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Skiffle

Roger the skiffler 22 Dec 99 - 11:04 AM
Paul S 22 Dec 99 - 11:38 AM
Rick Fielding 22 Dec 99 - 12:15 PM
Doctor John 22 Dec 99 - 01:19 PM
GutBucketeer 22 Dec 99 - 02:07 PM
Gary T 22 Dec 99 - 02:45 PM
Mbo 22 Dec 99 - 03:44 PM
poet 22 Dec 99 - 07:10 PM
Doctor John 23 Dec 99 - 05:29 PM
Roger the skiffler 05 Jan 00 - 06:25 AM
Harry Lewman 05 Jan 00 - 09:04 AM
BanjoRay 05 Jan 00 - 10:59 AM
Roger the (yes you guessed it) 05 Jan 00 - 11:18 AM
Roger the skiffler 05 Jan 00 - 11:30 AM
Roger the skiffler 12 Jan 00 - 10:30 AM
Roger the skiffler 12 Jan 00 - 11:01 AM
reggie miles 12 Jan 00 - 03:13 PM
Doctor John 12 Jan 00 - 03:41 PM
bigJ 12 Jan 00 - 06:40 PM
Delta Dawn 29 Jul 00 - 08:16 AM
kendall 29 Jul 00 - 08:25 AM
Delta Dawn 29 Jul 00 - 08:41 AM
Mr Happy 23 Apr 07 - 09:48 AM
GUEST 23 Apr 07 - 10:00 AM
The Villan 23 Apr 07 - 10:06 AM
Pilgrim 23 Aug 07 - 06:32 AM
Ernest 23 Aug 07 - 07:18 AM
Pilgrim 23 Aug 07 - 07:58 AM
Big Jim from Jackson 23 Aug 07 - 09:41 AM
Pilgrim 23 Aug 07 - 10:24 AM
Ernest 23 Aug 07 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,Pilgrim at work 24 Aug 07 - 04:51 AM
Roger the Skiffler 25 Aug 07 - 05:00 AM
The Sandman 26 Aug 07 - 04:05 AM
Pilgrim 28 Aug 07 - 03:08 AM
Roger the Skiffler 28 Aug 07 - 11:49 AM
dj bass 28 Aug 07 - 12:06 PM
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Subject: Skiffle
From: Roger the skiffler
Date: 22 Dec 99 - 11:04 AM

Someone asked "what is skiffle" & I gave a short reply: this is more authoritative!:

UK Skiffle click here
RtS


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Paul S
Date: 22 Dec 99 - 11:38 AM

Good answer, Roger. Thanks.

Paul.


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Dec 99 - 12:15 PM

Great stuff! Thanks Roger.
Rick


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Doctor John
Date: 22 Dec 99 - 01:19 PM

Interesting stuff, RtS, but I've never seen the word used in the USA for the type of bands described which are usually called just "Jug Bands" - Gus Cannon, Memphis JB etc - which played what we came to know as skiffle music. Johnny Dodds recorded with several "Washboard Bands" and the way his brother , Jimmy Bertrand and others played that "instrument" (well, more of an instrument to me than all this electronic stuff in my view) was amazing. Do you know of any early US skiffle bands as such or when the word was first used.? I was at the Cavern in Liverpool when Lonnie Donegan started his Skiffle Club there. Two earlier jazzmen - Mick Groves and Tony Davies helped get things going. They eventually moved to Sampson and Barlows in Liverpool and became the Spinners. There was a guitar maker there - Stan Francis, I think - who made a 12 string guitar for Pete Seeger. Dr John


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 22 Dec 99 - 02:07 PM

As a long time washtub bass player, I sort of know what Skiffle is, and the style of music that was typically played by Skiffle Bands. However, I have never figured out what a Tea Chest is that is described as a washtub bass replacement in your link. What is it? How big is it? Are they still readily available in the U.K.

JAB


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Gary T
Date: 22 Dec 99 - 02:45 PM

JAB, the tea chest bass was described in a recent thread, if I can find it I'll let you know. It was probably the thread that Roger referred to in his opening post here (where he gave a brief definition of skiffle). Also, if you click on the link in Roger's post here, the text describes the teachest bass and how it's played. In a nutshell, it's a washtub bass using a wooden box instead of a metal tub.


