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This week’s tune, “Shoes and Stockings,” is another that entered the old time canon by way of Alan Jabbour’s recordings of Virginia fiddler Henry Reed (click here to listen to Reed’s original recording).
And it’s one of a handful of tunes Reed is said to have learned from his mentor, Quince Dillion (or Dillon, as the family now spells it).
It’s a sticky melody, too – one that’s remembered readily, which always makes the learning of it that much easier.
Shoes and Stockings includes some ventures up the neck in the B part. And for those to whom forays up the fretboard still seem formidable, I think you’ll find the excursions here to be pleasantly manageable.
And while it sounds just fine at dance tempo, I think you’ll find on the banjo it opens up a bit more at a moderate tempo. Also, a sparsely played A part (see the liberal use of skip notes) provides a nice contrast to and tension that’s released by the notier B part.
As for the key it’s played in? Well, in Reed’s Library of Congress recording, he’s in the key of A. Yet, in the beginning of the recording, you can hear a puzzled Jabbour stating “last time you played it in G.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m still not sure there’s a general consensus. My advice: learn it in G on the banjo, and be ready to capo to A in a jam if need be.
Shoes and Stockings
gDGBD tuning, Brainjo level 3
Notes on the Tab
Notes in parentheses are “skip” notes. To learn more about these, check out my video lesson on the subject.
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
[RELATED: 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.
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