Valley Forge / Rock That Cradle Joe

from by 12 Dead in Everett

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Valley Forge is a popular fiddle tune of the Ozarks. It is named after the place in Pennsylvania where Washington's exhausted Continental Army encamped over the cruel winter of 1777-78. The motley crew of enthusiasts, convicts, freed slaves and immigrants had reached Valley Forge bloodied and starving. Throughout that winter they trained intensively, and left with renewed purpose and morale to the news that France had entered the war in their favour. Victory followed after a further four years of fighting, but the tide of the war was turning.

Decisive historical change springs from the bleakest of places – the trick is to keep organising!

The tune following on from Valley Forge is a variant of Rock That Cradle Joe, inspired by the banjo playing of Jim Pankey (from whom we learnt it). It is an example of 'old time' music – the fusion of diverse European and African influences that constitutes much of the traditional music of the United States. Our ensemble – banjo, fiddle and guitar – is typical of old time music.

The banjo is the descendent of Western African instruments that crossed the Atlantic in the minds of slaves, stolen from their homes and transported to labour their lives away in American fields. The style of banjo picking used throughout this record ('clawhammer') is thought to be reflective of the way in which the earliest banjos were picked in those times of tragedy and injustice.


from We Bid You Welcome Brother Debtor, released May 19, 2016
Traditional arranged by 12 Dead in Everett.




12 Dead in Everett England, UK

A low-down, seditious trio playing old time, folk and rebel music. Songs to fan the flames of discontent and tell your boss to go to hell. Sweet harmonies of reason in a world deaf to exploitation.

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