Tag Archives: Vassar Clements

Down Yonder

Down Yonder is a good old time tune that you don’t hear so much any more. My first serious exposure to it was when I listened to the “Circle Album.”

Doc Watson asked, “How does that go, Vassar?” and away they went. That version got published by Oak Publications. Alas, it is out of print.

Scotty Stoneman’s version is in the Phillips Collection. Like Vassar’s it’s advanced and rakish, a no-holds-barred music event.

What I’m offering here is quite basic. But, there are a few tricks worth noticing.

The kickoff is a particular bow technique that requires good control of the bow while playing near the frog. Here’s the tip: Keep the bow close to the string for the repeated down-bows.

Once you get going, the plan of slurs or separate bows should feel natural and easy.

Fiddle tab chart for Down Yonder

And here is the pdf of Down Yonder.

Old Joe Clark

One occasion when I got to observe Vassar Clements was when he was promoting his new album at a record store. He was mainly holding his fiddle and chatting with fans, when suddenly Mike Marshall breezed into the store, pulled out his fiddle and got into a hot twin fiddle version of Old Joe Clark with Vassar.

I was astounded, both by the virtuosity displayed, and by the unrehearsed excellence of the performance. It was a clear clue for me of the high musical potential of fiddling.

In my book, 43 Fiddle Tunes in Tab, I have a beginner version of this tune. This chart is a little more advanced, and more typical of how you hear it played.

The fiddle tab chart for Old Joe Clark in pdf.