Steve's List of Songs and embellishments

Delighted to list the sum-up-ons from our very own Steve Ruzansky who along with his fine fiddle playing manages to keep a smile on his face, and a record of the songs and tunes we played at our regular Wednesday Night Jam to share with us these memorable and often uplifting evenings of pure joy.

January 31, 2018

      Another wild and crazy ride/jam last night!  Twelve earnest pickers (TWO basses - Kim and Vince) and newbie Rick on guitar and mando. 

Blue Moon of Kentucky  A  (Karl called this one and made all Kentuckians SO proud). 

Sledd Ridin'  A  (Denny's call; REAL GLAD to have him hale and healthy again) 

Southern Flavor  Em  (my call; working on both lyrics and a new fiddle arrangement .... always an adventure for me) 

Big Sciota  (Jay's call on a song that is evidently quite popular in top jams throughout the country; the real question is HOW do you pronounce "Sciota"?!.... Does it matter?) 

Shuckin' the Corn  (Ben's call that had many of us shuckin' cobwebs away to try to remember this once-a-standard of earlier D'Jam Days) 

Cherokee Shuffle  A  (Fiddler Frederico's call; astonishing how quickly this Italian fellow from Ireland has embraced our bluegrass music; great addition to the jam) 

Queensland Drover (Newbie Rick's call; an olde Australian ballad that had us looking for kangaroos and koala bears under our chairs) 

I Know What It Means to Be Lonesome   (Guitar Vince's call; great job done by him on the vocal part, too) 

Fireball Mail   (Mando Steve called this, resulting in both Guitar Vince and Banjo Karl's awewome and totally unique duet on the vocals .... beyond words...) 

Old Joe Clark  A  (Bassman Vince's call, keeping us all on our tradition-based toes)(?) 

House of the Rising Sun  Am  (Karl's call; his downright bluesy intro took us a while to grok just what song he had called) 

Dooley  (Denny's call, reminding us that a still's waters run deep) 

June Apple  A   (my call and reminder (to me) that what sounds SO good at the jam I find out how much more practice is needed... all part of the process) 

East Tennessee Blues  C (Jay's call - so that Tennessee wouldn't be jealous of Karl's attention to Kentucky....FYI, NOT sung by Karl and Vince ... especially since there's no lyrics!) 

FLY EAGLES FLY  (Called and recorded by Ben - so Sparky can put it on his Monday BG radio broadcast; y'all tune in, y'hear?) 

Whiskey before Breakfast  D  (Frederico's call, the title of which made sense after our treatment of the aforementioned cheer song....) 

State of Maine  (Rick shared this humorous long-dead-critters (northern) state song with us - a perfect match for Uke Phil's Dead Skunk and Roadkill Cafe songs) 

Billy in the Low Ground  (Guitar Vince called this mesmerizing mantra-like  tune about a boy valiantly trying to rise above it all) 

Shady Grove  Am (Mando Steve's call; I sang it and should remember to do it in Em to avoid sounding like a cat being viciously strangled....) 

Foggy Mt. Special  (A very special song called by Karl; also good practice for doing 12-bar blues?) 

Home Sweet Home  C  (Ben's one last call before having to head home - like a lot of us; such a fun Stephen Foster song) 

HOWEVER, several pickers insisted on continuing; Rumor has it that they chained themselves to their chairs and pledged to ONLY do prison and chain-gain songs until their parole was granted.... 

Note: As I often pore over past Jam song lists, I am reminded of the pickers who, to the best of my recollection, introduced certain special songs to the group. Once again, I started to make a list of who and what song(s) but was afraid to do so would leave deserving pickers out (I sure hope you know who you are!). Still, foremost in my mind are the many, many songs that (again, as I best recall), Ed Pollak brought into our jam: EMD, Sweet Sue, Over the Waterfall, Lady Be Good, Down Yonder, etc. (but DEFINITELY NOT Rolling in My Sweet Baby's Arms, nor Mountain Dew - put in a chuckle here, please). My point being that, as I practice and/or play many of the songs that are called at the jam, I almost always associate - and appreciate - those pickers who first dropped that particularly interesting song into our laps - often one that is/was overwhelmingly challenging, yet delightful to take on (Karl's Caravan HAS to be mentioned here!). I applaud our jam's willingness - and determination - to take on so many wonderfully difficult, interesting, and/or different kinds of songs, be they breakdowns, backsteps, rags, jigs, hornpipes, stomps, blues, shuffles, reels, waltzes, swings, Christmas carols, ballads....... and even sports songs..(Go Eagles!)..!

