cart

Voyager Recordings & Publications

Tunes from Jam Sessions at Phil & Vivian Williams, Seattle, WA

The home of Phil and Vivian Williams in Seattle has been host to many fiddle jam sessions over the years. In 2002, Phil and Vivian Williams, and Stuart Williams, started an open monthly jam session on the first Wednesday of each month. Many of these jam sessions have been recorded by Rick Fogel and Bob Morgan with Zoom digital recorders. There usually are twenty or more fiddlers and other musicians. The format is that someone starts with a tune. Then we go around the circle and each person either leads a tune, or requests a tune that someone else can lead. The concept is to play a tune long enough so that others can pick it up. A tune that starts a little shaky gets much better as more fiddlers and backup folks learn it. The fiddlers range from beginners to master fiddlers. The session is completely non-competitive. Every fiddler is given encouragement. Over the years we have experienced rank beginners becoming really good fiddlers. As of about a year ago, around 1,500 different tunes have been played at this jam. The jam starts at 7:30pm, there is a break for food and drink around 9:30pm, when folks who have to get up to go to work or school often leave, and then the jam continues, often until midnight, with whomever is left. Following are mp3 files of a selection of tunes from these jam session recordings, warts and all. This is an ongoing project and will be added to from time to time. To play a tune, just click on its title.

Jam Session with Dr. Howard Marshall This is not one of the regular monthly jam sessions. This jam session occurred when Dr. Marshall came to Seattle to record the Fiddle Tunes of the Lewis & Clars Era. Vivian Williams and Dr. Marshall often trade off on lead and seconding.

Arkansas Traveler
Beemer Quadrille Set 7 Fig. 3 - This is from the Peter Beemer Manuscript, Warren's Diggins, Idaho, 1960s
Country Waltz - Vivian lead, Howard seconding
Evansville - Howard, lead
Forked Deer - Phil Williams, mandolin
Gal on the Log - Vivian lead. A tune played at the Van Asselt - Maple Wedding on the Duwamish River, Seattle, Christmas Day, 1862. Learned from a recording of Capt. Moses Bonner.
Granny Will Your Dog Bite
Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight - Vivian lead. The No. 1 tune in the Alaska/Klondike Gold Rush
Lauterbach Waltz - Vivian lead, Howard seconding. This is the crooked version, following the yodel part in the song.
Lee’s March - Vivian lead, Howard seconding. Vivian learned this from Bill Mitchell, Leake County, Mississippi
Listen to the Mockingbird
Marmaduke’s Hornpipe
Martha Campbell - Vivian learned this from Buddy Thomas
Miss Farquarson’s Reel - Published in 1756, this popular square dance tune is known by more names than any other we know. Popular titles are My Love is But a Lassie and Chinkypin.
Muddy Road to Moberly - Howard lead.
Oak Ridge Stomp - Howard lead.
Sally Put a Bug on Me - One of the names for Richmond.
Sam and Elzie - Sam and Elzie were a father and son who ran square dances in Southern Illinois in the 1920s. Vivian learned it from Wilson Bray.
Sarah Brown - Vivian lead. A tune Vivian wrote and named for the caretaker of Squire Creek County Park, right next to the grounds of the Darrington Bluegrass Festival
Soldiers Joy
Stars and Stripes Forever - Vivian lead.
Twinkle Little Star Schottische - This schottische is more often heard today converted into a hoedown by contest fiddlers.
Walk Along John - Howard lead.
White Folks Ain’t Treating Me Right - Vivian lead. Bill Monroe got this tune from a black fiddler. He recorded it for Vivian with this name in 1967. It is on his Uncle Pen record as "Poor White Folks."

Monthly First Wednesday Jam at Williams, Seattle. This jam session is open to anyone. Vivian has kept lists of the tunes played and who played or requested them, and has posted these to Fiddle-L.

