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Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 05/15/2020:  15:25:19

To me, this song has become a fiddler's version of Apostle Paul's "Thorn in the Flesh." Aside from making scraping train noises and hokum, it's nothing but rosin and air salad.

Backstory: I really like playing (with my friends) blues numbers at an uptempo, like "Doin My Time", "Folsom Prison Blues" and "Muleskinners Blues"; problem is, Orange Blossom Special is actually a blues song, but as a fiddler I'll never be allowed to improvise a solo on it that way for an audience because everybody expects the stereotypical stuff. I suppose there's sour grapes too b/c I'm not at the expected proficiency level on it--cause I really just don't care to practice it.

So...anybody ever played/arranged it for an audience in a contrarian way? Slow, or 3/4 time, or 12-bar blues? If so, what was your concept and how was it received?

farmerjones - Posted - 05/15/2020:  17:27:03

I stole my angle from the late great Tony Ludiker. The E part. I just start taking off on songs with the same tempo, in E. You said Fulsom Prison Blues. That's traditionally an E tune. Yes, i'll take off on the solo part to see who comes with. Just anything. Tony did it for so long you forgot about OBS, Then suddenly do the walk down to the shuffle. Shuffle for the last time, and put a tag on it.

ChickenMan - Posted - 05/15/2020:  18:13:50

There are plenty of good blues tunes out there, why bother with OBS, the "Free Bird" of fiddling?

boxbow - Posted - 05/17/2020:  08:10:51

"...nothing but rosin and air salad..."

Speaking as one who does not play the tune, I hesitate to make broad declarations concerning it's nature and the moral character of its proponents. That being said...

Wish I'd said that.

snakefinger - Posted - 05/17/2020:  08:47:09

I’m with the ChickenMan. If you don’t like it why play it?

farmerjones - Posted - 05/17/2020:  10:05:27

Okay, everbody is entitled to their opinion, it's all good. But, i've said it before, there are some good technique lessons in that tune. Pretty much every time i play in A, or E.

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 05/17/2020:  12:40:40


Originally posted by snakefinger

I’m with the ChickenMan. If you don’t like it why play it?

It's not that I don't like it.  I like all those 20s-30s blues songs.  Especially like to 'grass them up.  I just don't like how everyone's come to view that you didn't play OBS unless you have all the arm-flappin.  I don't think other musicians care for it much.

I like farmer's idea--when you get to the hokum bow part, shift over and play the Folsom Prison solo, then come back to OBS--that would really keep em whiplashed!

snakefinger - Posted - 05/17/2020:  22:38:30

Sounds just crazy enough to work!

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