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Limberjack question

Related threads:
Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls (38)
Jig Doll Appreciation Group (3) (closed)
Wanted Lumberjack (30)
Help: Looking for a limberjack (5)


alison 10 Jul 99 - 11:40 PM
Paul Jay 11 Jul 99 - 12:05 AM
Night Owl 11 Jul 99 - 12:25 AM
Jeri 11 Jul 99 - 08:30 AM
Margo 11 Jul 99 - 10:21 AM
catspaw49 11 Jul 99 - 11:13 AM
dick greenhaus 11 Jul 99 - 12:24 PM
Night Owl 11 Jul 99 - 12:42 PM
Banjer 11 Jul 99 - 01:25 PM
Margo 11 Jul 99 - 01:30 PM
catspaw49 11 Jul 99 - 02:00 PM
Night Owl 11 Jul 99 - 03:19 PM
Pelrad 11 Jul 99 - 03:42 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 11 Jul 99 - 04:08 PM
Pelrad 11 Jul 99 - 06:29 PM
Margo 11 Jul 99 - 06:46 PM
Margo 11 Jul 99 - 06:50 PM
catspaw49 11 Jul 99 - 07:00 PM
alison 11 Jul 99 - 11:39 PM
Sourdough 12 Jul 99 - 04:28 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 12 Jul 99 - 12:57 PM
Sourdough 12 Jul 99 - 06:07 PM
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Subject: Limberjack question
From: alison
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 11:40 PM

Hi,

Having recently acquired one of these.. with the intention of entertaining my kids or very small kids at bush dances..... is there a particular way to do it?..

do I sit on the board? (well obviously I sit on it.. but it's the direction it should point that is the problem)is it better to have one end sticking out of the back of your thigh? (sort of at 45 degrees under my leg)If so do I hit it in front of my leg... ie where the man is, or behind my leg? Or do I just sit on it with only the front bit sticking out and hit just behind the man?

Clean answers on a postcard to..........

Seriously.. I can get him to dance both ways but which is better? Anyone got any experience?

Slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Paul Jay
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 12:05 AM

Alison I'm certainly no expert on them there lumberjacks, but seein as how I was raised up in the Ozarks I was taught to sit on the board(looks like a really crude , fat, short kyack paddle)with one of the paddle blades under my posterior, faceing 90*or so from the leg, then bang on the middle and hole the dancing doll stick so that it dances on the other end somewhat in time with the music. I think the important thing is to get enough vibration in the board, and hold the stick lightly enough that the little guys arms and legs really whorl around. The kids really like it and so do I. It goes espically well with someone playing the Mouthbow.


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Night Owl
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 12:25 AM

Hi, alison. Trying desperately to keep it "clean" but not on a postcard...I think playing Limberjacks is mostly by trial and error, and depends on the thickness and kind of wood used for the dance floor. Also the weight balance of the "doll" itself. I assume there's as many different ways of playing as there are players. I play by only putting enough of the platform under my leg to hold it. I think the more of the platform under you, the more you lose its bounce. I hold the doll just a bit above the platform, so the platform's vibrations come up to meet the feet. Once in a while, I can get one of them to swing its arms full circle in opposite directions. (No idea how or why!) It's a great percussion instrument...just be sure to remove the bellybutton cover carefully! HAVE FUN.


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Jeri
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 08:30 AM

I've seen a Mudcatter play one as accompaniment to his two-handed instrument. He sat on the board and crossed his legs, putting the end of the man-onna-stick between the crossed legs, positioned over the board and bouncing his bottom leg up and down in time with the music. If you ask me, this requires way too much coordination from ordinary humans.


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Margo
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 10:21 AM

Alison, I must say that I read your post with a great deal of curiosity. I've never heard of a lumberjack being anything but a guy who cuts down trees. Obviously I am ignorant. Could you fill me in? What is the history of it? Where did it start?

Margarita


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 11:13 AM

The LIMBERJACK (not LUMBER) is a little dancin' guy on a stick who dances on a board. Margarita, it is understandable that you have never heard of them as this ain't a big deal...but damn, when I was a kid I loved 'em to death. And a lot of musicians use them as a rhythm and part of the act. I know they're stupid, but they can be a lot of fun too. Want to see one in action...sorta'? Go ahead and check out the Dancin' Dude---Hope this works!

