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What is a STOMP?
I LOVE'M!
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (6 votes) 
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ELCBK
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September 13, 2023 - 9:13 pm
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So, what exactly is a 'Stomp' in this Jazz genre? 

🤔... I don't think I've heard one I didn't like, but I could never figure out why they were called a 'stomp'. 

"King Porter Stomp and The Jazz Tradition" (PDF) - birth of the 'Swing Era'? 

 

In music and jazz harmony, the "Stomp Progression" is an eight-bar chord progression named for its use in the "stomp" section of the composition "King Porter Stomp" (1923) by Jelly Roll Morton...   Following the success of "King Porter Stomp", many other compositions were named after the tune, although many of these "stomps" did not necessarily employ the stomp progression. (Wikipedia) 

 

Personally, I think the "Stomp" has possibly more to do with "Stop-time" - stemming from places, like the rests in syncopation, where you can stomp your feet. 

The sheet music for Joplin's "Ragtime Dance" contains the direction, "Notice: to get the desired effect of 'stop time', that the pianist will please stamp the heel of one foot heavily upon the floor at the word 'stamp'.  Do not raise the toe from the floor while stamping."

 

The Story of Jazz: New Orleans Stomp #7 - Louis Armstrong 

 

I mostly see Fiddle 'Stomps' in Canada, Western & West Coast Swing, and Creole/Cajun, but I've been wondering about the influence or relationship to "Honky-Tonk". 

The first music genre to be commonly known as honky-tonk music was a style of piano playing related to ragtime but emphasizing rhythm more than melody or harmony; the style evolved in response to an environment in which the pianos were often poorly cared for, tending to be out of tune and having some nonfunctioning keys. 

Honky-tonk music influenced the boogie-woogie piano style, as indicated by Jelly Roll Morton's 1938 record "Honky Tonk Music" and Meade Lux Lewis's hit "Honky Tonk Train Blues."

 

Patti says this Don Messer tune is a 'Foxtrot'!  The Trad Tune Archive calls "White River Stomp" an 'Old Time Country Rag' - aka "Beaumont Rag"! 

 

Foxtrot?  ...feels like I entered a deep rabbit hole. 😳

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ELCBK
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I thought the Foxtrot was supposed to be a 'refined animal' dance back in the 1920's - what a surprise! 

"1920's Jazzy Foxtrot" - "...the ubiquitous use of the name 'Foxtrot'..." 🤣  I had NO idea tunes like "Minnie The Moocher" (Cab Calloway) was billed as a 'Slow Foxtrot'!

aaa4417b456cbf60074bf431d7956180.jpg

Wow, my Grandmother told me she taught dance lessons - the Foxtrot! 

Boop-oop-a-doop! 

So, I've got a couple sources saying the Foxtrot was danced to ragtime!  No doubt, a lot of SYNCOPATION (loving this even more now) in the early 20th Century music!  Stumbled on a Music History Course from Wayne State University (Detroit)!!!  

A few tidbits:

Foxtrot: 2 beats to the bar, each one divided into 2 equal parts, with the accent (backbeat) on the “and”: 1 and 2 and.

Honky-tonk two-beat (a. k. a. country rock beat): 2-beat rhythm with a heavy backbeat. 

[James Reese Europe] popularized the foxtrot, a dance with two beats and a strong backbeat. Some of these are called rags, such as the “Castle House Rag” of 1914, but there are differences between Europe’s orchestral rags and Joplin’s piano rags: 1.) Faster tempo.  2.) Less syncopation (less rhythmic conflict between parts).  3.) Chances for instrumentalists to improvise, as the drummer does near the end of “Castle House Rag.” 

Soon white bands played syncopated dances, and the foxtrot became the most important social dance of the 1920s and 30s. Now dancing to a syncopated (“black”) beat had become acceptable.

 

Back to Jelly Roll Morton (for a minute), I know there was a lot of competition between musicians - fostered some fabulous music!  Most of you won't be interested, but I'm getting more & more intrigued by Jelly - VERY COOL comparing Jelly's "Maple Leaf Stomp" to Scott Joplin's earlier "Maple Leaf Rag"

Jelly lit it on fire! 

These 2 'Stomps' are BROKEN DOWN like a Bluegrass tune - each musician taking a turn:

"Billy Goat Stomp" (Jelly Roll Morton), Eddy Davis (Tenor banjo) along with Conal Fowkes, Orange Kellin, Simon Wettenhall and Stan King - not quite the same impact of Jelly's original, but they are cookin' HOT!