January 24, 2018

Hello All, 

Boisterous? Raucous? Vibrant?  How to describe last night's jam!  We had 19 pickers (17 to start and then joined by two welcome latecomers). And it worked! Several songs had split instrumentals and most songs were quite upbeat (as was the crowd).  

Our two latecomers are certainly notable: Fiddler Edgar rejoined our midst and his awesome skill always appreciated. Also a fiddler was Paul, a pastor who has been taking lessons from our very own Christie. It deserves notice that, despite the presence of the clergy, it was still a decidedly irreverent evening (get it?) - and I got the feeling that Pastor Paul wouldn't have had it any other way.  :) 

Also, to keep this email list more interesting (for me, at least), I may occasionally identify pickers by their song choices and/or notable (outrageous?) behavior. By first names and instrument of choice only, mainly because, by my rough calculations, about a third of our jammers are people who seem to be in various witness protection programs, so I will safeguard their full identities carefully (you know who you are ... and $ome arrangement$ for my continuing $ilence will be forthcoming...). And any complaints about inaccuracies or slander in the following list can be taken up with my 6'10'' 277 pound agent, George "I'll break youse fingers!" Margoliss.  A real sweetheart! 

 The Jam Song   (I got there too late for this one by Virginia, but evidently it was done in a variety of keys, which doesn't surprise me about our favorite Ginny....) 

Big Sciota   (Not sure who called this, maybe Fiddler Jim, though my bet is on Guitar Vince) 

Old Home Place   (I believe that Harmonica Jim called and sang this great number, enormously aided by his very cool Greek fisherman's cap) 

Banks of the Ohio  ( I believe that Jay-of-Many-Instruments called this one, the mando being the particular strings-of-choice at the time) 

Bluegrass Breakdown  D  (I called this very neat tune that I think Mando Steve introduced to the D'Jam some time ago; maybe I'll actually learn how to play it someday.....) 

Armadillo Breakdown   A   (Mando Steve brought this once-fave tune back from the D'Jams's bluegrass archives. ) 

Gold Rush  A  (Banjo Jim called this and Jay insisted that a song with such a title HAS to have a minor in it! .... Minor/miner ... get it? ... an "ouch", Jay, but a very clever "ouch") 

Clinch Mt. Backstep  A  (Banjo Ben called this great tune .... and our proud Jam Papa spent some time videotaping parts of the jam - now on FaceBook.) 

Nine Pound Hammer  A  (Guitar Vince called this one in the key of A - the fourth key of A in a row. And, oh, how happy the banjo pickers were to not have to retune ... as much!). 

Blue Ridge Cabin Home  (Banjo Denny, rebel that he is, ended the streak and called this G song; Good to have you back on board, Denny!) 

Red Wing  (I don't recall who called this fine tune; Hey, I'm over 70 years old .... can't remember everything!) 

I've Got That Old-Fashioned Love in My Heart  (called and sung sweetly by the sweet Virginia-of-the-long-titled-songs) 

12 Bar Blues in G   (a D'Jam original called by much-adored and unquestionably-appreciated bass player Kim) 

Wayfarin' Stranger  Em  (Banjo Karl cannily called this heart-rending tune when the pastor joined us ... almost keeping us honest) 

Sweet Georgia Brown F   (Was this called by Fiddler Jim in order to get in Sweet Virginia's good graces? Good Survivalist Move, Jim! ) 

Rough and Rocky   (Harmonica Jim called this tune, which describes the camping terrain of so many of our BG festivals) 

Farewell Blues  C   (Jay-now-a-banjo-picker called this because he wanted to see if Whiskers could keep stay on his fee during his always-intense mouth harp solos ....Nope!) 

