13 June 2015


An unusual song in the Tuba Skinny repertoire is Dodo Blues. For a performance,

However, for the existence of this song we must thank not some obscure hill-billy of the 1920s but rather the Australian blues singer and composer C. W. Stoneking. Born in Katherine, Australia, in 1974, this gentleman, of American parentage, became addicted to the raw blues as played in the 1920s and 1930s by such performers as Leroy Carr. Now, in the 21st Century, he writes, performs and sings in just that 1920s manner, together with his unusual backing group, The Primitive Horn Orchestra (who have more than a passing resemblance to Tuba Skinny).

C. W. Stoneking wrote Dodo Blues in about 2005 and you can hear him performing it on YouTube:


You will note that he performs it in the key of Ab. Tuba Skinny go for Eb, to suit Erika's voice.

If you want to add the tune to your repertoire or play along with it, you will find it easy to pick up. The main eight bars use the Four-Leaf Clover Chord Progression; and the Middle Eight chords are the same as those of dozens of other tunes (Yes, Sir, That's My Baby, We'll Meet Again, On the Sunny Side of the Street, for example).
Correspondent Tom Corcoran has sent me this comment:

I've been listening to and watching a lot of jazz tenor banjo recently and your post today reminded me about CW Stoneking. I saw him perform  in Dublin and he puts on a fantastic show. His performance is a series of crazy stories interspersed with songs. and his banjo playing is an absolute delight.

Eddy Davis has a great series of posts on BanjoHangout that highlight his banjo style and skill and there are lead sheets and videos available for some of the tunes. His version of the Louis Armstong tune, "Wild Man Blues" is worth a listen (with "Memories of You" tagged on for good measure).