Home | Tablatures | Cartoons | MP3 Audio Files | Semi-FretlessLinks | Tunings | Essays | Fred the Cat | Ed & Don

MP3 Audio Files

Wry Whiskey,1998

I began playing the five string banjo in 1967, and over the more than fifty years, have partnered up with a whole bunch of like-minded musicians who shared my iconoclastic approach to old time music. These recordings are all taken from concerts or practice sessions held in my living room with some of my longer lasting associations. All were pretty much first takes, so they are occasionally rough, but I hope they are entertaining and show a lot of enthusiasm for the music.

The Beaumont String Band

It was my first string band, all friends I had made when I first came to Boston to got to college in 1969. Rose Zac was a fellow student who payed classic banjo, ragtime piano, mandolin and a bit of fiddle. Robert Gear was an established figure in the Boston folk music scene, who played bottleneck blues guitar and lap steel. Mickey Levine was a solid guitar flatpicker who had also just come to Boston; I met both he and Robert at picking parties at the Cambridge music commune known as old Joe Clark's. The three recordings below are from a concert we did in Cambridge in 1975.

Beaumont Rag
Faded Love
Sweet Georgia Brown

Adam Dewey & Crazy Creek

I joined mandoinist Adam Dewey's band Crazy Creek in 1995. It was my one stint in a bluegrass band, and the musicians were stunningly talented. In addition to Adam, Lincoln Myers played guitar, and Bradd Wheeler was on bass. The music was great, but I guess I learned as well that I preferred the laid back spirit of old time more than the intensity and drive of fine bluegrass. I believe the last two recordings are practice tapes, the first is from a radio broadcast.

I'll Write Your Name In the Sand
Red Haired Boy
Crazy Creek

Wry Whiskey

Wry Whiskey was the name we gave to the old timey band that I belonged to for a couple of years back around 1998. Brian Clancey is the guitar picker on the Wry Whiskey tunes; he now plays with fiddler Robin Warren, they perform under name Spirit Fiddle. Tom Speth, playing bass and singing lead on Knoxville Girl, played for many years with Willow Creek, a popular Boston area bluegrass band. The three of us played together for several years. Later, we were joined by Richie Chaisson on the resophonic guitar, and eventually Brian Clancey moved on to play with Spirit Fiddle, and was replaced by the late Gene Kettlehohn. The group eventually broke up when I got too busy to practice. Richie has since joined the Pine Hill Ramblers, a popular Boston area bluegrass band.

Cacklin Hen
Cotton Eyed Joe
Knoxville Girl
Pretty Saro
Fishing Creek
My Creole Belle

Wind That Shakes the Barley
Yellow Rose of Texas

Little Birdie
Long Time Traveling
Rye Cove
Wildwood Flower
Sittin' On Top of the World
Fireball Mail
Rosewood Casket
Bonaparte's Retreat
Liza Jane

Don & Ed Britt

I first met Ed Britt at a picking party not long after he moved to the Boston area from Syracuse in 1980; we were both impressed at how well his clawhammer style fit together with my old-time three finger picking. After Wry Whiskey broke up, sometime around 2000 I ,imvited Ed over to jam in my living room, and thus began an almost two decade musical partnership that produced some of th best music I will ever make. Ed passed away in February, 2021, and I dedicated a separate page on this website as a trinute, with over fifty of our duet recordings. Click here.

Don & Don Couchie

In 2005, I joined the online forum called The Banjo Hangout, and a few years later became one of the regulars in the forums internet chatroom, where I would spend quite a few hours swapping tunes with members from all over the world. One member whose music I enjoyed the most was Don Couchie, from North Bay, Ontario. In the Augist, 2009, I finally got to meet and pick "in the flesh" with Don when he crossed the border and camped next to me on "Geezer Hill"at the Appalachian String Band Festival, in Clifftop, west Virgnina. The first six recordings are from a session at that festvial. The rest are from several sessions at Cliffyop 2012. Don is an extremely talented and versatile picker, who can pick up a new tune far faster (and accurately) than I can. He had only played Last Chance for just a few minutes of warm up before I turned on the recorder. Just plain amazing. Don is playing melodic clawhammer banjo on Barlowe Knife and Cookhouse Joe, and fiddle on the remainder. Bakc up north, when he's not playing old time fiddle and banjo, he leads the band Don Couchie and the Spirit of Bluegrass.

Last Chance
Barlowe Knife
Rose in the Mountain
Sal's Got Mud Between Her Toes
Cookhouse Joe
Dry and Dusty
Sugar in the Gourd
Big Hoedown
Fine Times At Hour House
Coleman's March
Booth Shot Lincoln
Bonaparte's Retreat
Devil Eat the Groundhog
Ebb and Flow
Santa Anna's Retreat
Shove That Pig's Foot
Stepp's Ways of the World

Don & John Maguire

In 2016, when my long time busking partner Ed Britt began to show signs of dementia, I asked a fiddle playing friend of ours, John Maguire, who had recently retired, to join us on the street, in order to help Ed remember the tunes, and generally protect his safety. By July, 2018, Ed was no longer able to busk as a result of his condition, and our outings for the year ended. In 2019, John and I began busking again, moving our operation to the Boston Public Garden. We were pleased with the result, and were lanning on going out again in 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic postponed those plans. We're looking forward to a more rewarding 2021.

Old Mose
Sandy Boys
MacCumber's Ida Red
Cumberland Blues
Cluck Old Hen
Cat Tracks

(c) copyright 2007 - 2021 by Donald J. Borchelt, all rights reserved.