Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Doc & Dawg: Summertime

I was practicing a song with my friend Keith Janney the other night of a swing arrangement we were working on for this coming Sunday night. Keith will playing guitar and I will be on vocals, mandolin, and harmonica. We got into an impromptu jam at one point and I said it reminded me of the style of music popularized by David Grisman that he called Dawg music. I got on YouTube looking for some Grisman jams and found a concert that he did with acoustic guitar legend Doc Watson in 1998.

While not Dawg music per se, David’s playing has elements of that style is showing through. The fine acoustic leads are handled by Jack Lawrence on his signature D-28 Martin guitar. While I am a Gibson fan, you cannot beat the quality of a Martin. A friend of mine’s wife bought him a D-45 for his 60th birthday a few years ago and he let me play it once. It played like butter on hot toast. I doubt if I’ll own one due to the price – but my 60th birthday is coming up in 5 ½ years if my wife is listening. I can wait for a D-45. I will wait. Hint. Hint.

The selection is from the LP “Doc and Dawg” and is the best known song from the opera “Porgy and Bess.” DuBose Heyward wrote the novel and play and he and George and Ira Gershwin created the music for the opera in 1935. The song has been recorded hundreds of times and may be one of the best known songs of the twentieth century. I remember as a teenager working out an arrangement on piano using some of the chords I had learned from a piano chord book that had belonged to my father. It is the epitome of a great song that transcends styles, instrumentation, and the years.

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