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Colored Aristocracy


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Description
I first heard this traditional tune on Taj Mahal's 'Giant Step" album (1969). The New Lost City Ramblers first brought it back and it has since become an Old-Time /Bluegrass standard.

From a Google search I learned the term Colored Aristocracy goes back to the 1850s, and the title of a book on the Black elite of St. Louis, MO. In 1899 that phrase became the title of a cakewalk number. In 1936, the Rich family recorded a string band tune of the same name.

This is me on banjo, mando, guitar, and synth bass.
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Song Stats
Hits: 4090
Comments: 33
Fans: 21
Plays: 215
Downloads: 80

Uploaded: May 22, 2011 - 02:45:42 PM
Last Updated: May 22, 2011 - 02:45:42 PM Last Played: Sep 04, 2017 - 08:42:28 AM
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Comments
alackbass said 2377 days ago (May 22nd, 2011)
Colored Aristocracy
There's a pristine quality and purity to your music I just love. This is lovely. Downloaded!
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johnwhitehead said 2377 days ago (May 22nd, 2011)
hey
Thanks, Andrew. I actually thought of calling you in on bass for this. But I'm feeling too lazy to collab right now!
Check out my latest song called Wandering Blues
gadzooks said 2377 days ago (May 22nd, 2011)
I love "Giant Step"
Oh yeah ... real nice. Love the combo of that crystal clear guitar and banjo. And that mandolin just brings it all together. Nice flatpickin' solo, maybe just a touch less verb? but that's really a subjective comment. OK it went by too fast, I have to start it again. Nice pickin" Enjoyed the clean fresh mix. Enjoyed this.
SG
SG
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johnwhitehead said 2377 days ago (May 22nd, 2011)
Giant Step
Thanks for stopping by and for comments, SG. I agree guitar sounds tubby. Not alot of reverb on it, however. I have trouble getting a clean, lead guitar sound. Part of the problem is my Collings guitar is super bassy. If I get a good level then it tends to distort. Suggestions?
Check out my latest song called Wandering Blues
Philip18 said 2377 days ago (May 22nd, 2011)
Love it!
Delightful, clean playing of a simple but engaging tune. Love the banjo and the mandolin and the interplay between them - and the guitar gives a really solid base. Thanks for the opportunity to download! And at last I've found out what a "cakewalk" is (it's a word that appears in the theme song of an Australian Rules football club).
Check out my latest song called First Night Alone
johnwhitehead said 2377 days ago (May 22nd, 2011)
Howdy
Thanks, Phillip. It's a totally engaging tune, isn't it? These old tunes
teach me alot about keeping it simple, an A part, a B part and out.
Check out my latest song called Wandering Blues
hackneybloke said 2377 days ago (May 22nd, 2011)
coloured aristocrats
fantastic banjo playing...wait - you're doing it all! this is really good. sounds perfect on headphones. it's crying out for your vocals....why aren't you singing?
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mrattue said 2377 days ago (May 22nd, 2011)
Smiling
All the way with this one, John! Really delightful. Easy, cheerful, affirmative, with a little gravitas here and there, too, in the minor sequences, to my ear.

As always, beautifully played and recorded.

A gem, and much enjoyed. Thank you.

Marc
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Dadai.2 said 2377 days ago (May 22nd, 2011)
classic...
... love the banjo and mando - so very fine. You really got the chops on those two instruments. John, thanks for posting this. It's such a satisfying song to listen to. Recording is clear and everything seems in just the right place.

Jack

dave_b said 2377 days ago (May 22nd, 2011)
Colored Aristocracy
Terrific picking and a great sounding recording.
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PeterB7858 said 2377 days ago (May 22nd, 2011)
Back-porch rapture...
Hi John. Wonderful balance in the mix and some stellar instrumental work make this a joy to listen to. Nice simple tune that evokes back-porch rapture (the word of the month :-)). Thanks for the D/L. Kind regards, Peter.
Check out my latest song called Losing You
michaeljayklein said 2377 days ago (May 22nd, 2011)
Like someone opened a window....
I don't have to tell you this is superb--you are too fine a musician to know differently. I think the cakewalk was America's first real dance craze. To see it performed by a well trained dance troupe is quite spectacular. Now, if they only had THIS musical piece for their terpsichorean skills! Thanks John, I love this! Michael
Check out my latest song called There Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens!
magnatone said 2377 days ago (May 22nd, 2011)
WOW
john, you've raised the bar yet again. your banjo playing is just awesome here - not to mention all the other instruments! the sound is so danged good - i have to agree it WOULD be cool to hear you singing as well. congrats on a real winner here mr. whitehead!
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billykirsch said 2377 days ago (May 23rd, 2011)
Aristocracy
Cool story behind the music. Didn't know about that and went to the Internet to find out more. I would have expected a blues piece for this topic though. Really interesting.
Playing is fluid and lively. I specially enjoyed the left hand work on the guitar part. Love the way the 4 instruments interleave.

