Martha?

Discussion of history's greatest guitar player.

Martha?

Postby LMark » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:56 pm

Palmer has gotten me curious about "Martha." Chet recorded it on "At Home" (and also later in 69?), but the album notes on "At Home" (I don't have the later album to consult) don't give a description of the tunes. Apparently it's a traditional tune, but I can't seem to scrape up any information on its origin. (Googling "Martha" is useless, for obvious reasons.) Library of Congress and Worldcat don't supply enough descriptive information for me to pin down the sheet music, even if it was ever issued as such. Can any of you historian types or musicography experts shed any light on it? Thx, LMark
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Re: Martha?

Postby Norm » Sat Jun 07, 2014 8:36 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXpLBmBlsS0

Mostly Martha by the Crewcuts is where Chet got his inspiration for it in 1955

The melody of the song is borrowed from the tenor aria usually known by its Italian title, "M'appari", composed in 1847 by the German Friedrich von Flotow. It was written for his opera L'Ame en Peine, but famous for its inclusion in his best-known work, Martha

I found reference to sheet music on Amazon and Ebay both
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
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Re: Martha?

Postby LMark » Sat Jun 07, 2014 10:59 am

Thanks for the help, Norm! I wonder if Chet's familiarity with the tune doesn't go back to the days when his father was a music teacher, too. LMark

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoHRXWJhHAU
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Re: Martha?

Postby Norm » Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:29 am

Possibly but I doubt it.
It was a pop hit in 1955 and I imagine Chet picked it to sound current and appeal to the buying public. When you contract with a company for X number of albums a year that means you need to get quality recordings of ten or twelve songs per album. So he would mix standards with pop and light classical stuff. Something for everyone

Most of us common pickers are pleased with ourselves if we learn a new tune every six months let alone polish a group of songs good enough to record.
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
Norm
 
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Location: redwood city ca

Re: Martha?

Postby Doug Working » Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:55 am

Mr Guitar was light years ahead of us normal folks, and in my opinion, light years ahead of every guitarist who ever picked up the instrument..
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Re: Martha?

Postby Norm » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:06 am

All of that is true but Chet was also pragmatic and understood how public tastes could change. With that in mind he invested in real estate and such to build his fortune knowing his popularity might disappear overnight sort of like Les Paul's career dove when rock came into being. The Les Paul guitar as we know it today was even discontinued for a while because customers disliked its weight. It came back in favor due to a wave of blues/rock musicians favoring and buying up the old ones.

Chet's popularity did last for quite a while but The Suits that run the industry stopped playing him on the radio so he was back to playing for guitarists. This still went well but by then record sales were not so desperately needed. His financial security was elsewhere and carefully managed.

He went out with his people wanting more...
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
Norm
 
Posts: 1320
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:36 pm
Location: redwood city ca

Re: Martha?

Postby Doug Working » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:22 am

Very true! We do indeed want more, and can never seem to get enough Chet.

It's an old show business adage, ("Always Leave 'Em Wanting More") and when I first started learning magic years ago, that principal was one of the first that I learned.

But in Chet's case, it only shows us how good he was, because after 100 plus albums, you'd think we'd be satisfied! But we're not. Most of us here have an insatiable appetite for more Chet, so that proves how very good he was. He was the quintessential country gentleman. The consummate guitarist.
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Re: Martha?

Postby Steve Sanders » Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:10 am

All this talk about the tune "Martha" reminded me about where I heard it in a movie. One of them John Wayne movies, not sure if it is "Rio Bravo" or "El Dorado" or maybe another one, but the one where the wounded bad guy runs into the saloon and tries to hide out behind the piano. Somewhere before all that happens and you hear the ol' piano player bangin' away he is playing "Martha". So next time you are settled in for a spell with a good ol' John Wayne movie, pay attention to the music. It must be an old popular tune. I believe Chet scoured all kinds of archives searching for tunes that would suit his taste and style. He had a knack for choosing songs. I like the older ones the best!! I think Chet would gauge some of the tunes by the Lawerence Welk test: Thank-a-you-boys-a that-a really set-a my toes-a ta-tappin'! I really like a good ol' toe-tapper and "thumber"!!! Norms mileage DOES vary! I believe he is running on high octane (that's a compliment)!!! Steve
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Re: Martha?

Postby Doug Working » Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:38 am

I think I'm in good hands. What I'm saying is the Chet influence in my playing is real. For years I've had a desire to play and learn the old songs because I learned from Chet that they are the most musical.

From Chet's records I have expanded my musical range and learned of scads of old tunes that I would have never knew existed! And that in turn sets me in motion wearing out the Google button learning the lyrics to these tunes, which Chet highly suggested.

But recently, since we have been playing in nursing homes, I have been highly motivated to intensify my search for the older tunes, after a member of our group suggested that the folks in the nursing home would LOVE to hear these old tunes played solo on the guitar.

My searching has turned up dozens of these old tunes, a good many of which Chet never recorded. So, the work continues, and I don't think, for guitarists who aspire for excellence, that it ever ends. It's certainly a lifelong endeavor.

But it's an honor, is it not, since Mr. Guitar passed the torch on to you and me?

His legacy and his INFLUENCE lives on, and with the Lord's blessing, I pray it endures for many generations to come.
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