Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Horrors: Wassail Song

Bluesboy Jag: Wassail Song
Source (it is a free download embedded in a zipped file)

On the one hand, I applaud the “cigar box” concept: if it were possible to make my own instrument that does the job, why should I succumb to the mercantile mentality that makes me pay for the namebrand rather than the sound. When we listen to a musician’s chops, most of us cannot ID the brand of the instrument (some of us can’t even ID the instrument!). Why not play a cigar box guitar?

A cigar box guitar is literally a guitar hand crafted from a cigar box:  you cut a sound hole, slap a neck onto the wooden box, decorate as desired, tune the strings. Obviously, some are going to sound better/worse than the rest (hence the horror).

A four year old project (as far as I can see it goes back to ’08) Cigar Box Nation Christmas Songs features various contributors of Xmas classics. Requirement: tune must include a cigar box guitar and the song must be public domain.

The musician here, Bluesboy Jag, claims a long road to where he’s at now. His bio lists various jobs all across the spectrum: cook, tech support, various manager positions and, of course, musician. You can learn more about him here.

The song “Here We Come A-Wassailing” hints at an interesting pedigree. The song was apparently written in the mid 1800s but is based on a tradition that probably goes back several centuries before that: Christmas singers going door to door would be given food and drink at the doors of the rich.

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