This is the only tune on the record that I didn’t write, but I did put the arrangement together years ago when I was learning clawhammer style. Clawhammer, unlike three-finger, is played without picks and uses the thumb and back of the fingernail to produce the melody. When I first heard “frailing” (an alternate term for clawhammer) I knew I had to learn it; I couldn’t spend all that time learning the banjo and not have this beautiful style in my repertoire. Incidentally, I have lost many a scrabble game because the word “frailing,” a common word among banjo players, is not in the stupid dictionary. Even now, my spell checker refuses to acknowledge it. I changed the original title from “Drop Thumb Medley” (yet another term for frailing) to “Clawhammer Medley,” bowing to pressure to be modern.
The songs in this medley are Sally Ann, Johnson Boys, Simple Gifts, and what ever the song is called that has the line, “you take the high-road…” I think it has about fifty titles, “Loch Lomond” and “Red is the Rose” among them. I used to play them live on stage in the nineteen-seventies, but a much faster tempo for the live audience. I’m glad now to play it at its appropriate speed.