Bartender's Blues   (I called this 'cause all the upbeat, happy numbers were getting me SO depressed...) 

Dear Old Dixie   (Mando Steve just went and RUINED my bad mood with this rollicking tune! Da noive!) 

Red Haired Boy  D  Fiddler Pastor Paul called this and did a d***n good job with it) 

Old Joe Clark  A   (Called by Fiddlin' Edgar, who mercifully chose this instead of some classical violin selection by a guy name Paganini.....) 


And then car poolers Bert, Karl, and I  (aka First-String Team ?) left while a few hardy jammers stayed to play Beaumont Rag (Black Mt. Rag?) and who knows what else.    

Oh, what a night!

January 10, 2018

Hello All, 

I wish that I could say that this jam list email is a bit late because I was oh-so busy practicing fiddle. Well, I was practicing fiddle, but life's other issues/demands inevitably popped up. Things that also prevented me from joining in on the MOM's Jam on Thursday night - which, like our regular Wednesday jams, sounds to have been awesome. I gotta get back  to one of those ...... 

And so, on this past Wednesday, the jam added to what has become such a regularly special evening of music and banter. Our rather large group of 15 seems to have gone through a record number of songs (29 - filling up both front and back of my notepad page for the first time ever and anywhere), even while ending at the rather "early" time of 10:15 or so. We started off the evening in the poolroom alcove (there was a board meeting upstairs) but the wonderful barkeep gal noticed how crowded it already was and invited us to spread out into the main room. Great move. Appreciative listeners at the bar....... Plus we had TWO (2) bass players! Rick (bass) and Dina (banjo) - and friend Mando Barry  -  who were in attendance after a hiatus (I'm not talking surgery here...), and Rick and Kim teamed up to form an awesome bass section (as did Bert, Phil, and Warren group themselves together a la guitar section). It reminded me of one of the Tippling Jams in Marcus Hook where the three fiddlers present (me, Cindy, and Barbara Wood) sat together and did pretty much all of our instrumental breaks together ... and it was SO much fun! Fiddlers Frederico and Jim and I were separated, but understandably, few people want to sit next to me and my fiddle.  :) 

Liberty  D 

Panhandle Rag  D 

Nine Pound Hammer  A 

Southern Flavor  Em 

Walkin' the Dog 

Cherokee Shuffle  A 

Foggy Mt. Special 

Sweet Sue 

Hard Times   E 

Sweet Georgia Brown  F 

Sittin' on Top of the World 

Nellie Kane  D 

Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road    (!) 

Arkansas Traveler  D 

Angelina Baker  D 

Aura Lee 

White Freightliner   D 

Just Because 

Catfish John 

Over the Waterfall  D 

Clinch Mt. Backstep   A 

Old Spinning Wheel  C 


Space Pilot 

Lonesome Pines 

Steampowered Aereoplane 

Home Sweet Home  C 

Note: It's pretty much in my nature to compliment pickers at different times for different reasons. In my past life as a teacher, I tried to publicly or privately "catch the kids in the act of doing the right thing". In these emails, I've often voiced my appreciation for what our truly professional-level pickers (Jay, Karl, Scott, etc.) bring to the jam. Deeply esteemed and unbelievably supportive jam-founder Ben has consistently been effusive in his appreciation of us in so many way. It's a very supportive group we have here - as I feel that all jams "oughter be". So here's a shout-out for all of the many pickers of our group who have shown truly impressive talent and/or growth and/or at the least been a consistently supportive presence........ SO, I suggest that as individuals we dare to give compliments where compliments are due .... it feels so good to give a clear nod (or outright compliment) to someone who did an impressive instrumental or vocal solo on a particular. song. I know I still savor compliments that have been offered re: my singing and (occasional) fiddling - and I've been at this jammin' thang for a number of years. In most jams, we don't have an audience present to show its appreciation, so let us show our own mutual appreciation where appreciation is due. It's one of the things that makes the whole greater than its parts. 