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Jarvoid said 2377 days ago (May 23rd, 2011)
I love this..
this is what I would love to sound like unlike the frenetic relentless pap that I do turn out !

Crystal clear recording and placement of each instrument and a masterclass in "less is more"...pah.....I reiterate my comments that I made on the forum about some young wee scunners on banjo and violin,there is now a heap of wood in my back garden made up of banjo,mandolin and guitars ......anyone got a match and some of them marshymellow thingies... 80)
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TobinMueller said 2377 days ago (May 23rd, 2011)
A delight
Such a feel good sound. Really nice intimate vibe, unhurried, satisfied. Thanks for sharing this.
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drakonis said 2377 days ago (May 23rd, 2011)
From rags to richness
Love the rich quality of this recording, crisp and clear, well balanced. The guitar sounds slightly "muddy" when it solos, but that could just be me comparing it to its comparatively bright companions. Great piece of Americana you chose, and perfectly played... love that you chose a reasonable pace and didn't rush through it. Wonderful performance.
ttfn,
Drakonis
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Feter said 2376 days ago (May 23rd, 2011)
Colored Aristocracy
Very Interesting I never heard this term or tune before always something new to learn ...what a wonderful recording to this sweet tune ..your pickin so clean precise and just great ..always a joy listen to your music ...Man you are the best !!
Check out my latest song called Roll with it
H3nry said 2376 days ago (May 23rd, 2011)
Nice traditional rendition
Beautiful string band sound, and I like your Collings' resonant bassy sound. I adds body to the mandolin and banjo, filling the gap to the bass.
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Daugrin said 2376 days ago (May 23rd, 2011)
Dam goood!
Didn't imagine you could pull this off, and here you are... makes me wanna strap on the Stealth and find my picks... thanks Bro!

Daug
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neilh79 said 2376 days ago (May 24th, 2011)
Coloured Aristocracy
Really excellent playing, you have some serious chops here well done
Ibstrat said 2375 days ago (May 24th, 2011)
Great
tune and your playing and recording is fantastic!
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skindel said 2375 days ago (May 24th, 2011)
I'm right there...
on the front porch there with ya drinking iced tea and pluckin' away... love the nice summer evening feel...
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tf10music said 2373 days ago (May 26th, 2011)
loving
the banjo. this piece flows so much, I really wish I had that kind of fluid musicality in my work. Brilliant.
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Llarion said 2373 days ago (May 26th, 2011)
Delightful!!
This is wonderfully warm, wooden, sonorous... such a cleanliness about it... great imaging... I might have dumped the click of you turning tracks off at the end, but what they hey, right? :)

Makes me long for the last week of July, I spend that week every year at The Swannanoa Gathering's Guitar /Contemporary Folk week taking classes and jamming until all hours, this is right up that alley. You ought to consider going sometime, it's heaven on earth! http://www.swangathering.com
Check out my latest song called Door to Babylon
peterms said 2373 days ago (May 27th, 2011)
thank you for visiting
and commenting on my tracks. I very much liked your song. Fantastic playing and excellent presentation.
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Relic67 said 2372 days ago (May 27th, 2011)
OH YEAH!
I love this song. You did a fantastic job on it.
great pickin' on all the instruments.
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Skweryl said 2372 days ago (May 28th, 2011)
yes very good country music!
folk music, is very comfort to Skweryl, our music is nothing like that it is very hard, we love you though!
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Mosaica said 2370 days ago (May 29th, 2011)
In a class of its own...
...great rendition, love the banjo and mandolin. Interesting story to it, especially as I was in St Louis last year. Fine playing to my ear.
Check out my latest song called Repercussion
Ed Hannifin said 2369 days ago (May 30th, 2011)
You're a go-to guy...
...for a crisp and clean acoustic sound...I really enjoy your playing, John, and this really perks up my brain... It just sounds solid and good... The blend of instruments is just right, and each has its own bit of sonic territory in the recording and in the arrangement...

Only minor, minor, minor crit is that I'd do the ending fade a little slower....
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scaustrita said 2365 days ago (June 3rd, 2011)
Nostalgic
Some extra fine picking and playing.

:: Talented ::
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issaquahbob said 2349 days ago (June 19th, 2011)
sweet version of this one
I too first found this great old tune on the Taj Giant Step album. Been wanting to try to take a stab at it and hearing your very clean version is making me want to do that again. Don't have a banjo so it will lost some of the nice unique sound but I really enjoyed your layered version. You are multi-talented with four separate instruments! Very impressive.
ThePints said 2302 days ago (August 5th, 2011)
Awesome
I love this!! Very easy Listening and well played!!!!
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Artist Info
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Name: John Whitehead
Location: Saint Paul MN United States
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I've been singing and playing since the age of fourteen when my brother Paul was working his way through the Beatle book and needed someone to play with. From Paul I learned to fingerpick, play barre chords, and to sing the melody while he sang harmo... [see more]

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