Here's another one of MANY Jelly Morton Stomps! 

Tuba Skinny band plays "Kansas City Stomp" in New Orleans. 

VIOLIN SHEET MUSIC!  ...well, suppose it's a start, anyway. 😳 I think EasyViolinLesson might've met it's match with this tune!

 

...came to the conclusion that if I want to try this type of 'STOMP', I'll listen to more originals to get the rhythm down really well (I'm feelin' it!) & then just pull out what I hear as the basic melody & interpret it myself for the fiddle - think this is just gonna be another one of those personal things. 🙄

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ELCBK
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I have read in different places that 'Stomps' today are all Old Time & Bluegrass music!  I'm not so sure that some of the Canadian ones sound like that, but then again - what they call "Old Time" up there, doesn't sound like "Old Time" down here in the USA (to me anyway)... so maybe it's true(?)

 

I really like Jon's fiddling, & appreciate he's made videos of so many tunes familiar AND unfamiliar to me - I'm just not quite sure what to make of a 'breakdown Stomp'. 

 

...jeez - I still don't have a great understanding of what a 'breakdown' is... feel myself falling farther down the rabbit hole.  All I can ever find about breakdowns: they are lively, fast & in 2/4 or 4/4 time... could be just about anything!

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Gordon Shumway
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ELCBK
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Yep, and I understand when people talk about a 'breakdown' within a tune, but I'm having a hard time relating this type of 'breakdown' to some tunes called 'breakdowns' (even though Wikipedia mentions them briefly). 

...might be because I'm hearing them played on the fiddle - as a complete fiddle tune, not like something played as the fiddler's turn during a bluegrass jam, if that makes any sense. 

I'm using Jon Harkness as an example (Breakdown Playlist) - because he plays many really nice fiddle 'Breakdowns' that I haven't heard elsewhere (which doesn't mean much) - they just don't sound like anything Wikipedia is referring to. 

Might just be his style, but he's been true to trad (on the one's he plays I recognize) - and I don't know where he's from, but if it's the USA he's in the snow belt.

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ELCBK
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Don't know why I'm so amazed that some of the 'Jazzy Foxtrots' (of the 1920's-30's) sound related to 'Stomps'... Stomps, Foxtrots & Ragtime - are ALL 4/4, common time.  I'd swear some Foxtrots I've heard on piano rolls (like "Sweet Marie") were Rags - possibly a little less syncopated, but idk...

I've been trying to listen to more of Joe Venuti play (with Eddie Lang).  Surprised me with the fluctuation in tempo & the amount of swing, plus more syncopation than I expected for a Foxtrot - certainly NOT boring!

 

"Running Ragged" (1929) - FOXTROT!  Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Lennie Hayton & Frank Trumbauer.

 

"The Wild Dog" (1928) - FOXTROT!  Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Lennie Hayton & Frank Trumbauer.

 

"Black and Blue Bottom" (1926) - 'NOVELTY' (?) Foxtrot!  Joe Venuti & Eddie Lang. 

 

🤔... snuggle one of these up to a reel or hornpipe & I think I start to see Dezi Donnally!

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ELCBK
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Joe Venuti did record a 'Stomp' - the "Stockholm Stomp".  There's 2 versions here (Venuti played violin for the 1st band).  Really cool to compare - one's a little 'hotter' than the other!  The 2nd version starts at 02:50 minutes.

I have a bit of a new outlook - especially toward playing tunes in 4/4 time.  Think I might be able to have some fun, without completely losing the feel of a genre... maybe I only need to use the prefix, "Novelty". (lol)

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Ripton
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Now I gotta dig into the archives. Not sure why I immediately thought of Newfoundland and PEI (Canadian Maritimes) when I first saw this thread. 

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ELCBK
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@Ripton -

Thanks for making that connection! 

I do know Don Messer played the "White River Stomp", "Sugar Tree Stomp" & quite a few 'Breakdowns'.  Messer was an influential Fiddler in New Brunswick & PEI, as well as places in the US! 

I found that 'Breakdowns' are mostly classified as reels - but some are NOT (Bowing Down Home site).  I noticed they were notated in 'Cut Time' (Alla Breve) in "The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island" book by Ken Perlman, but didn't see any other defining factor.  ...idk, I believe there's plenty of good argument for notating IT Reels in 'Cut Time' anyway - if 'Cut Time' is supposed to be the defining feature of a 'Breakdown', it's not helping me.  

