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I love the songs that straddle the line between two worlds. Songs that clearly sound like they originated in another era, but still sound perfectly at home in the modern one.
Songs like “Hop High Lulu.”
As is the case with so many tunes in the old-time canon, “Hop High Lulu” has at least one musical doppelganger, known as “Roustabout.” Here’s a link to Fred Cockerham playing the latter tune (with its own distinct set of words) – the Southern mountains influence here is obvious.
In the rendition of “Hop High” Jules and I have recorded for the Song of the Week, on the other hand, you can almost hear how its mountain roots could be smoothed over to create a straight-outta-Nashville country number.
Not that we’d want to do such a thing!
You’ll note that my daughter Jules (along with her own virtual doppelganger) handles all the vocals on this one, which means I’m playing this in a key that’s friendlier to the female voice (less so to the post-pubscent male).
So if you find yourself in possession of a Y chromosome, you may wish to try out a few spots with the capo to find a key a bit more suitable to your vocal range.
Hop High Lulu
gDGBD tuning, Brainjo level 3
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).
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”
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. Learn more about it here.