January 2, 2013

79th Farewell to Aberdeen - Ken Neville
Belle of Lexington - Rick Fogel
Clearwater Stomp - Phil Williams - Written by a fiddler in Lewistown, Idaho, where the Clearwater meets the Snake River
Temperance Reel - Bob Morgan
Good Neighbor Waltz - Stuart Williams
Pays de Haut - W. B. Reid
Irish Reel - Evan
Korolenko-Behind the Bush in the Garden - Phil Katz
Liberty - Wyona
Monkey on the Dog Cart - Hank - Learned from Jim Herd, Sunnyside, Washington, originally from the Ozarks.
Matt’s Polka - Mary
Ragtime Annie - Bunny
Reel de Mattawa - Shera Bray
Sandy River Belle - John Loder
Seven Stars - Elise
Shove That Pig’s Foot a Little Closer to the Fire - John - A pig's foot is the end of a drill used in mining. When it got dull, it had to be heated to be able to sharpen it, and then heated again to temper it.
Tennessee Grey Eagle - Kelly - Learned from Jim Herd.
The Girl I Left Behind Me - Bob Morgan
The Barren Rocks of Aden - Ken Neville
Julie Delaney - Hank
Rocks of Brae - Graham
Road to California/Flowers of Michigan - Phil Katz
Tennessee Waltz - Rich Levine
Briar Picker Brown - Rick Fogel
Granny Will Your Dog Bite - Vivian Williams
Steptown - Lynn Graves
Woolsey's Waltz No. 3 - Vivian Williams - This waltz was written by Jack Woolsey, a fiddler and saloon keeper in Canyon City, Oregon, in the 1860s and 1870s. It appears in The Haines Family Manuscript from the pioneer Willamette Valley.
Watson's Blues - Phil Williams - This is a tune Phil learned from Bill Monroe and Doc Watson when they were developing it at Beanblossom, Indiana, in 1969. Monroe recorded it in the key of E. Phil worked it out in D. Phil Williams, mandolin; Vivian Williams, fiddle; W.B. Reid, guitar; Albert Holdridge, bass.
Blues in D - Phil Williams - Personnel as above. A simple blues good to "break the ice" with beginning fiddlers into improvisation.
Half & Half - Phil Williams - One day Phil and Vivian were writing tunes in separate parts of the house and each came up with one part. They fit together. Hence Half & Half.

April 2, 2014

Buttered Pease - Vivian Williams
Rusty’s Waltz - Stuart Williams - Written by Rusty Modrell, a fiddlers from Eastern Oregon.
Nine Miles - Phil Williams - Learned from John White, Hallsville, MO
Olga’s Waltz - Vivian Williams - From The John Neilson Music Book, a manuscript from Cuilhill, Scotland, 1975. It appears under the title of the English abolitionist song written to this melody - Why Did My Master Sell Me
Jockey to the Fair - Lynn Graves
Sandy Boys - Rick Fogel
Morpeth Rant - Andy Olney

February 6, 2013

Lucky Trapper - Sono Hakisashi
The Campbell's March - Vivian Williams - This came from a recording of Charlie Kahana, born in 1865 on San Juan Island, WA. His mother was Native American and his father Hawaiian. He became a noted dance, entertainment, and fiddle contest winner in the Puget Sound region. He was recorded in 1956.
Belle of Lexington - Rick Fogel
Hector the Hero/Big John McNeil - Julie
Cherokee Shuffle - Adam
Orvetta Waltz - Brid Nowlan
Fiddle Fingers Schottische - Vivian Williams
Me and My Fiddle - Hank
Stone's Rag - Phil Williams; W. B. Reid, guitar
Tennessee Wagner - Phil Williams
Indian Creek - W. B. Reid
When the Leaves Turn Brown - Rick Fogel
Dusty Rose - Bonnie Zahnow
Juliana Johnson - Rick Fogel
Dixie Hoedown - Phil Williams

Return to Vivian and Phil Williams spaceReturn to Voyager Recordings Home Page