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The Ragpicker String Band

Mandolinist Rich DelGrosso, Guitarist Mary Flower and multi-instrumentalist Martin Grosswendt have earned steady streams of praise for their outstanding string skills. They strum and pick up a storm on their debut album together as the Ragpicker String Band — but it’s their tight trio harmonies that especially dazzle. The acoustic dream team summons the spirits of everyone from the Mississippi Sheiks to Kweskin and Crumb with their vibrant spin on prewar folk-blues.

  1. Honey Babe
  2. Minor Blues
  3. Google Blues
  4. Blue Monk
  5. Clean Up At Home
  6. Motel Towel
  7. Baby Where You Been
  8. Black Mattie
  9. Lonely One In This Town
  10. By Your Side
  11. Milk Cow Blues
  12. Trimmed and Burning
  13. Street Doctor Blues
  14. Bruno’s Dream
The Ragpicker String Band$20.00 + Shipping & Handling



When My Bluebird Sings

Now available, Mary’s most recent all solo CD.

Mary Flower’s contralto voice and confident playing of guitars and dobros on this solo album square an abiding interest in folk tradition with empathy for the blues. using even-tempered resolve, this Portlander mixes lyricism and a soupcon of sensuality in captivating original music. “Can’t Take It With You” has her offering witty reflections on cutting the mortal cord, while “Delta Dream” finds her singing about rural life in Louisiana with an understanding well beyond that of any tourist.Several fascinating instrumentals sustain a balance between bluesy restlessness and playfulness–dig those lap-slide dobros. At all times Flower communicates the weight of her sense of conviction.
-Downbeat magazine

Released: August, 2014

  1. So Far Doin’ Alright
  2. Ragtag Rag
  3. Delta Dream
  4. Suspendimento
  5. My Bluebird
  6. Ruckus Rag
  7. Millwood Waltz
  8. Can’t Take It With You
  9. Humbug Creek
  10. Sashay My Way
  11. Bicycle
  12. Snail On A Rail
  13. Atchafalaya
Mary Flower - When Bluebirds Sings$20.00 + Shipping & Handling




Misery Loves Company

An artist whose mastery has elevated her to the highest ranks of roots music, Mary Flower is celebrated for her instrumental skills and engaging vocal style. Her new Yellow Dog Records release, Misery Loves Company, finds Mary hosting eleven musicians who join her for a series of duets.

Along with Mary’s dazzling guitar and unmatched lap steel, the record features empathetic performances from some of blues and roots music’s most accomplished practitioners.

Mary’s fourth Yellow Dog release is a stripped-down collection of a dozen songs. Calling upon the talent pool in her home town of Portland OR, she sat down with ten instrumentalists — and one singer — to make her most intimate record to date. Misery Loves Company features a staggering variety of great players, from jazz pianist Dave Frishberg to multi-instrumentalist Colin Linden. It’s a testament to Mary’s ability to bring out the best in her collaborators.

Released: October 11, 2011

  1. Hard Day Blues
  2. Recession Rag
  3. Death Letter Blues
  4. Jitters
  5. Way Down in the Bottom
  6. Goin’ To Sit Down On The Banks Of The River
  7. Boogie Woogie Dance
  8. I’m Dreaming of Your Demise
  9. Miss Delta
  10. Devil’s Punchbowl
  11. Shake Sugaree
  12. Scrapper’s Blues
Mary Flower - Misery Loves Company$20.00 + Shipping & Handling




Bridges

In unearthing obscure gems from the songbooks of 1920s and ’30s America to complement her own rootsy compositions, Flower explores and illuminates the complex relationships between Piedmont blues, ragtime, jazz, and old-time gospel music. Unconventional instruments such as piano, tuba, accordion, clarinet, mandolin, and saxophone flesh out the arrangements on 14 tracks that, taken together, reveal Flower to be capable of remarkable nuance — as well as more stylistic diversity than just about any other artist currently recording under the “acoustic blues” banner.