I might've happened upon some useful info at the Traditional Tune Archive, when I looked at "Saturday Night Breakdown"

Some excerpts:

This rag-time influenced reel was originally recorded in 1929 by fiddler Wil Gilmer with his group The Leake County Revelers, all of whom resided in and around Sebastopol, Mississippi.

"Saturday Night Breakdown" was equally popular in Canada, where it was given a "down east"-style treatment in the mid-20th century by radio and TV fiddlers Don Messer and Ned Landry. Don Messer recorded the tune in the early 1950's followed, in 1956, by New Brunswick fiddler Ned Landry (1921-2018), a three-time Canadian Open Fiddle Champion who received the Order of Canada and who was inducted into the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia halls of fame. A CBC program schedule for Friday, December 21st, 1945, records that it was played by Messer and his band The Islanders on his 5 P.M. broadcast (along with "Honeysuckle Schottische," "Haste to the Wedding" and "Cuckoo's Nest"). 

So, a 'Breakdown' is just a "rag-time influenced reel"?  ...may be the best description I'll ever get, but I've heard plenty of syncopated reels that are NOT called 'Breakdowns'! 😔  That description seems to fit 'Stomps' & the jazzy 'Foxtrots', too!

How's THIS for a comparison: "Sugarfoot Stomp" - basically tells me just about anything goes! 

1931

 

I thought if I listened to more examples it would help me see/hear more defining features, but I can listen to several 'Stomps' in a row, then several 'Breakdowns' in a row - it's as bad as listening to how varied the Jazzy Foxtrots can sound to me! 

...I like all this music, but I can't spend anymore time trying to figure out if there is something specific in one type vs another that I'm supposed to capture in my playing. 

Btw, the Bowing Down Home site has some sheet music notation & audio recordings of 'Breakdowns' and other PEI tunes!

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ELCBK
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@Strabo -

I meant to ask you (since you've played "The Sugar Tree Stomp") - do you notice anything that would reveal 'why' it's called a 'Stomp'? 

Thanks for the article link to fiddlin-arthur-smith (in the Ragtime & Swing on the Fiddle! Thread)! 

By the time other instruments like guitar, banjo, and bass began providing rhythm behind the fiddle, the shuffle was so embedded in the tunes themselves, that most old-time fiddlers maintained the shuffle in their music.

Arthur Smith changed all that. He let the back-up instruments provide the basic rhythm, and he simply glided along on top of the rhythm they provided. Although it sounds simple enough, this was a revolutionary new approach to fiddling. It meant that Smith’s music was designed not for dancing, but for listening. His tunes became known as “breakdowns,” rather than “hoedowns.” 

Whereas most old-time fiddlers pumped out the tunes with their bow arm, often using a separate bow stroke for each note, Smith developed what has been called the “longbow style.” This meant that he often used the full length of his bow to play a series of cascading notes, with the fingers of his left hand doing most of the work, rather than his bow arm.

 

This helps me understand why some of these tunes are called a 'Breakdown', but I'm still not exactly sure what is supposed to be the defining feature of a 'Stomp'

I'd certainly appreciate your opinion/observations on this. 😊 

 

It's cool to see a 'Stomp' is found in several genres, though!

Btw, thesession.org has notation for: "The Acorn Stomp" (Reel), "Oak Ridge Stomp" (Reel), "Intercontinental Stomp" (Reel), and "The Ballybranaghan Stomp" (Reel).  They made it a point to say they are 'Reels', but so what?  ...could just about mean anything in 4/4 time. 

The only thing I notice in listening & viewing the notation of these, is there is a bar (or 2) in each part that has an abrupt rhythm change - makes you stop & take notice. 

Could it be as simple as that? 

 

"Continental Stomp" - set from the King Chiaullee Band (The Isle of Man), David Kilgallon on fiddle!  Three tunes here - "Tune Generique", "Incontinental Stomp", "O Brother C'raad t'ou"!

 

"Bristol Stomp" - the Dovells  Sorry, I don't usually post music I ABSOLUTELY HATE, but for the sake of showing diversity I'll make an exception. 😒  I don't really see any of the qualities in this one (that I like in all the other 'Stomps").  I'm sure there's folks that LOVE this - just not me.