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 12:24 PM

For about twelve bucks or so ((as I recall) you can get one from Folk-Legacy (Sandy Paton)


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Night Owl
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 12:42 PM

Catspaw...."wicked cooool"!!


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Banjer
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 01:25 PM

Purely in the interest of saving space the two threads could be combined. I mean of course this one and the 'phlatulence' one. Seems if you get a thin enough board, and the right frequency of flatus, with but little practice you could make the little feller dance till his hinge pins broke!


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Margo
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 01:30 PM

Catspaw, that's neat! I want one! Alison, where do you get one?

Margarita


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 02:00 PM

Like Dick said, I think Sandy and Caroline can fix you up. They're also available at Elderly under Misc. items-limbertoys--as cats,bears, dinosaurs, etc. Down in the mountains you can find a lot of neat homemade ones too. I can check at a couple places in August if you want.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Night Owl
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 03:19 PM

Banjer...let us know if you're successful!! Could lead to exciting possibilities ie. an instrument that can be played regardless of tendonitis, arthritis etc, and you could join the other banjo players.....far away, out in a field!!


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Pelrad
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 03:42 PM

My baby brother used to play the Limberjack, he learned from Jeff Warner. He would put only about 1-2 inches of the board under his thigh as close to the knee as possible, at about a 45-degree angle, drape his opposite arm over his leg to tap the board (so he was hitting the board behind the little man), and hold the little man's stick in his same hand.

Don't know how articulate that sounded; I mean if he sat with his right leg on the board, draped his left hand over to hit the board, and held the little man's stick with his right hand. :-) Since my brother learned from Jeff, I can safely assume that this is the way Jeff's Apalachian sources played it. (Jeff is a stickler for detail)


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 04:08 PM

Sandy is away, or he would regale us with his expertise on the matter. Limberjacks can be a lot of fun, and Sandy and Caroline hooked my school kids on them last fall. I've seen the simplest little guy cut all kinds of capers, simply by the way you hold the stick (I'm trying to keep this clean!!!). He can dance upside down, do a split, moonwalk, and so on- to the delight of kids - even my fourth graders weren't too cool to want a turn! I think the simpler the better, because the real magic about them is the rhythm created by their dancing feet- reminiscent of bones or well-played spoons (is there such a thing?)
Allison


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Pelrad
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 06:29 PM

Whoops, in my reply above I meant a 90-degree angle. 45 doesn't allow the board enough elasticity.


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Margo
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 06:46 PM

A dancing bear would be great. At song circle last night, a guy sang a song called "Dancing with Bears". It was so cute. The bear limberjack would be perfect to go with that song. Thanks Catspaw, I will check with Sandy and Elderly.......

Margarita


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Margo
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 06:50 PM

Sorry, it's "Waltzing with Bears"


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 07:00 PM

At least it's not being eaten by bears!

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: alison
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 11:39 PM

Hi,

I got mine from "song of the Sea" there was a link here at some stage for it... I like the idea of a dancing dinosaur though... thanks for the suggestions.

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Sourdough
Date: 12 Jul 99 - 04:28 AM

I am very fond of my limberjack. I take him with me on my motorcycle trips, strapped to my dulcimer. He's crossed North America like this a dozen times and maybe a dozen dozen times I taken him out to first intrigue children and then to teach them how to make him dance. I can't think of any child (and damned few adults) who weren't charmed by the little dancing man.

For many years, I had to work out of town on Christmases. One year, I was working in Chicago. I always hire a local assistant and as you might expect, the quality varied greatly from one year to another. This particular year, my asistant, Laurie, was terrific. We had been working together for about a month or so and CHristmas was only a day or two away when she invited me and my wife, who had flown in to spend the holiday with me, to spend Christmas Day with her, her father and her mother, at their home in a Chicago suburb. We were delighted because neither of us relished the idea of spending another Christmas Day watching television in a hotel room.