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Mbo
Date: 22 Dec 99 - 03:44 PM

Wasn't Mungo Jerrie a skiffle band? Or where they ersatz skiffle?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: poet
Date: 22 Dec 99 - 07:10 PM

A tea chest is is exactly what it says it is.
A ply wood box metal edged with foil lining used for transporting loose tea leaves in bulk. A sound all of its own.

Graham (Guernsey)


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Doctor John
Date: 23 Dec 99 - 05:29 PM

... a favourite of removal firms; smell nice. Dr John


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Roger the skiffler
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 06:25 AM

Re: tea chests ( compulsive posting warning):
The reason they're unknown in the US is that after that little fracas in Boston Harbor we Brits withheld them in a fit of pique, so you had to make do with washtubs which we believed you wouldn't need*, except to make gin in. (We keep the coal in ours).
*According to Cletus, that is.
RtS


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Harry Lewman
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 09:04 AM

I have a Real Audio file posted on my web site of an explanation of Skiffle as provided by George Harrison in a radio interview. It is followed by the most popular skiffle recording: "Rock Island Line", as performed by Lonnie Donegan. http://www.hlmusic.com/rockisland.htm

This audio clip helps tie Lead Belly into the firm position as one of the major influences of Skiffle. My site is set up as a support and value added portion to the new Lead Belly songbook, published by TRO/Folkways Music Publishers, Inc. NY,NY. I did all the musical trasncriptions and have RealAudio files of the MIDI files which are the basis for the printed music. www.hlmusic.com


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: BanjoRay
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 10:59 AM

This is interesting stuff. I loved skiffle back in the fifties, and listened to Lonnie Donegan, the Vipers, Chas McDevitt and Nancy Whisky etc. Since getting into Apallachian Old Time music, I've realised where a lot of the songs came from -"Don't You Rock Me Daddy Oh" was Uncle Dave Macon's "Sail Away Ladies". Donegan used to do "Cumberland Gap" and "John Henry" as well as other old time tunes. His other main influence seemed to be Leadbelly. Cheers Ray


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Roger the (yes you guessed it)
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 11:18 AM

BTW: Ken Colyer's brother Bill is usually credited with introducing the term to the UK, based, I believe on a 1929 recording called Hometown Skiffle. I've forgotten the name of the band, I don't think it was Red McKenzie, but it was probably that sort of kazoo/jug band.
RtS


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Roger the skiffler
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 11:30 AM

Dr John asks about the use of the term "skiffle" in the US. I'd assumed that it had died out "over there" unlike the term "Jug band", but the link I gave has reference to a Washington Sunshine Skiffle Band which performs regularly at the FSGW Getaway that many US 'catters attended last year. I've now probably exhausted (you'll be pleased to know) my limited knowledge of the subject!
RtS


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Roger the skiffler
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 10:30 AM

Sorry to refresh this (NOT!), but this thread brought a few more fans out of the closet.
There seems to be a revival in the offing, in the UK, after veteran UK DJ John Peel included Lonnie D in his 60th birthday concerts and Jools Holland featured Lonnie on his New Year Hootenanny on tv. Van Morrison guested on the latter and on Lonnie's last CD and now there are reviews in the mainstream press of Van's latest CD to be issued later this month:Skiffle sessions live in Belfast (Virgin records) on which Lonnie and Chris Barber guest. Reviews quote Paul McCartney on the Quarryman starting out as a Lonnie-influenced skiffle group and Van M also starting as a schoolboy skiffler before joining a showband.
Now where did I put those thimbles...?
"Bring a little water,Sylvie"
RtS


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Roger the skiffler
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 11:01 AM

Following from my last posting: this from the BBC's web page:
By the BBC's Nigel Packer

It's amazing what can be achieved with a battered acoustic guitar and an old washboard.

Back in the mists of time some of rock's greatest musicians - from Lennon and McCartney to Van Morrison himself - cut their teeth playing in skiffle bands.

Now Van has teamed up with the man who helped set the musical revolution in motion - Lonnie Donegan - and veteran jazzman Chris Barber for this back-to-basics live album.

