Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I heisted this link from Dan Gellert's posting on the Banjohangout...very cool recording. Y'all think it might be stroke/thimble style?

 

cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/mp3...8103d.mp3

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Wow!!  That's a cool recording! 

Now that's a good find. Sure has a snap on the rolls like it is stroke/thimble.

 

I am more intregued with each listen. Sounds like the "Grape Vine Reel" licks. I think it rather puts us right in line with some of our modern interpretations. If I were a player back then, I would have picked up on his flurry of notes in certain parts of the tune...stolen it! The interludes are really interesting, but the accompaniment is almost as you would expect it to be. I hope there are more of these.  

 

Yes, I'm thinking this is the strongest contender for a nearly-contemporary "Banjo Style" recording we've heard yet.
That's it right there. Minstrel banjo. Recorded. The past opens up. Amazing.
Thanks for the great time-travel opportunity. What a treat. Do we know anything about Charles Asbury the player?
I looked in "Monarchs" and found nothing..somewhere to start.

Ian Bell said:
Thanks for the great time-travel opportunity. What a treat. Do we know anything about Charles Asbury the player?

Not a monarch, I guess. I'll check my copy of "Lesser Peerage of Minstrelsy"  Tim Twiss said:

I looked in "Monarchs" and found nothing..somewhere to start.

Ian Bell said:
Thanks for the great time-travel opportunity. What a treat. Do we know anything about Charles Asbury the player?

Someone else on BHO noted the following:

Tim Brooks "Directory of Columbia Phonograph Artist's of the 1890's" includes the following entry on Charles Asbury:
Asbury, who specialized in "coon songs," had previously recorded for the New Jersey Phonograph Co., ca. 1892-1984(sic)"

That's a start...and maybe some more treasure lurking out there!

In the Mudcat Cafe there is a thread about an African American woman named Ella Robinson Madison:

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=109086

 

"Ella was born in 1854 in Saratoga Springs, New York, the youngest of 10 children. At the age of 15 she moved to New York City and marched in the last 14th Amendment Day parade. Her first acting role was as "Topsy" in "Uncle Tom's Cabin," a production which began at New York City's Grand Opera House and then toured Europe in 1878, beginning in England and then going to Germany and Switzerland.

When she returned to New York City, she formed a partnership with a Charles Asbury. This new act was called "The Virginia Duo" and opened at the Museum Theatre. Later "The Virginia Duo" toured Europe performing in Holland as well as England, Germany and Switzerland."

No mention of his race, but she was African American.  I would have to assume that this is the same guy.  .

 

Brian

It sounds a lot like Uncle Dave Macon's rendition of "Hold the Woodpile Down."    To my mind at least, Macon's recordings come as close to "classic" minstrel performances as we're likely to hear.   But who knows?   Anyway, this is a great early recording with great  interplay of banjo and singing. 

 

Bob

Compare the Charles Asbury version with this:  http://www.amazon.com/Hold-The-Woodpile-Down/dp/B001IYRLFO.  On the latter, I believe that Uncle Dave is playing with Sam and Kirk McGee (on 6-string banjo and guitar, respectively), although I could be wrong.   I can just see the three of them on the minstrel stage.

 

Bob

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