Be well,

January 3, 2018

Hello All, 

Well before the winds, snow, and cold temperatures reached our hinterlands, fifteen determined pickers had another feisty (not frosty) evening of singing and bantering: 

Home Sweet Home  C    (where the "jam pansies" - as Ed Pollak would call them - stayed instead of jamming with us) 

Frozen in Time   D  (need I say any more about the appropriateness of this title?) 

Big Sciota    (becoming a D'Jam regular) 

Angelina Baker   D  (source of a not-very fierce debate on whether the title is actually Angelina THE Baker; the jury is still out...) 

Wabash Cannonball   (the first of Karl's train songs) 

The Darker the Night  E   (..... the harder to see your instrument....) 

Sweet Sue   (in honor of jam-attendee fiddler Susan H.?) 

Billy in the Lowground  C   (gotta check to see if this tune has lyrics.....) 

Midnight on the Water  D  (in light of the weather, probably needs the more apt title of Midnight on the Ice) 

Just Because   (about a naughty gal whose "Santa" took her off the list ...) 

Over the Waterfall  D   (definitely another slippery slope these days) 

Sledd Ridin'  A  (two "d"'s, but the double entendre (?) is quite apt for this season) 

Evangeline  A  (quite a beautiful song, sung beautifully by Jude) 

Southern Flavor  Em   (though even the South is being hit with some very cold "flavors") 

White Freightliner  C  (Karl's second train song ...) 

Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia  (why are we NOT surprised that Nico would do a song about West Virginia....?) 

Panhandle Rag  D  (song done as my contingent of hardy jammers left for Home Sweet Home ...) 

Note A:  Hopefully we can get some more bass players to spell Kim these evenings. As stated before, upright bass players not only stand up the entire jam, but they also are required to play all through each and every song while some of us can occasionally take a rest. Of course, the (sole) bass player can sit out a few songs, too, but it's a kind of risky, possibly anarchistic move..... 

Note B: Ben reminded us that next Thursday at MOM's (January 11) there will be special, professional video taping of the D'Jam there for lots of reasons. Ought to be the usual D'Fun. 

Note C: I'm planning (and offering as a general idea to others)  on bringing my mini-tape recorder (which I prefer over my iphone recorder - for no particular reason) to future jams so that when I am practicing at home, I can use it for  "play-along" sessions (which I hope to be more helpful than merely a metronome). Also good for reviewing jam songs that I want to get more familiar with. I know I can get such tunes on YouTube, but they may not be in the same key nor at the same tempo. It would also give me the chance to listen to my own instrumentals and thus hear how much pain my rookie fiddling inflicts on my oh-so tolerant fellow jammers - and appreciate that I've not been bludgeoned (yet) by any offended banjo/mando/guitar pickers.... 

Be well ... and think warm,

Some of the many songs and tunes we've played over the years, and continue to add to the ever-growing list.

Act Naturally  C 

After Midnite  G 

Alabama Jubilee  C 

All Prayed Up  A 

Amazing Grace  G 

Angel Band  G 

Angelina Baker   D 

Armadillo Breakdown  A 

Aura Lee  G 

Back Up and Push  C 

Bad Moon Rising  G 

Bartender's Blues  G 

Big Sciota  G 

Bill Bailey  G 

Bill Cheatham  A 

Billy in the Low Ground   C 

Black Mt. Rag  D 

Blackberry Blossom  G 

Blue Kentucky Girl  B 

Blue Moon of Kentucky  A? 