Released: February 10, 2009

  1. Rhythm of the Road
  2. There Ain’t No Sweet Man That’s Worth the Salt of My Tears
  3. Backwater Blues
  4. When I Get Home I’m Gonna Be Satisfied
  5. The Ghost of the St. Louis Blues
  6. Slow Lane to Glory
  7. On Revival Day / There’s Going To Be the Devil To Pay
  8. Portland Town
  9. Daughter of Contortion
  10. Big Bill’s Blues
  11. Temptation Rag
  12. Up a Lazy River
  13. Blue Waltz
Mary Flower - Bridges$20.00 + Shipping & Handling




Instrumental Breakdown

In response to frequent requests for recordings featuring her guitar playing, Instrumental Breakdown compiles the instrumental tracks from her critically acclaimed albums Honey From the Comb, Ladyfingers, Ragtime Gal, and Bywater Dance, along with a couple of newly-recorded tunes.

These tracks feature Mary’s intricate guitar – both solo as well as with backing from a who’s who of roots notables, including Jon Cleary, Tony Furtado, Fritz Richmond, Pat Donohue, Woody Mann, and Dr. Michael White. Mary’s distinctive and melodic songwriting is also on center stage, as nineteen of the twenty tracks are her original compositions.

Released: February 6, 2007

  1. Black Rat Swing
  2. Raise the Devil
  3. Terminal Rag
  4. Black Dog Rag
  5. Hobo’s Hop
  6. La Grippe
  7. Good News Waltz
  8. Hula Hoedown
  9. Monon Blues
  10. Three Sisters’ Waltz
  11. Ladyfingers
  12. Crooked
  13. Hudson River Rag
  14. Jesses’ Jump
  15. Ragtime Gal
  16. Arkansas Ramble
  17. Slovak Stomp
  18. Maplewood
  19. Monkeys On A Binge
  20. Song For Samantha
Mary Flower - Instrumental Breakdown$20.00 + Shipping & Handling




Bywater Dance

“Elegant” and “funky” aren’t words you’d expect to find in the same sentence, let alone used to describe the same album. But Mary Flower, one of America’s finest blues and roots performers, pulls off that feat with Bywater Dance. A singer with a springwater-clear voice and an accomplished fingerstyle guitarist who also plays flawless lap slide, she reaches to the deepest roots of American roots music for her Yellow Dog Records debut.

Bywater Dance brought Mary to a steamy district just downriver from the French Quarter, where her masterful guitar was joined by some of the Big Easy’s finest – Henry Butler, Jon Cleary and Dr. Michael White, among others. You’ll hear rolling rhum-boogie piano, moaning Creole clarinet, ragtime washboard and primally funky sousaphone, as Mary is joined by each partner in turn for a marvelous musical dance.

The result sometimes sounds like Memphis Minnie fronting the Hot Five – neither strictly traditional acoustic blues nor straight New Orleans jazz, but a bewitching blend of both that is something new and different. Funky and folky, bluesy and beautiful, Bywater Dance is one irresistible musical journey.

Released: September 13, 2005

  1. Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me
  2. Raise the Devil
  3. Crow Jane
  4. New Orleans Hop Scop Blues
  5. La Grippe
  6. Last Kind Word Blues
  7. Terminal Rag
  8. Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?
  9. Papa’s On the Housetop
  10. Hudson River Rag
  11. Nobody’s Fault But Mine
  12. Main Street Blues
  13. Built Right On the Ground
  14. Good News Waltz
Mary Flower - Bywater Dance$20.00 + Shipping & Handling




Ragtime Gal

  1. River Of Joy
  2. Hobo’s Hop
  3. Mood Indigo
  4. Monon Blues
  5. Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning
  6. Ragtime Gal
  7. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
  8. Three Sisters’ Waltz
  9. Monday Morning Blues
  10. Maplewood
  11. Arkansas Ramble
  12. Dink’s Song
Mary Flower - Ragtime Gal$15.00 + Shipping & Handling




