Sitting On Top of the World

March 8, 2010 3:26 PM

This is my other brand new band, the Ghost Steppers. We do old-time, early blues, jug band, mountain music: all traditional stuff, no originals. Here's our rough-and-ready take on an old favorite, originally written and recorded by the Mississippi Sheiks, that's been interpreted by many, many folks over the years. I've changed the lyrics a bit (maybe more than a bit) but that's part of the longstanding folk tradition, of course. Video of this same performance at YouTube here.

posted by flapjax at midnite (10 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Sounds great! Very cool to hear you sing in this style. I'm sure you have the ability to sing just about anything in any style... jerk. ;-)

Also, cool drum setup (in the YouTube video).
posted by edlundart at 9:58 PM on March 8, 2010

Haha! Thanks, edlundart. But really, I'm a total washout at operatic singing and Tuvan throat singing.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:23 AM on March 9, 2010

The portable drumkit! man, that setup is brilliant. It's perfect for a lot of music and rids you of the hassle of the full fledged drumkit.

Lovely band, by the way. It must be quite a trip to walk into a bar in Tokyo and catch you guys playing.
posted by micayetoca at 11:42 AM on March 10, 2010

I'm having a difficult time commenting on this, only because it's so awesome that you and the boys are jamming a really traditionally American sound, and three of you appear to be Japanese.

I guess it just reminds me how rich and beautiful the world is when you get beyond our borders and common life. Good show, flapjax, and good on ya!
posted by snsranch at 3:52 PM on March 10, 2010

Thanks sns. Yeah, these guys have got a really good feel for this stuff, and they are all Japanese, as you guessed. The guitar player, Tomo, spent his high school and college years in the states (Missouri) which is when he started playing. He played in bluegrassy string bands and blues bands with some guys there, and got a pretty solid grounding in this kind of music.

The harp player, Junzo, he's a longtime fan of the blues, and is a music freak in general: spends all his free time in used record shops, far as I can tell! Interesting thing is, his own stuff is more psychedelic folk/drone oriented, mostly with guitar. He only very recently came back to the blues harp after years of not playing, and it was because his friend Tomo told him about this new band of mine!

The banjo player, "Ushi" is the youngster of the band, I believe he's only 25 or so, and has just the right combination of enthusiasm for oldtime without being too scholarly about it. His attitude is pretty much punk.

And that's the Ghost Steppers! I'm psyched about the band, and I'm really gratified that you and the other two friends here in this thread dropped by to offer your thoughts.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:45 PM on March 10, 2010

Oh man that drumkit kills me.

I always expect to hear that other song when I see this title -- The Carpenters -- so it's always a pleasant surprise to here this one.

Sounds great! I need to get over to Japan for a gig sometime.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 4:08 AM on March 11, 2010

That'd be fuckin cool, Karl.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:24 AM on March 11, 2010

I haven't been able to give much feedback of late but I thought I'd break my silence to say I hope we hear more from this band, both covers and originals. And, while I'm here, I should say that I love all your videos too. I think it's because because you're usually playing something or other we're not used to seeing, like that electric fan trick a while back that about knocked me off my chair, or the drum kit here that, yeah, makes me want one too as it just looks so damned relaxed.

Plus, this video lead me to this one, of Doc Watson playing alongside a blind 14-year-old, and that made my day too.
posted by roombythelake at 5:37 AM on March 11, 2010

"a pleasant surprise to here this one"? I am a doofus.

Flapjax, I actually have a friend who lives an hour out of Tokyo (Yotsukaido Chiba) -- do you have a current gig schedule somewhere I can point him to?
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 4:02 PM on March 11, 2010

Karlos, I try to keep my live schedule reasonably updated on my MySpace page, but I don't always get it together... MySpace is so damn clunky and inelegant, I kinda hate to go there. But I'm about to go there now and update event listings. Probably be up to date on the MySpace page in an hour or so.

The more elegant and effective option, that I've been using more recently, is Facebook Event Notices, which I send out to my Tokyo and Tokyo region FB friends and contacts. If your friend is on FB, and is interested in my music, perhaps he could friend me at Facebook, for the future. The Event Notices are good, cause it's not mail into people's inboxes, but all relevant info (including as many links as you need, a photo, etc) can all get put together on one easy page, delivered to those who want it, but also easily ignorable, if they wanna ignore it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:22 PM on March 11, 2010

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