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Author Topic:  Steel Guitar Rag ..... The Original
Billy Tonnesen


From:
R.I.P., Buena Park, California
Post  Posted 8 May 2009 2:11 pm    
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Similiar Tunes:.
The Great Speckeled Bird.
Honkey Tonk Angel
I'm Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes

Once a Song becomes Public Domain can anyone use
the tune and put new words to it without paying royalties to original composers ?
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post  Posted 8 May 2009 3:37 pm    
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Quote:
Once a Song becomes Public Domain can anyone use
the tune and put new words to it without paying royalties to original composers ?


I believe so. Elvis had three hit records that were derived from old folk or classical songs:

It's Now Or Never = O Solo Mio
Love Me Tender = Aura Lee
Can't Help Falling In Love = Plaisir d’Amour

Guitar Rag was recorded in 1923 on Okeh records. In the 1930s Leon "wrote" the same song and called it Steel Guitar Rag and copyrighted it. Anyway, I doubt that would happen today.
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Eddie Cunningham


From:
Massachusetts, USA
Post  Posted 8 May 2009 3:47 pm     More S G R !!
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In 1945 I learned the S G R from an old Bluebird 78 rpm record # B-7691-A of " New Steel Guitar Rag " by " Bill Boyd and his Cowboy Ramblers " with banjo and piano backing up the steel probably recorded in the late 30s or early 40s. It didn't give any names of who wrote the song and I don't know who the actual player was but he did an unusual chorus on the bass strings !! Was different and a strange sound I have never heard done since !!! I have the Sylvester Weaver S G R on C D = " YAZOO " # 2056 , " Slidin' On The Frets " , all Hawaiian Steel , all Acoustic steel guitar from the 20s and 30s . Some real unusual sounding solos !! Eddie "C"
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post  Posted 8 May 2009 4:43 pm    
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Eddie:

Here ya go, with Lefty Perkins on steel. Does this sound familiar? It's noticeably different from Leon, but was done just months later, in 1937.

Bill Boyd - New Steel Guitar Rag


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Ray Montee


From:
Portland, Oregon (deceased)
Post  Posted 8 May 2009 6:44 pm     Personally, here's what I think........................
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We've heard the extremes; now, how about hearing 'a current event', right out of Nashville?

It's my understanding that CHRIS SCRUGGS does as fine a version of non-pedal "Steel Guitar Rag" as anyone in the country.

How 'bout Chris stepping up to the plate and showing us how it's really done? Come on Chris!
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Eddie Cunningham


From:
Massachusetts, USA
Post  Posted 8 May 2009 7:07 pm     Thanks , MITCH !!! = WOW !!!!
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Mitch , Thanks for playing my old original learning S G R !!! Doesn't that "Lefty" do a job on those bass runs !!! No one else ever tried that song on the bass strings !!! I wonder why ??? Still is and was a great version !!! So now there are at least two of that recording in existence !! Personally I like Leftys version better than Leons but Sylvester Weavers wuz still the first !!! Thanks again !!! Eddie "C"
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Billy Tonnesen


From:
R.I.P., Buena Park, California
Post  Posted 8 May 2009 9:24 pm    
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Mitch:.
Sometime in the early WW2 years any kind of a Country record was hard to buy. I bought a Bill Boyd record, for a dollar, called "Birmingham Rose" which I beleive was on the Blue Bird label. I had an old table top Victor wind up record player amd about wore the record out. "Steel Guitar Stomp" might have been on the B-side !
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post  Posted 8 May 2009 9:44 pm    
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Billy:

I think the actual title was "My Birmingham Rose", with "Tumbleweed Trail" on the flip side.