Blue Ridge Mt. Home  G 

Bluegrass Stomp  D 

Boston Boy   C 

Bury Me Beneath the Willows  G 

Bye Bye Blues  C 

Cabin in Caroline   G 

Caravan  Cm 

Catfish John  G 

Cattle in the Cane  A/Am 

Cherokee Shuffle  A 

Church Street Blues  D 

Circle Be Unbroken  G 

Clinch Mt. Backstep  A 

Cripple Creek  G 

Crossroads  G 

Darlin' Corey  D 

Deck the Halls  G 

Dear Old Dixie  G 

Deep Elem Blues  D 

Dig a Hole in the Meadow  C 

Dim Lights, Thick Smoke  G 

Don't Give Your Heart to a Rambler  A 

Dueling Banjos  G 

East Tennessee Blues  C 

East Virginia  D 

East Virginia Blues  D 

EMD  Em  (Eat My Dust) 

Evangeline  A 

Faded Love  D 

Farewell Blues  C 

Fireball  G 

Fireball Mail   G 

Foggy Mt. Breakdown G 

Foggy Mt. Special   G 

Forty Years  G 

Freight Train  G 

Frozen in Time  D 

Gold Rush  A 

Golden Slippers  G 

Hey, Good Lookin'  C 

Hickory Winds  A 

Home Sweet Home   C 

House of the Rising Sun  Am 


I Am a Pilgrim  G  

I Know What It Means to Be Lonesome C  

I'll Fly Away  G  

I Saw the Light  G  

I Wouldn't Change You If I Could  D  

If I Lose  A  

In the Gravel Yard  G  

I've Endured  G  

I've Waited as Long as I Can  G  

John Hardy  G  

Just a Closer Walk  with Thee  D  

Just Because  G  

Keep on the Sunny Side  D  

Kentucky Waltz  D  

Lady Be Good  G  

Liberty  D ?  

Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad  A  

Limehouse Blues  G  

Little Maggie  G  

Lonesome Pines  G  

Long Journey Home  G  (aka Two-Dollar Bill)  

Long Lonesome Road  G  

Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good  G  

Lorena  G  

Love of the Mountains  G  

Maiden's Prayer  A  

Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor  G  

Man of Constant Sorrow  G  

Midnight on the Water  D  

Minor Swing  Em  


Nellie Kane  D  

Ninety-nine Years and One Dark Day  B  

Old Flames  A  

Old Folks at Home  G  

Old Home Place  G  

Old Joe Clark  A  

Old Spinning Wheel  C  

Over the Rainbow  G  

Over the Waterfall  D  

Panhandle Rag  D  

Paradise  D  

Red Haired Boy  A  

Red River Valley  G  

Red Wing  G  

Rickett's Hornpipe D  

Ring the Bell  D  

Ripple  G  

Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms  G  

Route 66  G  

Salt Creek  A  

Salty Dog  G  

Sandy Boys  A  

Satin Doll  C  

Say, Darlin', Say  G  

Shady Grove  Em or Dm or Am  

Shuckin' the Corn  G  

Silver Bell  G  

Sing Me Back Home  G  

Sittin' on Top of the World  G  

Smokey Mt. Memories  F  

Soldier's Joy  D  


Some Dark Hollow  A   

Someday Soon  C   

Southern Flavor  Em   

Sportin' Life Blues  C   

St. Anne's Reel  D   

Steam-Powered Aereoplane  G   

Summertime  Em   

Sweet Georgia Brown  F   

Sweet Sue  G   

Take Me Back to Tulsa   D   

Talkin' to the Wall  A   

Tell Me, Baby  G   

Tennessee Waltz  D   

This Land Is Your Land  G   

Today I Started Loving You  C   

Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down   G   

Trouble in Mind  G   

Turkey in the Straw  G   

Turn the Radio On  G   

Wabash Cannonball  G   

Wait a Minute  G   

Walkin' the Dog   G   

Waltz across Texas  E   

Water Is Wide  G   

Wayfarin' Stranger  Em   

West Virginia  Bb   

Whiskey before Breakfast  D   

White Freightliner  C   

White House Blues  G   

Why've You Been Gone So Long?  D   

Who Will Sing for Me?  G   

Wild Side of Life  G   

You Ain't Goin' Nowhere  A   

You Belong to Me  C