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This week’s song is another gem mined from the recordings of Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers.
I’d already put it on my list as a future Song of the Week selection before our family had a conflagration of our own, so I have a renewed appreciation for its powers of rapid destruction.
Baltimore Fire, recorded in 1929, was written in commemoration of the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. That fire raged for over 30 hours, spanning 70 city blocks, and destroying 1,545 buildings, doing an estimated $3.84 billion in damage in today’s dollars.
Sounds about right.
It makes for a great banjo song. And knowing the backstory may lead to an extra chill or two up your spine when singing it.
It surely does mine!
gDGBD tuning, Brainjo level 2
Notes on the Tab
In the tab above, you’ll note I’ve tabbed out both a “lead break” (something to play in between verses) and the “vocal backup” (what I play while I’m singing).
Notes in parentheses are “skip” notes – to learn more about skips and syncopated skips, check out my video lesson on the subject.
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
PRIOR SONG OF THE WEEK EPISODES
- Episode 1: “Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow”
- Episode 2: “Gumtree Canoe”
- Episode 3: “Crawdad Hole”
- Episode 4: “Oh Susanna”
- Episode 5: “Freight Train”
- Episode 6: “Grandfather’s Clock”
- Episode 7: “Hop High Lulu”
- Episode 8: “Been All Around This World”
- Episode 9: “I’ll Fly Away”
- Episode 10: “Leaving Home”
- Episode 11: “Poor Orphan Child”
- Episode 12: “Mr. Tambourine Man”
Level 2 arrangements and video demos for the Tune (and Song!) of the Week tunes are now available as part of the Breakthrough Banjo course.