Look here:

http://tinyurl.com/qqzc77

The only tune I can trace called "Steel Guitar Stomp" is by Hank Penny. It is actually a steel/standard guitar duet by Noel Boggs and Merle Travis.
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Joel Johnston


From:
Mead, Washington, USA
Post  Posted 8 May 2009 10:00 pm     You are right, Ray Montee, Chris Scruggs plays it very well
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I just came back from Nashville yesterday and caught Chris Scruggs backing Carolyn Martin as one of the "Western Swingers." During their first break we talked about you and about Jerry Byrd. Chris got back up and played the JB version of SGR almost to the note with all three distinct verse/chorus variations that JB used. Chris is a walking encyclopedia of country music history and a phenomenal talent at 26 years old. He is definitely a throwback to a previous generation and carries a great respect for those who came before him. Nashville could use more guys like Chris to keep traditional country and western swing music fresh and alive. Smile
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post  Posted 8 May 2009 10:05 pm    
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Anyone remember "Steel Guitar Wipeout"? recorded by Bob White, 1970s. It was a combination of Steel Guitar Rag and Wipeout! ....an odd mix that tends to grate on your nerves! Winking
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Vernon Hester


From:
Cayce,SC USA, R.I.P.
Post  Posted 8 May 2009 10:26 pm     Steel Guitar Rag
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Very interesting post, I started playing "Steel Guitar Rag" Back in the 30's (8-9yrs old) on a Acoustic Guitar.Here's a version from a 1954 TV show
where Adkins and I used part of Byrd,Spade,Speedy's arrangement for the tune.We started various version's in 1950.I am using my Rickenbacker,Adkins a Gibson,both thru a 51 Fender Deluxe amp.
Listen to Adkins take off!! outstanding!!.
Vernon Hester
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWTBC-MR-sQ


Last edited by Vernon Hester on 9 May 2009 10:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bill Hankey


From:
Pittsfield, MA, USA
Post  Posted 9 May 2009 2:49 am    
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The "The Steel Guitar Rag" is in the category of "Remington Ride" and a few other instrumentals that can be played at various uptempo speeds. There is a 3rd part in the more recent recorded versions that I once listened to. I'm not hearing it in these "early bird" recordings that have been presented by Doug B. and others, who have sought to allow for credits, where credits are due. There are players in the U.S.A. who specialize playing the 3rd part with excessive emphasis, as if to say, this part belongs in the song. The possibilities of dressing up the melody are limitless, and IMO, are way overdue. It is in reality as played in earlier times, much too basic. Students should progress quickly after learning "safe" melody, to bar bouncing, pull-offs, and become more assertive with the venturesome "Remington Ride". This melodic cruise will be found to be more difficult than "The Steel Guitar Rag". Instead of bar bouncing, a substitute "roll" is a good variation of Herb's original arrangement. BTW, has anyone considered Herb's mastery of straight steel and pedal steel in this discussion? He's turned more than one head while playing shows at various locations, while using the incredible bar slants that separates him from the users of more common artistic bar placements. The Steel Guitar Rag is totally recognizable. That third part could involve dancing on the (A) pedal and raising the 1st string which would be done with the quickness of a member of the feline group pouncing on its prey. I chanced playing the 3rd part in Schenectady, N.Y. some time ago. I can't remember the details of going and returning. I do remember how the audience responded when I went into the "3rd" part of the instrumental. They went from total silence to loud approval, as much to say, we were waiting to hear that part of the song. For beginners, the "Steel Guitar Rag" is probably the least difficult of hundreds of other melodies that could be listed. Others contain that "hook" which would give an added enticement to those who are sensitive to melodic changes.
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Paul Norman


From:
Washington, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 9 May 2009 3:03 pm    
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In the early 1950's WCKY Cincinnatti radio station
played The Steel Guitar Rag for their theme song.
I THINK that it was Joaquin Murphey playing with Spade Cooley's band at that time. It was a regular played song in that day.
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Joe Naylor


From:
Avondale, Arizona, USA
Post  Posted 11 May 2009 12:42 pm    
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All that is great but I got to play Steel Guitar Rag and Panhandle Rag in about 1956 at a "Guitar Contest" in Tulsa, OK ----- and Leon was the judge.

