11 April 2015

New faces on an old song

The BIB editor reports:

One of the many tonic effects of going to the monthly Cabin Sessions at Uncle Tom's Cabin in Dundrum is getting to hear and see the multi-talented Kevin 'Spats' Davenport (above), front man of the Sessions' house band. Spats is also an instrument freak whose repertoire draws heavily on a wide range of music of the 1920s to 1940s, including blues, early jazz, and swing, especially Western Swing - a very similar mixture to what can be found in old-time music of the same period.

Spats's latest video (on his own and the Cabin Sessions' Facebook pages, as well as on YouTube) is his 'western/horror-themed take' on the classic blues song 'Jack of Diamonds'. Old-time and bluegrass fans will recognise this as the twin of what may be the oldest banjo song in America, with roots in West Africa - known, with varying texts, under the names 'Old Reuben', 'Reuben's train', 'Train 45', 'Ruby', etc.

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