Sunday, August 16, 2009

“Little Red Rooster”

Hi again, folks—I’m back. By the way—off topic, but has anyone else noticed that Google Reader is taking forever to pick up post feeds lately? However that may be, here’s a bit more “anniversary” banjo—you can actually see yours truly singing & playing this morning via the magic of webcam & YouTube. I’m having a little problem with the mic in the Logitech webcam “clipping” (just another word for distorting, in essence), but decided to post this anyway. I’ll keep fooling around with the mic settings & see if I can get some better audio.

When I hear myself sing, I’m often reminded of Jonathon Richman’s immortal words: “They’d rather watch TV than hear a real person sing”—not so much the TV part, but the “real person sing.” In fact, you may indeed be tempted to watch TV—as a vocalist, I think I’m a pretty fair guitar player (or banjoist); some folks like the way I sing, but it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

The song “Little Red Rooster” was written by Willie Dixon, & first recorded by Howling Wolf; as such it comes from the electric tradition of Chicago blues, so my 5-string banjo version is probably a bit odd. I first learned “Little Red Rooster” on the guitar, but as I thought about playing “blues banjo,” it was one of the first songs I adapted—I knew it very well, & I play it in G (the banjoist peoples’ key)!

What you see (& hear) is what you get. Hope you enjoy it!


  1. John, that was terrific! It was so cool to hear your speaking voice - and so NOT what I had anticipated. I loved the piece, my head was bobbing and my shoulders rockin' right along with the twang of the banjo. Thanks for sharing that with us.

    Re: Google Reader
    When I post a new post I clear my cache on the blog by going to "Tools", "Clear Private Data", then I wait a few minutes, go into Google Reader, open my own blog feed and refresh it. It usually works pretty quickly (sometimes there are delays, but if you keep repeating the process, eventually it kicks in.)

    Happy Anniversary again, by the way!


  2. Hi Kat:

    Thanks--glad you liked it. Your tip works, too!

    Thanks again.

  3. That's a fine way to celebrate your blog anniversary John. I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed the playing - and the singing.

  4. Thanks, Alan! Glad you liked it.

  5. John! Thanks for this Sunday afternoon entertainment! I, too, was surprised by the bass sound of your voice. (I don't know why I expected tenor, but I did!) What a bluesy sound. Loved it!

    Now, for you and Eberle togther?
    Happy Anniversary!

  6. Hi Karen: I'm a bass trapped in a tenor's body. Glad you liked it!

  7. First time here..and your performance made me a little nostalgic...

    I grew up with musical people coming in and out of the house, as my parents were involved in theatre.

    Livingroom jam sessions were the norm. My favorite was a friend who played "If I only had a brain.." from the Wizard of Oz on the banjo...

    Thank you, John, for bringing me back.

    And thanks for stopping by my blog..I have a poem entitled "Hey Bobby Frost" in my July archives..check it out sometime.

    Peace -Rene

  8. Hi Rene:

    Glad you liked it--those sure sound like fond memories. "If I Only Had a Brain" accompanied with banjo: cool.

    Love the title "Hey Bobby Frost"--will have to check that out!

  9. How cool! Thank you, John. I love "Little Red Rooster".

    And a very Happy Bloggiversary to you.
    Sending virtual balloons and cake your way.

  10. Hi Sandra:

    Wow, thanks for virtual ballooms & cake--glad you liked the song--may post more of this stuff as I work out the webcam kinks.

    Thanks again!

  11. I forgot to answer your question. Yes, I have noticed a problem with Google Reader. I only recently started trying to use it, so I thought it was always that slow, and I gave up on it.

  12. Well, I must say I'd rather hear you play and sing than watch TV, John.

  13. Hi Sandra & Willow:

    Sandra: I always use Google Reader--Kat's suggestion seemed to get my posts to finally show up, tho why this was the case is mysterious. Anyway, it usually doesn't act like it has the past few days.

    Willow: Thanks for that! & Jonathon Richman would thank you, too.

  14. Hey John that's great. looking forward to more songs: singing, guitar and banjo! Great to see and hear you "live"... :-)

  15. That was a treat John. Thanks


  16. This was terrific, John! I really enjoyed this, such a treat for us to both see and hear you perform. Thank you so much.

  17. Hi Linda, Randy & Jacqueline:

    Glad you folks enjoyed this! & thanks everyone for such positive & supportive responses!

  18. My hubby has been pushing the Direct TV cancelation...and I think keying into you blog my make it do-able. Enjoyed Little Red Rooster.

  19. Hey Heather:

    Well, I've been working on more of these. The mic really seems to hate the banjo, tho; it does better with the guitar.


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