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ABitRusty
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"stomp"  ...never heard of such.  Until I read through this topic and watched a few.  My take is that technically speaking its a specific chord progression associated with a certain tune that used it first.   Then things got loose with the term and a song could have the word "stomp" in it which would mean nothing more than name only.  although they all seem to be in 4/4 .  

To Me.. the real "stomps" are those 20s 30s type foxtrottin swing type tunes which I wouldve just called Big Band type music.  My name probably associated with one of those time life cd collections that wouldve been advertised during the 80s. WW2 and juat prior type dance hall music.

  All the other fiddly type stuff is name only in my mind.   I base that on an hour or so of reading and watching down the rabbit hole..thanks Emily @elcbk 🫡🤨

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ELCBK
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Just noticed (at EasyViolaLesson) - they have scrolling play-along notation for "Kansas City Stomp" in a different key (Gmaj) than the violin version (Eb maj) - post #2)... interesting. 

So... I thought maybe I was missing something & they intended 2 different keys for Violin & Viola  - sync'd them up & played them together - UGH!  IT'S TERRIBLE!  Now I have NO idea why the EasyViolin/ViolaLesson sites did this. 😖  Don't they think Violists can play in Eb?

I still think I'd rather pick up the notes from Jelly Roll Morton's recording, because even the Violin version doesn't sound right, like they chose the wrong notes out of the original chords to transcribe! 

As you can hear in this recording, it IS supposed to be in the key of Eb Major.

Here's Jelly's piano solo from 1923: 

 

There are 3 Books of "Blues and Stomps" by Jelly Roll Morton - available to download from IMSLP (worth a small subscription cost), but they are piano scores. For Violin/Viola, you need to decide if you'll just play the root note of chords, or more - play the basic melody or challenge yourself.  Playing the basic melody (in the correct rhythm) is challenge enough for me. 😊 

I did find this version, but haven't tried it to see if I like it - maybe tomorrow.  The whole 2 pages (there is a key change on the 2nd page) can be viewed at SCRIBD - Kansas City Stomp - 30 day free trial sub if you want to download both pages.  

KansasCityStompViolinSheetMusic.pngImage Enlarger

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

Thanks for listening a bit! 

...worth sampling/skimming over, anyway? 

Yeah, I can't really tell much difference between the 'Jazzy Foxtrots' & the 'Stomps' - but they seem closer to 'Ragtime', than the 'Breakdowns'

 

I started listening to another offshoot of ragtime in the 1920'-1930's era, that kinda fits in here - "Stride Jazz Piano"YES, for Violin, Viola & Cello! 

Unlike ragtime pianists, stride pianists were not concerned with ragtime form and played pop songs of the day in the stride style. Ragtime was composed, but many stride pianists improvised. Some stride players didn't read music. Stride used tension and release and dynamics. Stride can be played at all tempos, slow or fast depending on the underlying composition and treatment the pianist is performing. On occasion a good stride jazz pianist might have the left hand shift into double time. (Wikipedia)

More improv in 'Stride', large bass jumps & famous "Cutting Contests" (virtuosic battles, even among other instrumentalists into the Swing Era), like in the film "The Legend of 1900" (1998). 

Clips from "The Legend of 1900": clip of the 1st piano war (LOVE THIS!), much more to it but here's the last part, a clip of the final piano war.  Most of the film soundtrack pieces were arranged by Ennio Morricone!  This last clip is where Tim Roth throws "The Crave" - (Morricone's arrangement) - Jelly's own tune, back in his face!  Here's Jelly's original

 

"Viper's Drag" - played by Nigel Kennedy (violin)!  FABULOUS!!! 

"Viper's Drag" - Fats Waller original (piano)!

Free sheet music for "Viper's Drag" - IMSLP (piano score). 

 

I really think this style of tunes should be explored more by Violin, Viola & Cello! 

 

Related Thread: Ragtime & Swing on the Fiddle! Thread

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Strabo
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After reading through all the comments and other perspectives, and listening to the various stomp tunes, I’m pretty sure that I do not know what a stomp is.

I do think that “stomp” is a term from an earlier time and that stomps seem to be mostly up-tempo tunes. Beyond that, it’s a mystery to me.

Of course music has plenty of other mysteries that I do not understand. For example, I  have a vaguely understand the composition of a 13th chord. But I haven’t the faintest idea of what it might sound like, how it sounds different from a 7th or 9th chord, or where it might fit into my simple world of I-IV-V.

