 2012

Cluck Old Hen

I'll catch you up to how moving in went in a little while, but here I am in Washington D.C., and I have finally caught up on my sleep after 4 crazy weeks of interviewing, finishing projects at Seafood Watch, going to a conference in Florida, driving cross country, and moving everything in and organizing it mostly by myself.   That means that instead of getting home from work and collapsing, I actually have a bit of energy to explore!   First opportunity to do so, I went to the Glen Echo Contradance.  I saw my friend Gabe there, another Lexington native, who now lives in Baltimore.  The dance was awesome--  ~300 dancers, great live music (Stringway) and caller, and lots of friendly folk.  I'm back East!  One of my favorite contras was a dance choreographed by Cary Ravitz (also a Lexington native), and the music was a medley of Cluck Old Hen and something else.  I got lost in the tune.

Last night I was at a house party with a bluegrass band, the Kingstreet Players, and when I asked if they knew the song, they said, "That's an OLD song."  But they forgot to play it.  I looked it up today in itunes and couldn't find it at first (because I was looking for 'Cuckold Hen')...but I found several versions on youtube.  Here are my faves.  Hope you enjoy.

Check out just the first 30 seconds or so of this one.  The fiddler is rad, and it sets up the tune for you.

Here is Alison Krauss and friends playing their version.  Bonus:  a 12 yr old mandolin player kills it.

In case you want to learn how to play it on your own banjo, I like her simple rendition.  And she even plays it slowly for you.

I hope you like it as much as I do.  It's got the same lilting quality (and chords?) as Shady Grove, one of my first-ever favorite songs.

No comments: