Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Ever seen those Union Army reunion books....lyrics to their favorite songs? Perhaps we could have one...something cool to use there and take home. It could include popular verses to tunes most of us know...the common ones we all sing together. Dan Tucker, Camptown, Old Jaw Bone, Jonny Boker, Keemo Kimo, Rose of Alabama etc.

We can get more people to join in...put a few chord symbols on...everybody could join in.

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If the songs come together and you need a cover for the booklet, let me know. I'll make a hand lettered, decorated period type cover. I did calligrapy, all kinds of hand lettering and art and sign painting for 20 years.

Tim, this is a great idea!

 I have been planning to post a question concerning songs most likely to be played at the AEBG. Something like a top ten list would allow attendees like me, who are fairly new to the genre, more time to prepare.

I am currently playing, with varying degrees of proficiency, around 25 minstrel tunes.

I would love to have a list of those tunes that are most often played at a banjo gathering.

Hmm... sounds just like the book John & I are putting together...kinda sorta :)

We could make it a PDF download and folks can do it themselves. We should just agree on good (common) verses, keys. Melody optional.....really simple.

Might be simple enough if we just have lyric sheets.

So...let's list the top 10 or 15 songs we know we will hear.



Just Union songs?  How about our friends from the South?  We must be all-inclusive, you know.  I have "waw" veterans from both sides of the conflict in my ancestry so I hearby appoint myself Chief Arbiter of touchy war songs.

Great idea, of course.  The reason I don't work up too many of those "specialized" lyrics is that they don't always work for a broad spectrum of playing engagements.  My brain can only hold so many lyrics so better to go for the generic lyrics.

It should be fun singing the different versions.  Just about 14 weeks to go!!

What I meant was, I have seen (and possess) some of them. They are just booklets with words.

A good example of what to do with a large group of people. 

Quick sample. Sorry Southern brothers.
Tim Twiss said:

What I meant was, I have seen (and possess) some of them. They are just booklets with words.

A good example of what to do with a large group of people. 


Good stuff, Tim.  "Happy Land of Caanan" is a tune we should play.  I'm sure there are Northern and Southern versions of this.  And probably some earlier political versions, too.

Here's 10 pretty popular ones


Boatman's Dance

Camptown Races

De Old Jaw Bone

Jonny Boker

Keemo Kimo

Lucy Long

Old Lud Gals

Old Tare River

Rose of Alabama

Glendy Burke

Walk Jaw Bone 

This might just be a quirk in my personal preferences but I wonder if it would also be advantageous (particularly to those of us who are gaining a grip on this genre) to include several different tempo types among the list.           A waltz, schottische, something 6/8, etc.   If I were to change anything about the repertoire of jam sessions I've been to, I would vary the tempo a bit more.  Again, maybe this is just a quirk of mine.

I don't want to go too crazy with this stuff. Just trying to get some common popular tunes we can all enjoy at AEBG IV based on past experience.

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