Ladyfingers

  1. Virginia Bound
  2. Ladyfingers
  3. Some Cold Rainy Day
  4. Baby Please Don’t Go/Green Onions
  5. Bluesette
  6. Going Down Slow
  7. Run Sinner Run
  8. Can’t Afford To Lose My Man
  9. Monkeys On A Binge
  10. I Almost Lost My Mind
  11. Yes Sir That’s My Baby/I’ll See You In My Dreams/Darktown Strutters Ball
  12. Song For Samantha
Mary Flower - Ladyfingers
$15.00 + Shipping & Handling




Rosewood and Steel

  1. Your Baby Gave You Nuthin’ But the Blues
  2. Midnite Blue – Mary Flower
  3. Stomp Down Mama
  4. Arrangement for Me Blues
  5. Hannah’s Song
  6. Mystery Train
  7. Pony Blues
  8. Cock-A-Doodle Blues
  9. Two Days Straight
  10. Cypress Grove Blues
  11. Can’t Sleep for Dreaming
  12. Roll on, Mississippi, Roll On
  13. Old Guitar
Mary Flower - Rosewood and Steel
$15.00 + Shipping & Handling




Instructional DVDs

Lap Slide Blues for the Solo Player

Hone Your Skills in Open D
Taught by Mary Flower
Level 3 60 minutes
$30.00 + Shipping & Handling




Lap Slide Blues DVDJump-start your lap slide guitar adventures! Veteran blues performer Mary Flower’s exciting lesson gives novices all the necessary playing tools, and experienced guitarists will be delighted by the more challenging techniques
and powerful songs she teaches. Playing in open D (DADF#AD) provides rich, ringing sounds and open access to the full slide guitar experience.

A clear and thoughtful instructor, Mary first covers all the important skills: handling the bar, finding the notes, using hammer-ons and pull-offs, vibrato, harmonics, hand muting, monotonic and alternate-bass fingerpicking and more. She then gets into the nitty-gritty details of some deep and compelling traditional blues songs:

  • The well-known one-chord standard Baby Please Don’t Go
  • Tampa Red’s Boogie-Woogie Dance
  • The ageless hymn, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  • The infectious r&b groove of Green Onions
  • Son House’s haunting Death Letter Blues

In each example, Mary illustrates the power of the slide blues sound and brings turnarounds, rhythms, chord progressions, fingerpicking patterns, bass lines and improvisations to the learning player.

Exploring 8-Bar Blues

Seven Songs, Progressions and Variations in E
Taught By: Mary Flower
$30.00 + Shipping & Handling




Mary Flower - Exploring 8-Bar BluesHere’s everything a learning guitarist will need to get into the infectious 8-bar blues form. Mary Flower brings her expert musicianship to seven exciting arrangements, helping both novice and more advanced fingerstyle blues players develop important guitar skills. You will come away with a wealth of techniques, great songs and new insights into your instrument.

Mary starts with simple strums and basic turnarounds for her version of How Long Blues. She gradually adds chords, progressions, licks, bass lines, picking patterns and other challenging ways to bring this and other great songs to life.
Blood Red River illustrates the “stumble-thumb” right hand; Willie McTell’s Some Old Lonesome Day incorporates a cool walking bass; Big Bill Bronze’s classic Key to the Highway uses a monotonic bass and a classic bent-note lick; a variety of bass runs, turnarounds and licks enhances Skip James’ Crow Jane; the folk/blues standard Trouble in Mind brings in a jazzier chord progression; and in a big finish to the lesson, Willie McTell’s Searching the Desert For The Blues combines all the techniques in a challenging finale.

A Crash Course in Open Tunings for Guitar

75 minutes, Music and tab enclosed

$30.00 + Shipping & Handling



Mary Flower - A Crash Course in Open Tunings for GuitarYou can get ringing notes, rich tones and textures simply by retuning your guitar to an open chord. On this easy exploration for novice players, Mary Flower teaches some tunings that will help you play beautiful sounding songs and instrumentals almost immediately.

An expert player and an experienced instructor, Mary helps you work out well-known songs or instrumentals for each tuning. She starts with a simple one -dropping the bass E string to D – and teaches a basic but lovely fingerpicking version of the folk hymn, I’ll Fly Away.