Recorded in Morrison's home city of Belfast, it's a relaxed and intimate affair which catches the notoriously moody singer in an unusually cheerful mood - we even get to hear him laugh.

Lonnie's affable persona and nasal twang provide the perfect complement to Van's gruff bellow, while Barber and his largely acoustic band bring some delicate twists and turns to the 12-bar blues format.

From the moment he takes to the stage during the second song Lost John, it's clear that Morrison is relishing the prospect of a return to his musical roots.

The much-loved Celtic mysticism is put firmly on hold as he reverts to a collection of blues standards - swapping alternate verses with Donegan and occasionally taking a step back to puff contentedly on his harmonica or pick at his guitar.

Faster tracks like Don't You Rock Me Daddio are rattled out at freight-train speed, while Morrison brings all his trademark intensity to bear on slow-burning songs like Alabamy Bound.

Donegan's performance at last year's Glastonbury Festival helped rekindle interest in the history of skiffle, and a such a fine album can only help build on that success.

It proves that however far music has progressed in the past half century, the songs which set the ball rolling have lost none of their magic.

And if you're wondering why the washboard didn't retain its place among the essential instruments for any self-respecting young band, look no further than the invention of the washing machine.

Otherwise it could all have been so different...


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: reggie miles
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 03:13 PM

Well Roger, Whew! I knew if I just persisted long enough that someday washboard playing would come back into fashion. All these years of scrubbin' my fingers to the bone have finally paid off. Now I just wonder how many limbs will accidentally be hacked off while playing my musical saw before it comes back into vogue? Lucky for me, most of them have grown back.

Scrubbin' on th' darn ol' thang, Reggie


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Doctor John
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 03:41 PM

Before Lonnie Donegan brought Rock Island Line to the UK there were very few folk music USA recordings available here. It was illegal to import USA records so there was nothing by Woody, Cisco, Pete Seeger etc and just a few sides by Lead Belly issued by fairly obscure jazz labels. I think L. D. heard and developed this music when on national service in Germany. Many pop musicians started as skifflers but more importantly so did Martin Carthy and others. Bert Lloyd, Ewan McColl and the rest existed without skiffle but without it they would probably have remaining in quaint obscurity. Then Melodisc started to release Woody and Lead Belly LP's when skiffle was at its height and when it had faded the ban was lifted and in came the Folkways recordings. And so did Jack Elliot, Pete Seeger, Cisco Houston, Sonny & Brownie to show us how it should be done; I think Jack Elliot was the most important influence here so without him and Lonnie Donegan folkmusic UK would have had a very different story. That's a brief history as I remember it. Dr John


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: bigJ
Date: 12 Jan 00 - 06:40 PM

In the current (1999) edition of Folk Music Journal (EFDSS) there are reviews of two books : - 'Skiffle: The Definitive Inside Story' by Chas McDevitt, and 'The Skiffle Craze' by Mike Dewe. Both appear to be well-received.


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Delta Dawn
Date: 29 Jul 00 - 08:16 AM

I never heard it called skiffle before, is that just like washboard playing? I've been playing a washboard for about 8 years now and its kinda hard. At first I would play along like a guitar player, but that was wrong. You have to keep the rythm for everybody and put your own licks in as well. I play a old brass washboard which has autographes from some of my favorite blues players. Across the front its signed by KOKO TAYLOR. I usually use a brush and my hands. When I was little I seen someone play a electric washboard and it blew my mind I was in tears and chills. When I grew up I tried playing other things but the washboard was the only thing I could figure out. My favorite people to practice are Elmore James, Miss. Fred McDowell, Sonny Boy Williamson and more.Please tell me anything that might help or things you found out along the way.


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: kendall
Date: 29 Jul 00 - 08:25 AM

you sound much too young to remember the Hoosier Hotshots. Hezzy played the washboard.