Laurie's parents' home was a lovely large and gracious home in one of the more expensive Chicago suburbs but it was comfortable and they all certainly made an effort, a very successful one, to make us feel at home on this holiday.

During dinner, the name, Mr. Wood, came up several times. He apparently was an older man who was a friend of the family's going back for many years. Laurie happily showed me this year's present from Mr. Wood, a pad of lined composition paper with her name printed in large red block letters at the top of each page. It was a pleasant gift and Laurie clearly enjoyed the thoughtfulness that it conveyed. Mr. Wood sounded like such a nice man that when the family announced that it was time to make their annual Christmas visit to Mr. Wood, I was looking forward to meeting him.

As we pulled up in front of his house, I knew my image of the man had been somewhat oversimplified. First of all, the house looked something like my high school, complete with Georgian pillars, but it was somewhat larger. The front door opened into a two story atrium. On the floor of the atrium was a tribe of larger than life-size antique cigar store indians carved from rich dark woods. The two story walls were covered in antique canvas, an 18th century mural from a French chateau, showing the discovery of tobacco in the New World and its introduction into Europe.

We were invited inside there, on the walls of the large living room, were paintings that I recognized - only these were the real ones. I had seen the reproductions in art books and print shops but these were the originals. I took Laurie aside and asked her to tell me a little more about Mr. Wood. One of the things she told me was that he was CEO of Sears and Company which is headquartered in Chicago. Well, that explained some things.

Mr. and Mrs. Wood were very informal and most hospitable. They soon had us in discussion about what we were doing in Chicago and from there we jumped about from one subjec to another as people who have just met often do when they feel immediate warmth from a stranger.

I did start to worry that perhaps my wife was getting a bit too relaxed when I realized that she was in a deep conversation with Mrs. Wood about Mobley, her pet mouse. Mobley, and couple of his litter mates, lived in our bathtub where she had made a pleasant home for them. These were not ordinary mice. They even had pedigrees! You have no idea unless you have had the experience, of just what is involved in being a true Mouse Fancier. The only problem was that each morning their "home" had to be cleaned out so that I could take a shower. Mice in the bathtub, even ones with pedigrees, didn't seem like a very promising topic in this mansion with Roualts and Degas on the wall. I reacted by trying to ignore the mouse conversation and renewed my converational efforts with Mr. Wood. That's how I discovered that he was a devotee of old time music.

Meanwhile, my wife and Mrs. Wood left the living room and were headed up the big staircase. Later I found out that Mrs. Wood was taking her to one of the second floor bathrooms so she could show off her collection of pedigree mice housed, of all places, in her bathtub!

While the two women were trading mouse-raising hints, I was talking with Mr. Wood who was telling me about his collection of old time recordings and had begun playing me one, a recording of The Wreck of Train #97. It's bouncy rythmn made me think of my limberjack and I asked Mr. Wood if he was familiar with the little dancing man. He was not but he was intrigued. "Where did you get it?", he wanted to know.

I remembered how I had found the limberjack. I had seen an ad for it in Yankee Magazine. I told him it was a mail order item. "Do we carry it?", he wanted to know.

I had bought, over the years, several Autoharps from Sears but nary a limberjack. I had to tell him that it was a mail order item but it was from someone else's catalog.

"Can you let me know the address? I would like to send away for one."

Now, how could I pass up a chance like this? I told him that I would send away for a new limberjack and that I would mail it to him. There was no way that I was going to let an opportunity go by where I could fill a mail order request for the head of Sears with all of its catalog sales.

A few weeks later, I packed a new limberjack up and sent him off to his new home outside Chicago. Ever since then, my old limberjack has had only one name, Mr. Wood.


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 12 Jul 99 - 12:57 PM

That is a wonderful story!!!


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Subject: RE: Limberjack question
From: Sourdough
Date: 12 Jul 99 - 06:07 PM

Animaterra -

Cyberspace is funny. You write something and you have no idea whether or not someone reads it unless you hear from them. In a way, it is like singing all alone in an empty room with the hope that through technology you somehow or other are reaching people you don't know, can't see, or even judge their reaction. TThanks for the note.

Sourdough


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