Category Archives: CDs

Vernon Spencer Track Notes

FRC726

Track notes by Tricia Spencer

  1. Intro (by Wilbur Foss) (0:31)  Wilbur and Elizabeth Foss ran the Yankton, SD, fiddle contest where our family competed during the ’70s, ’80’s, and early ’90s. As a kid, I couldn’t wait for this contest. You would get your picture taken, record a tune for the album, receive goodie bags from the town, and see all of your worldly friends. I heard a lot of great fiddling at this contest from Canada to Missouri and beyond.
  2. Spotted Pony (Vernon) (1:45)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar, Iona Spencer: mandolin. This was one of the earliest tunes I heard and learned from my grandpa and perhaps one of his favorites. This tune was comes from Kansas City, MO fiddler Carol Hascall. She learned the tune from her dad, who learned the tune from Bob Wills’ dad. Many folks confuse this tune with the D version which is actually a tune called “Snow Shoes.” Dad on guitar and Grandma on mandolin.
  3. Stony Point (1:05)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle.  An interesting take on “Stony Point” which also showcases my grandpa’s sense of timing if he was left to fiddling by himself.
  4. Please Papa, Don’t Whip Little Danny (2:35)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar, Iona Spencer: mandolin, vocal.  I grew up to my grandma’s singing and remember all of the different songs she used to sing around the house. This was one of her favorites that she sang in the family band.
  5. Uncle Joe (1:04)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Iona Spencer: guitar.  This was a recording that my grandparents did for my dad while he was stationed in the Navy. This was during their electric phase. My grandma is playing guitar and my grandpa on fiddle.
  6. Wednesday Night Waltz (2:53)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Uncle Toad (Roger): guitar, Iona Spencer: mandolin.  Another recording for my dad while he was in the Navy. My grandma is on mandolin and my uncle Toad, who was about 15, is on guitar backing my grandpa up on fiddle.
  7. Hooker’s Hornpipe (1:42)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar, Iona Spencer: mandolin.  This was a tune that my grandpa recorded while we were at the Yankton, SD. fiddle contest. It might have been his contest tune for that year.
  8. Joys of Quebec (1:05)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle.  I can imagine that some of these recordings happened in between customers while grandpa was at the gas station. His wooden chair sat on a concrete floor and over the years, the combination of the old chair and his foot tapping wore holes in the floor.
  9. Banjo Signal (2:00)  Rod Spencer: banjo, Vernon Spencer: guitar,  Iona Spencer: mandolin.  This recording came from the Yankton, SD, fiddle contest. My family would often record a couple each year we attended. I grew up with my dad playing banjo, and I learned how to play guitar from him without him ever really teaching me. I asked my dad why he never learned how to fiddle. Without missing a beat, he said, “I don’t like fiddle.” He was serious about that as fiddling didn’t do much for him but he loved the sound of the banjo.
  10. Canary Waltz (2:02)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle.  My grandpa loved waltzes and had so many. His hands were so large that he didn’t use his third finger much. I remember him telling me that he wished his fingers could move like mine.
  11. Brilliancy (2:21)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: banjo.  A banjo and fiddle duet with father and son. I often think of how happy this must have made my grandpa to be able to make music with his son. I also love how my grandpa took notes out of this tune and inserted some interesting bowing in place.
  12. Big Springs (1:03)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar, Iona Spencer: mandolin, Pat Payne, bass.  This could be my grandpa’s version of “Hell Among the Yearlings” but I have never been able to confirm that with my dad or grandma as they both had said remembering titles wasn’t important to them. Howard and I started calling it “Big Springs” and the title has stuck. This was the beginning of the Spencer Family Band with my mom, Pat Payne, on bass
  13. Twinkle Little Star (1:08)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Iona Spencer: guitar.  My grandparents making music and being interrupted by the phone. I can tell my grandpa didn’t want to stop as those high notes are hard to hit and he was hitting them well. Crazy to think that documentation of a rotary phone might be important.
  14. Red Fox Waltz (1:20)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle.  Another waltz with my grandpa doing what he loved.
  15. Salty River Reel (1:48)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar, Iona Spencer: mandolin.  Another recording from the Yankton, SD, contest.
