Monthly Archives: December 2010

Otha Turner Sitting on Top of the World

Sittin´ On Top Of The World – Otha Turner & Corey Harris

The lyrics are coming from the Mississippi Sheiks version of the song, the original and very first. This song became a bluegrass, blues and folk standard over the decades. There might be some significance to the fact that the Sheiks were black and their version predated the many countryish versions by whites. For example, Turner might identify with the Sheiks more than with Bill Monroe.

The way the slide and quills work together is great.

Update later: it seems most likely to me that it’s Otha Turner’s *age* causing him to use the original Mississippi Sheiks lyrics. It took a while for this song to spin off all the related versions, and in the meantime it was a great song just as it was. The original came out around 1930. Turner was born in 1907, so was around 23 when the Sheiks were doing their thing. That would be a perfect age for him to learn the original just as it was.

lawyerbot attack

A little ways back an article about my music appeared on a web site. I posted about it here. Along with the entry I posted a PDF of the article, in preparation for the time when the original site goes dead. Recently I got a takedown request for my PDF, alleging infringement. The site is a content farm generating linkbait. Most likely they think I’m a spambot that mirrors original content. The takedown request itself is probably 90% bot.

So, no point arguing with lawyerbots. For the moment there is a PDF of the takedown request in place of the PDF of the article. When the original site goes down, whenever that is, it will be safe to put the original PDF back, and that’s also when the original PDF will be useful.

The URL of the article was . The URL of the PDF is .

issuing bread instead of flour

How do musicians get paid if they can’t sell CDs because Napster is sucking the very lifeblood from their marrow? Per The Personal Memoirs of U. S Grant, one way is to issue bread to the soldiers instead of flour.

Our regimental fund had run down and some of the musicians in the band had been without their extra pay for a number of months.

The regimental bands at that day were kept up partly by pay from the government, and partly by pay from the regimental fund. There was authority of law for enlisting a certain number of men as musicians. So many could receive the pay of non-commissioned officers of the various grades, and the remainder the pay of privates. This would not secure a band leader, nor good players on certain instruments. In garrison there are various ways of keeping up a regimental fund sufficient to give extra pay to musicians, establish libraries and ten-pin alleys, subscribe to magazines and furnish many extra comforts to the men. The best device for supplying the fund is to issue bread to the soldiers instead of flour. The ration used to be eighteen ounces per day of either flour or bread; and one hundred pounds of flour will make one hundred and forty pounds of bread. This saving was purchased by the commissary for the benefit of the fund. In the emergency the 4th infantry was laboring under, I rented a bakery in the city, hired bakers—Mexicans—bought fuel and whatever was necessary, and I also got a contract from the chief commissary of the army for baking a large amount of hard bread. In two months I made more money for the fund than my pay amounted to during the entire war.

short cuts

At a dance held in Gilliands opera house of Van Wert, O., Thanksiving
evening William Stewart, a musician and plasterer, shot Ham Proost
fatally and seriously wounded Oliver Ramsy because they objected to his
going into the hall.

Originally published December 5, 1890 in The Detroit Plaindealer. I
found it in Out
of Sight

Matías Costa’s video on his daughter birthday & Mandolin Love by gurdonark

[hana-flv-player video=’’ /]

Said the email about the video at

At the free sound web page we have found your great “Homestyle Mandolin matched set” which we would like to use for a short vídeo which I am sending you. We are a photography collective and we have been asked by NOKIA to test their new N8 camera. We have made 7 short pieces and one of them is Matías Costa’s on his daughter birthday. The vídeo will be on the NOKIA page and their blog.

It doesn’t bother me that a business like Nokia is involved, by the way.

This same mandolin music was also used in mandolin love by gurdonark, which is a fun bit o’ honey that I posted about previously.

The instrument I played here was made in Boston in 1900. First posting of the music was homestyle mandolin sample pack.