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Delta Dawn
Date: 29 Jul 00 - 08:41 AM

Your right Iam only 29 but I love the old Delta Blues. I have a album by Washboard Sam and a CD with Mississippi Jook Band, Memphis Jug Band, Charlie Burse and his Memphis Mudcats, Georgia Cotton Pickers, Buddy Moss, and Big Joe and his Washboard Band. I was raised on the blues, my father has a M14 brass Dobro plus to many others to list and he plays the Delta Blues too. He just modified himself a washboard that has a back on it that gives of more bass.


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Mr Happy
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 09:48 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhroUSYRg2E


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 10:00 AM

I sometimes play a bit of skiffle at the folk club in Irvine and the marina


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: The Villan
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 10:06 AM

This band called JET skiffle & Blues from Lincolnshire UK, use a tea chest bass

http://jetskiffleandblues.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/

Have a look at the photo's and for those who do not know what a tea chest bass is, then have a look at some of the photo's. The person in the middle plays the TCB


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Pilgrim
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 06:32 AM

Talking of tea chest basses, after seeing one at Saddleworth, I have just built one from a tea chest my dad had in his cellar. Well almost built one, and therein lies the question. I have the thing varnished, ferrule on the end of my broom handle to stop it slipping, the full monty. However when I put my string on it, the string reverberated for too long, not the sharp bum bum bum noise that I was after. I tried some two strand electrical wire and that was better but the stuffstretched literally every time it was plucked, until it broke in a very short space of time. Does anyone know the accepted type of cord, string used in these things? I'm really at a loss as to how to proceed from here.

Thanks in advance

Pilgrim


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Ernest
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 07:18 AM

A climbers rope works for the one I got (which is a bush bass biult by Peter Dymond-Ramplin from Townsville, North Queensland).

Regards
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Pilgrim
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 07:58 AM

Cheers Ernest, I thought I may well need to go thicker. Has it got a special core in climbers rope?
Kind regards
Pilgrim


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 09:41 AM

Some of you might want to do a search on Tub-O-tone. It is a very special washtub base invented by a guy in the Kansas City area. It is tunable. A friend of mine got the plans and built one. The thing sounds pretty good! A special brand of tub is required, along with considerable construction. It has a distinctive sound.


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Pilgrim
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 10:24 AM

Interesting site BJfJ, but no clue as to what string is used on it!!!
I've just seen a van similar to mine with a six foot CB aerial, and it got me thinking, you know, I'll bet it's possible to play the van.... Too much sugar at dinner time probably.
Pilgrim


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Ernest
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 01:26 PM

Unfortunately nothing I can identify, Pilgrim - but I remember the one Peter used a few years ago on his tour over here had the kind of nylon rope that is used on military knives (we didn`t find that when he built the one I have now).

Best
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: GUEST,Pilgrim at work
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 04:51 AM

Thanks Ernest. I think nylon will be a good way forward.

Enjoy your bank holiday weekend. It looks like being a warm one.

Pilgrim


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 05:00 AM

I don't suppose, pilgrim, that you are related to the wahboard player John Pilgrim who was such a stawart of the UK 1950's skiffle scene?

As we've said, the name "skiffle" originated in the US but was more widely adopted in UK while US used "Jug Band" or "Spasm Band". BUT Smithsonian Folkways FA 2610 was called American Skiffle Bands, originally issued on vinyl in 1957 (and now available on demand on CD from 2007) featured Mobile Strugglers,Cannon's Jug Stompers and Memphis Jug Band. They've a good idea of putting the "sleeve notes" as a pdf file on the CD to save postage on a bulky booklet- you can read it or print it if you want.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 04:05 AM

was John Pilgrim not the washboard player in the Vipers,I was surprised he wasnt mentioned in the recent wash board thread.


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Pilgrim
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 03:08 AM

No relative of mine, Roger. From your member name, I'd have thought you had a good idea of what to string a tea chest bass with. Do you?

Pilgrim


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 11:49 AM

John Pilgrim was in the Vipers and (I think) other bands. Although the washboard still appears these days, most bass players seem to use bass guitars. As I remember, amateurs would just use clothes line (wasn't plastic in those days). I think serious washtub, teachest players may have used real double bass strings (heaviest).

RtS


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Subject: RE: Skiffle
From: dj bass
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 12:06 PM

Danny Thompson used piano wire - thick end. Apparently he used to buy coils of it.

dj


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