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Author Topic: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?  (Read 3930 times)

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Offline outfidel

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Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« on: August 04, 2004, 10:02:49 AM »
I just got done listening to 5 versions of "Spanish Fandango/Flangdang" by 4 of my favorite guitarists:
- Mississippi John Hurt (2 live versions -- one on Memorial Anthology, the other on Live)
- Elizabeth Cotten (on Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs)
- Mance Lipscomb (on You Got To Reap What You Sow)
- Etta Baker (on One Dime Blues)

The thing that really stands out is how different MJH's versions are from the others -- it doesn't sound much like the same melody. The way that Libba, Mance and Etta Baker play it sounds pretty much the way John Miller teaches it on his Guitar of Elizabeth Cotten -- although, of course, each guitarist adds their flavor to the song.

Any thoughts on MJH's version? Is it really "Spanish Fangdango", or a different song entirely?
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Offline outfidel

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2004, 11:53:06 AM »
The plot thickens: I just found two more versions of SF on my hard drive, and have added them to my MusicMatch playlist:
-- John Dilleshaw's 1929 recording
-- Steve James's version, which is based on Frank Hutchison's 1927 recording

Hutchison's sounds like the Libba/Mance/Etta Baker version, while Dilleshaw's sounds somewhat like MJH's.

In addition, Steve James writes this about "Spanish Fandango" in his Roots and Blues Fingerstyle Guitar book:

"Derived from the influential guitar music of 18th century Spain, this waltz was quite popular with American guitarists of the 1800s, and numerous arrangements were published. Here are the first two parts of Henry Worral's transcription, based on an 1860 version by J. and L. Peters. 'Spanish Fandango' is one of the true parent pieces in American guitar music, and many recordings exist. (Some, like those of John Hurt and John 'Seven-Foot Dilly' Dilleshaw, bear only a tangential resemblance to the one here)."

Tangential, to say the least -- it seems like Hurt & Dilleshaw have a completely different song in mind.
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Offline Montgomery

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2004, 12:02:57 PM »
I haven't heard all of the versions you mention, but the MJH one on Live definitely is related to the Spanish Fandango I know, including Elizabeth Cotten's version (although he definitely plays some variations on the basic melody) .? My favorite version of this tune, by the way, is probably John Dilleshaw's.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2005, 06:23:05 PM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2004, 09:28:34 AM »
IMy favorite version of this tune, by the way, is probably John Dilleshaw's.

I agree. Dilleshaw's version, played as a duet with the String Marvel, is just gorgeous, and rather different in that it's played in 4/4. By far my favorite interpretation of this tune, which I can usually take or leave. Thanks for sending me back to Old-Time Mountain Guitar on County with your version of Jailhouse Rag, btw Montgomery. Forgot how much I enjoyed this collection (which includes the Dilleshaw).

Offline Mark

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2004, 11:48:37 AM »
I haven't heard any of the versions of Spanish Fandango that you're talking about, but I may have to seek a couple of them out.? Just for the record though, Norman Blake also recorded a version of this piece, which I have on an old cassette tape that I'm pretty sure is called 'HOME IN SULPHUR SPRINGS'.? His version has also been tabbed out in a music book called 'Masters of Twentieth Century Fingerstyle Guitar' (or something like that).
« Last Edit: April 11, 2005, 06:21:40 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2006, 12:10:18 PM »
Hi all,
I just recalled a beautiful version of this tune, played as a banjo duet by R. B. Smith and S. J. Allgood, entitled "American & Spanish Fandango".  It is in 3/4, and is by far the closest to Libba Cotten's version of any that I have heard.  I wonder if it was originally a banjo tune?  I have it on an old County LP, 515, entitled "Mountain Banjo Songs & Tunes", but I have an idea that it was very recently re-released on a County CD devoted to Old-Time Banjo.  If you particularly like this tune you may want to check it out.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2006, 12:26:04 PM »
If memory serves correct Furry Lewis made a none too convincing stab at it in 1968 on a Saydisc LP and I think Art Rosenbaum recorded Indianapolis resident Bertha Lee Jones in late 50s/early 60s attempting it too.

Bo Diddley had fun with the tune for Chess in the 50s but that's another story.... >:D

Offline sofingraw

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2012, 08:38:39 PM »
This is complete hearsay, but I recall reading 'somewhere' that, included with a specific brand of old-time guitar (Harmony, Stella perhaps?) ordered from Sears was a 'lesson' on a tune with this name, and included was information on tuning to 'Spanish' tuning. This could explain where all of these different artists picked up on it.

Once again, I cannot remember the source for this, and I also cannot confirm it, but it sounds plausible to me. can anyone confirm, or deuink this?

Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2012, 08:52:07 PM »
Sofingraw- I think what you might be referring to is the introductory tablature that was distributed with parlor guitars in the 19th century. Jas Obrecht wrote an interesting piece concerning the history of this tune and of the tune "Sabastapol" and their relationship to later blues playing and terminology:

http://jasobrecht.com/blues-origins-spanish-fandango-and-sebastopol/

Offline Rivers

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2012, 05:10:02 PM »
Thanks, really interesting article.

Offline sofingraw

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2012, 07:56:50 PM »
Yes thank you for finding/posting that! I can't be sure that was the article I read (it seems better!), but I think that dlears up at least part of the mystery of this tune, if not most of it.

Offline Michael Cardenas

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2012, 02:53:28 AM »
This tune is the Classical Gas of its era. My thought is banjo players picked up on it heavy in the 1880's and by the 1890's it became a common ground in which both guitar and banjo players could relate. This might have formed a sort of oral tradition around the song wherein anyone out of Open G could participate. However, I can't see mountain musicians halting a jam session in the late 19th century to go grab their sheet music, but I do believe the tune was an easy-going pleasantry for which rural artists could share a universal appreciation in solid melody. I hear this ideal of history in the Seven Foot Dilly version.

WHY Why why did banjo players pick up on it so much? My guess would be guitarists lost some interest after 20 years of initial publication and to keep the fires burning publishers got the idea to disseminate it among the banjo community. Once all these banjoists have further truncated the melody, the guitarists return as if to say, "Oh yeah, sure I remember that old tune." By this time the banjoists have streamlined it. Interesting that regardless of who plays it; Blake, Seeger etc. the song still retains/informs a quaint bygone parlour feel.
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Offline Stuart

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2012, 08:04:56 AM »
...I hear this ideal of history in the Seven Foot Dilly version...

cf. John Fahey's "Hawaiian Two-Step."

Offline Michael Cardenas

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2012, 12:54:29 PM »
...I hear this ideal of history in the Seven Foot Dilly version...

cf. John Fahey's "Hawaiian Two-Step."
Whenever I hear Fahey play that descending middle eight, his approach puts me in the mind of a melodeon.
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Offline Stuart

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Re: Spanish Fandango/Flangdang?
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2012, 02:48:16 PM »
He also did it as "Spanish Two-Step," without the ukulele(s), something  I should have mentioned. 

Here's a link to a reprint of Charles Wolfe's article on John Dilleshaw:

http://www.1001tunes.com/fiddlers/dilly1.html

http://www.1001tunes.com/fiddlers/dilly.html

 


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