I have been a music student for a long time, but the list of “incomprehensibles” just keeps getting longer!

Strabo

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ABitRusty
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Strabo said
After reading through all the comments and other perspectives, and listening to the various stomp tunes, I’m pretty sure that I do not know what a stomp is.

I do think that “stomp” is a term from an earlier time and that stomps seem to be mostly up-tempo tunes. Beyond that, it’s a mystery to me.

Of course music has plenty of other mysteries that I do not understand. For example, I  have a vaguely understand the composition of a 13th chord. But I haven’t the faintest idea of what it might sound like, how it sounds different from a 7th or 9th chord, or where it might fit into my simple world of I-IV-V.

I have been a music student for a long time, but the list of “incomprehensibles” just keeps getting longer!

Strabo

  

agree.   Im doing good to make what progress i have by sorta focusing in one area.   NOT..that its wrong to explore other styles, techniques.   Doing that will add things that I normally wouldnt try.   At some point though I have to decide to just be a observer for some things.  Ill probably dip my toes in something like Autumn leaves or All of me.. those type jazzy standard tunes... at some point... but I dont see trying the big band type tunes on here.   But glad i saw the topic and i like the music!  I reserve the right to modify that statement at a later date...😉🙂

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ELCBK
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@Strabo , @ABitRusty -

I REALLY, REALLY, appreciate that you both took some time looking at this music.  

Made me realized I completely glossed over the chord progression point I made in the OP! 

I didn't do an actual comparison of Ragtime progression vs Stomp 😔 & it may be the most important.  I also think chord 'coloring' (the bluesy stuff I'm hearing) is important & I've just recently come across info on extended chords (about using flatted 9ths) that might explain this.  This needs a closer look & I don't have time for it tonight. 

Very interesting (to me), comparing this music to syncopated Irish & Scottish Reels.  🤔... my thoughts take me back to the 1st time I saw/heard 'River Dance'!  Back then, I only knew all those feet sounded great, but 'River Dance' was 'Irish', kicked up a notch.

Excerpts from Wikipedia:

Riverdance is rooted in a three-part suite of baroque-influenced traditional music called Timedance.  At the time, Bill Whelan and Dónal Lunny composed the music, augmenting the Irish folk band Planxty with a rock rhythm section of electric bass and drums and a four-piece horn section.  Whelan had also produced EastWind, a 1992 album by Planxty member Andy Irvine with Davy Spillane, which fused Irish and Balkan folk music and influenced the genesis of "Riverdance".

 

The examples in this thread are still good for showing different levels of syncopation, some bluesy improv, virtuosic runs & leaps that we CAN practice on the Fiddle, Viola & Cello.  I'd like to fill up my 'toolbox' with as many riffs, rhythms, & tonal color goodies as I can.  I do admire musicians who play a broad spectrum of music (Fiddlerman!😊) and play 'their own way'.  Most recently thought about this when I discovered Nigel Kennedy (playing Viper's Drag in my last post). 

 

...worth thinking about how many tunes are passed on because they were learned from someone's special 're-imagining' of a tune - "from the playing of...", "so & so's version of...", AND THEY BECAME (will become) TRADITION.  MANY Nordic tune titles include the name of the person the tune was learned from - because it is different/was changed (& liked).  Nothing wrong with just learning some trad tunes everyone else knows, but hopefully we'll all find our own path(s) to explore a step (or 2) beyond that.

 

A 13th chord is cool several ways.

ANY 13th chord on the fiddle can be as simple as playing a 2 octave arpeggio, starting with the root of the scale it's in... what parts of a chord you choose to play (and how you might manipulate it) should enhance your chord progression.

Strabo, you just helped make some things 'click' for me, we should talk more about this in the Seventh & Extended Chord Harmony Thread - and it's easiest for me to 1st visualize how they work on a keyboard. 

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Mark
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Here ya go Stomp.

 

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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ELCBK
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@Mark -

Where were you with this 2 weeks ago - in time for the give-away? 🤣 

VERY interesting relationship to this thread, but the lyrics are important along with the music!  Right out tells ya when to 'stomp'!

Ben Gallaher - "Stomp" - (Official Lyric Video)

I like when he breaks to do the little pickin' thing at 00:17, 00:44, 01:05.

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ABitRusty
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thats a good one @Mark !  That fella can pick!   Kirk Franklin has a good Stomp from a few years ago.

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