  16. A & E Waltz (2:06)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar, Iona Spencer: mandolin, Pat Payne: bass.  Another night with the Spencer Family Band.
  17. The Old Bulldog (1:27)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Iona Spencer: guitar.  This tune is also called “The Jenny Lind Polka.” I’m not sure where my grandpa got his title. My grandparents recorded this on reel to reel to send to my dad while he was in the Navy. My grandpa nicknamed my dad “Jug” because as a baby, he didn’t want to give up his bottle.
  18. Coming Down from Denver (1:37)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar, Iona Spencer: mandolin, unknown guitar.
  19. Fat Meat & Dumplings (1:08)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar. This seems to be a version of “Fat Meat and Dumplins” but no one in the family recalls that title. Grandma on typewriter.
  20. White Rose Waltz (2:31)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar
  21. Marmaduke’s Hornpipe (1:29)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, unknown guitars.  In my grandpa’s list of tunes typed out by grandma, he had this tune listed as “Mormon Duke’s Hornpipe.” This was from the Yankton, SD, contest but it might have been the year before my dad and I went with them. Whoever is backing him up doesn’t understand my grandpa’s timing.
  22. Tipperary (1:41)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: mandolin, Iona Spencer: guitar. This was one of my grandpa’s tunes that Dad learned while he was in the Navy
  23. The Old Man and The Old Woman (1:04)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar.  This Canadian tune made its way to the Midwest.
  24. Acorn Hill Breakdown (1:31)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar, Iona Spencer: mandolin, Pat Payne: bass.
  25. Clark’s Waltz (2:24)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: banjo, Iona Spencer: mandolin.
  26. Stone’s Rag (1:59)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Iona Spencer: guitar.
  27. Sail Away Ladies (0:57)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, unknown guitar player.
  28. Sailor’s Hornpipe (1:28)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Iona Spencer: mandolin, Rod Spencer: guitar.
  29. Golden Slippers (2:56)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: banjo, Iona Spencer: mandolin, Ira Ross: guitar.  I was pleasantly surprised when my grandma jumped in and took a little mando break.
  30. Swedish Waltz (2:29)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: banjo, Iona Spencer: mandolin.  Another waltz probably played on some Sunday afternoon. Grandpa on fiddle, grandma on mandolin, and dad on banjo.
  31. Oklahoma Redbird (1:17)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: banjo, Ira Ross: guitar.  My grandpa wasn’t afraid of B-flat and it was common in our area to have several tunes in that key. When my grandpa taught this tune to me, I spent half the time frustrated and the other half crying. I had no idea the difference between keys and scales and so nothing laid down as I thought it should. He was so patient with me. You can hear Grandma on the typewriter on this one.
  32. Vern’s Waltz in E (2:07)  Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar.  Grandpa and my dad playing a beautiful waltz in E
  33. Up Jumped the Devil (1:46) Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar, Pat Payne: bass. A tune originally recorded in the 1930s by the San Antonio, TX, fiddle band The Tune Wranglers.
  34. Woodchopper’s Breakdown (1:11) Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar, Pat Payne: bass. A very young Tricia confirms the key in the background.
  35. Steel Guitar Chimes (2:14) Vernon Spencer: guitar, Rod Spencer: banjo, Iona Spencer: mandolin. Another recording taken from the Yankton, SD, contest archives.
  36. The Jones Waltz (2:31) Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: banjo, Iona Spencer: mandolin, Uncle Jim: guitar.
  37. Durham’s Bull (Vernon) (1:24) Vernon Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar. Dad and Grandpa working up another one of grandpa’s contest tunes.
  38. Durham’s Bull (Tricia) (1:00) Tricia Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar. A young Tricia playing her grandpa’s tune at the Yankton, SD, contest.
  39. Spotted Pony (Tricia) (1:24) Tricia Spencer: fiddle, Rod Spencer: guitar. This is one of the first contest tunes I learned from my grandpa and this was recorded at the Yankton, SD, contest. This is me on fiddle and my dad backing me up. I was about 12 years old.

About the Old FRC CD Sets

A few of our long-time loyal customers were inquiring about the yearly sets we offered in the past. Please note that all of our CDs and DVDs are still available and with the capabilities of the new web site we are able to offer quantity discounts that allow you to make your own sets at the same lower prices.

In any case, we have attached a list of the past issues that were grouped  in sets. You can download the list here.