At 8 years old I won my division - I do not remember but I think My Division was me.

fond memories ----- it was on my birthday and I got a New Double Neck Rickenbacker that weighed 8 more pounds than I did.
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Eddie Cunningham


From:
Massachusetts, USA
Post  Posted 11 May 2009 1:28 pm     " STEEL GUITAR STOMP" from SGR ??
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There were a couple mentions of the old steel guitar tune "Steel Guitar Stomp" , I have it by "Hank Penny" on an old "King" label 78 rpm # 528A backed with "I'm counting the days " featuring Boggs , both songs written by a "Martin" ?? .. Great steel song , sounds like the 3rd part of S G R played up and down the frets !! Strong steel work featuring Noel Boggs on steel with Merle Travis on guitar and it doesn't get much better than that !! I wish I could put it on the Forum for all to enjoy but don't know how !! Maybe Mitch can come up with this one !!??? Eddie "C"
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Tracy Sheehan


From:
Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 11 May 2009 4:06 pm     Sgr
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Doug Beaumier wrote:
Anyone remember "Steel Guitar Wipeout"? recorded by Bob White, 1970s. It was a combination of Steel Guitar Rag and Wipeout! ....an odd mix that tends to grate on your nerves! Winking

Hey Doug.It would sound better if he had left out the SGR.
Now back to a more pleasant subject,banjos.Mad
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Fred Rushing


From:
Odin, IL, USA
Post  Posted 11 May 2009 5:38 pm     Sgr Byrd Version
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IMO If the Byrd version doesn't HOOK you then the fish ain't bitin. IMO the Byrd version is a grabber from the intro to the last beat. I am not a big fan of SGR but I love that version. Fred
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Tony Kotula


From:
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 11 May 2009 9:07 pm     Steel Guitar Rag
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YOU CAN SEE THE ORIGINAL LYRIC SHEET THAT LEON WROTE HANGING ON A WALL AT "SCOTTY'S MUSIC".
EMAIL MIKE SCOTT... HE HAS PICS OF IT. PRETTY COOL.
BUT YOU'RE RIGHT ABOUT SYLVESTER WEAVERS' VERSION.
HE MAY NOT HAVE HAD ANY COPYRIGHTS TO THE SONG.
YOU CAN HEAR SLYVESTER WEAVERS VERSION ON YOUTUBE. AND OTHERS BY HIM AS WELL. SOME GREAT MUSICAL HISTORY ON YOUTUBE BELIEVE IT OR NOT!
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Don S. Davis


From:
Alabama, USA
Post  Posted 20 May 2009 10:59 am     Don Davis recorded this
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I recorded Steel Guitar Rag with Pee Wee King on RCA Victor in December 1946. With Tommy Sosbee doing the vocal written by Merl Travis. It was Pee Wee King first record on RCA.

Don Davis
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Brint Hannay


From:
Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 20 May 2009 12:04 pm    
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Nuts! I can't listen to Mitch's links--I get "404 Error". What IS that??!!

Great to hear the original "Guitar Rag" I've read about so often. Interesting to note that, as discussed early in the thread, Leon's version in the first post does a "bluesy" bend that never comes up to the major third, but Weaver, the black bluesman, DOES come up to the major third.

Good to hear the original "Mbube", too. I heard the Kingston Trio version of "Wimoweh" several years before "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" came out, and I also have the Miriam Makeba cover of "Mbube"--I wonder if SHE shared any royalties with Linda?
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Tony Kotula


From:
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 20 May 2009 12:26 pm     Wimoweh?
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I THINK THE WEAVERS WITH PETE SEGER DID WIMOWEH BACK IN THE 40'S OR 50'S...BEFORE THE KINGSTON TRIO.
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Brint Hannay


From:
Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 20 May 2009 1:09 pm    
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That's right. The Wikipedia article linked to above is quite informative.
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Peter Dollard


Post  Posted 28 May 2009 12:17 pm     What About Newman?
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For heavens sake if you want a different version check out Jeff Newmans "A Few Good Friends" album. He does everything Bill seems to be wanting to hear and concludes the song with a flurry of tripletts worthy of anyone...Tom Bradshaw remarked to me that it was one of his favorite versions...He plays the song slow but expands the melodic scope by a series of blues riffs and staccato right hand execution...
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Fred Rushing


From:
Odin, IL, USA
Post  Posted 29 May 2009 7:28 am     Steelguitar Rag
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I agree with you Peter. If you have not listened to Jeff's version it is worth your time. Fred
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