Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Click Link:  Ole Virginy Break Down

 My version of an old war horse.  Very much influenced by performances of Mark Weems and Joe Ayers.  Imitation is the greatest form of flattery!  ;-)

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Ole virginny break down in de islands - nice!

Thanks Paul!  Its funny because the Caribbean feel was entirely unintentional.  I heard Joe Ayers play this great 16 bar riff between the verses and I "borrowed it."  Then I added another 16 bar riff kind of echoing the melody to round it all out (the folk process they call it).  It never occurred to me that it has a Caribbean feel ... but since you and one other person have pointed it out, I can hear it.  LOL

Paul Draper said:

Ole virginny break down in de islands - nice!

I hear that Caribbean flavor in a lot of what Joe Ayers plays... in the past I have attributed that to his gourd banjo.  Gourd banjos have a tone that always puts me in mind of Jamaican steel drums.  But now I see that there is indeed a distinct Caribbean rhythm going on here- in your version, Mark Weems', and (perhaps originally) from the Ayers playing.  There's a lightness to it, and a syncopation similar to other music from the islands.

Agree, and of course many people, if not most on THIS site I think, understand that “plantation music” in the first quarter of the 19th century was directly descended from the Caribbean archipelago, for obvious reasons, and I believe that both Joe and Mark often display that in their performances more than most. I’m a big fan!  The later we move into the 19th century it lessens as it becomes more and more of a cultural gumbo in America. 

Strumelia said:

I hear that Caribbean flavor in a lot of what Joe Ayers plays... in the past I have attributed that to his gourd banjo.  Gourd banjos have a tone that always puts me in mind of Jamaican steel drums.  But now I see that there is indeed a distinct Caribbean rhythm going on here- in your version, Mark Weems', and (perhaps originally) from the Ayers playing.  There's a lightness to it, and a syncopation similar to other music from the islands.

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