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Saturday, 23 November 2013 12:00

The Mound City Slickers 11/23/13 + Video

The Mound City Slickers 11/23/13 facebook.com/Mound-City-Slickers
Written by Kevin Edwards
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  • Date Recorded: November 23, 2013
  • Artist / Band: The Mound City Slickers
  • Hosting Show: Down Yonder
  • Sound: Dan Kinney
  • Video: Melissa James

The Mound City Slickers took their name from St. Louis' pre-Arch epithet, and these contra dance musicians are certainly a throwback to an earlier time.

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Contra dancing is a form of folk dance particularly popular in North America, where dancers face one another in a line or in a square, and the music is Anglo-Celtic in origin, with instrumentation that includes fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and bass. Dance instructions are called out, sometimes prior to the dance beginning and, often, a walk-through precedes the actual dance. That would have been very helpful with the Boogaloo and Watusi, but, alas, was not the case.

Formed by members of other St. Louis string bands, the Slickers seem to be having a great deal of fun playing contra and square dance music. However, for this Live at KDHX performance, the group, having no dancers to instruct, played some old American standards, including "Battleship of Maine," a song from so far back that it's unknown who wrote it, about a soldier stumbling through the 1898 Spanish-American War.

Also included are Blind Alfred Reed's "Beware, Oh, Take Care," an instrumental that should get toes tapping and an acapella version of an early 1800s riverboat song, "Shawneetown."

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