You’ll then learn how to get into open G, G6, D and D minor tunings. Along the way, Mary shows how to embellish your guitar work using various chord positions, scales, harmony lines, hammer-ons, pull-offs and other essential techniques.

Songs include the traditional instrumental, Spanish Fandango; the powerful folk tune John Henry; a “carnivalesque” tribute to Bo Carter; and gospel/spiritual songs Amazing Grace, I shall Not Be Moved, Do Lord and Jesus Is On the Main Line.

Blues Guitar Arrangements

60 minutes, Music and tab enclosed

$30.00 + Shipping & Handling



Mary Flower - Blues Guitar ArrangementsLearn five classic blues songs, especially arranged for intermediate-level guitarists who want to explore exciting new styles and repertoire. Mary Flower’s clear, step-by-step instruction will make these pieces fun to play for anyone with some prior knowledge of blues fingerpicking technique.

Mary starts off with Leroy Carr’s Papa’s on the Housetop, first strumming the basic chords to get you quickly into the tune. She teaches you how to play the melody on the high strings, then adds harmony notes and finally finishes the arrangement with a hot New Orleans bass line.

She then launches into equally detailed instruction for Bessie Smith’s Backwater Blues, with moving basses and unusual harmonies; Memphie Minnie’s Black Rat Swing, played in both standard and open D tunings, Jimmy Oden’s Going Down Slow, a 12 bar shuffle/groove blues, using “a combination of Charlie Pattone and Jimi Hendrix licks” and New Orleans Hop Scop Blues, another great Bessie Smith ragtime blues.

Mary’s arrangements are challenging, fun to play and filled with musical ideas that will inspire you and add great songs to your repertoire.

Fingerstyle Blues Guitar in E

$30.00 + Shipping & Handling



Mary Flower - Fingerstyle Blues Guitar in EStarting with the Delta style where the thumb pounds out its steady, compelling bass, Mary shows you how to add single notes, up-the-neck bends, movable chords and powerful boogie-woogie patterns. Then she walks you through a plethora of blues turnarounds, the figures that add color and spice to your arrangements when you use them between vocal lines. Mary mixes classic and contemporary songs to add variety to her teaching and help you diversify your own repertoire. In this video, she uses Leroy Carr’s “Midnight Hour Blues” and Big Bill Broonzy’s “Key to the Highway” (made famous by Eric Clapton) as well as her own tunes to show you how blues techniques and structures really work and how to make them work for you. Songs and techniques are presented in a progressive order of difficulty. Tab is included on the CD-ROM. Level is appropriate for advanced/intermediate players.

Fingerstyle Ragtime Guitar

$30.00 + Shipping & Handling



Mary Flower - Fingerstyle Ragtime GuitarMary Begins by explaining the I-VI-II-V chord progression that gives the ragtime blues their essential sound and demonstrates it in all five keys in which it is traditionally used. Having established the basis, she then goes on to show you the tools that will help expand your improvisational abilities, including movable 7th chords, bass runs and melodies. To help consolidate your playing in the context of a real song she uses Blind Boy Fuller’s classic “Rag Mama” for getting you used to the progression and teaching you how to take it further. Mary then adds seven other tunes that use this progression, a medley of ragtime blues songs and her own tune, “Black Dog Rag”. The pieces and techniques shown on this video are arranged progressively, so you can see your playing improve as you go along. Tab is included on the CD-ROM. Level is appropriate for advanced/intermediate players.

Guitar Arrangements in Dropped D Tuning

$30.00 + Shipping & Handling



Mary Flower - Guitar Arrangements in Dropped D TuningMary will show the roadmap for playing in dropped D tuning. This includes arranging melodies as well as holding down the bass for a complete sound. Mary also demonstrates playing in other keys while staying in dropped D, a wonderful technique rarely used.

Songs taught:
I’ll Fly Away
River of Joy
Papa’s on the House Top
Memphis Town
Mornin’ Blues
Louis Collins
I Know You Rider
Virginia Bound
Mystery Train
Hard Times
Nobody’s Dirty Business
(Also performs Monon Blues and Ragtime Gal)