Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Al Smitley
  • Male
  • Hartland, MI
  • United States
  • 1968-1976 then minstrel banjo since…
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Al Smitley's Discussions

Email Notices

Started this discussion. Last reply by Chris Prieto Oct 27, 2017. 4 Replies

Can anyone tell me how to stop gmail notifications that tell me that someone replied to a posting I may have once responded to?Continue

Finale tags

Started this discussion. Last reply by Al Smitley Aug 18, 2017. 1 Reply

I think I've asked once previously about the somewhat comical end tag, "Shave and a haircut, two bits".  I don't recall getting an answer.  I presume it originated with an itinerant street vendor. …Continue

Baltimore Whig Convention Quick Step

Started this discussion. Last reply by Al Smitley Jul 26, 2017. 2 Replies

I got this tune (1840), from the Levy website.  A decent tune but I'm confused.The 1839/40 Whig Convention was in Harrisburg, PA.  The Democratic Convention was in Baltimore.  Just a mistake by the…Continue

EABG

Started this discussion. Last reply by Wes Merchant Mar 14, 2017. 3 Replies

Some time ago, I think it was Wes who said that there might be interest at the Pry House/Barn about rejuvenating the EABG.  Are there any updates about that?Continue

 

Al Smitley's Page

Latest Activity

Al Smitley replied to Strumelia's discussion Davy Crockett
"You beat me to it, Strum.  I don't remember much about the CD.  I guess I'll have to listen to it. I have to say, however, that if it was particularly compelling to me, I likely would not have forgot it and would be more familiar…"
Thursday
Al Smitley replied to Strumelia's discussion Davy Crockett
"I had to dig around for the CD that I've had for some time. Supposedly, he played the fiddle and I think the CD says that the fiddle shown on the front of the CD, may have been Crockett's.  In the notes, it says, "Inside the…"
Thursday
Al Smitley replied to Strumelia's discussion Davy Crockett
"It seems to be up, now."
Thursday
Al Smitley replied to Strumelia's discussion Davy Crockett
"I'd be interested but the site won't open.  I'll try again later. What's the gist?"
Thursday
Al Smitley replied to Mark Ralston's discussion seeking comments on primitive fretless
"Very interesting video and very nice sound!!  At 5:47 am, let me be the first to congratulate you!"
Jan 11
Al Smitley replied to Mark Ralston's discussion seeking comments on primitive fretless
"I hope you post something when you get it finished.  It will be interesting to hear how it sounds. .....and thanks for posting something.  First in 6 days!!  I was thinking of posting something....anything just to break the silence!"
Jan 1
Al Smitley commented on Paul Draper's photo
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White's Serenaders

"Tom, it's from the cover sheet I previously posted. I found it via Google images by typing "Minstrel Music" ("Minstrel", alone, didn't find it) When I clicked on "Visit", to visit the source page, I got…"
Dec 23, 2017
Al Smitley commented on Paul Draper's photo
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White's Serenaders

"I have to confess, though, that my Aspirin bottle is about half filled with brown rice."
Dec 22, 2017
Al Smitley commented on Paul Draper's photo
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White's Serenaders

"Actually, I think I might have originated the Aspirin bottle.  Paul? If there is another AEBG, Paul and I might give a workshop.  ;)"
Dec 22, 2017
Al Smitley commented on Paul Draper's photo
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White's Serenaders

"Hmmm.  I was never aware of this.  I wonder how it made it's way into the minstrel show."
Dec 22, 2017
Al Smitley commented on Paul Draper's photo
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White's Serenaders

"What is this? "
Dec 22, 2017
Al Smitley commented on Paul Draper's photo
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White's Serenaders

"This isn't the period print I had in mind but......."
Dec 22, 2017
Al Smitley commented on Paul Draper's photo
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White's Serenaders

"Hard to say.  Jim might be right.  I think I've seen a print of minstrel performers with a squeeze box."
Dec 22, 2017
Al Smitley replied to Tom Berghan's discussion De Ole Jaw Bone - need the piano sheet music
"Bottom line...... Should we find a way to pass along our discourse to the website? It is truly a shame to have such a great collection that is so unaccessible."
Dec 20, 2017
Al Smitley replied to Tom Berghan's discussion De Ole Jaw Bone - need the piano sheet music
"See, I'm still at a loss!  You mean, Tim, that I have to search while reciting celebratory terms?!?!? No wonder I've had such difficulty!"
Dec 20, 2017
Al Smitley replied to Tom Berghan's discussion De Ole Jaw Bone - need the piano sheet music
"Shhhhh!"
Dec 19, 2017

Profile Information

How did you find out about Ning Minstrel Banjo?
Member/contributor, Tim Twiss
How long have you played banjo?
1968-1976 then minstrel banjo since 2007. Stopped when Tim Twiss wanted me to play fiddle and play banjo, now, only to figure out best keys for various songs/tunes.
What kind of banjo(s) do you own?
Vega long-neck and Hartel Sweeney model

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Comment Wall (18 comments)

At 7:09pm on July 11, 2011, Tim Twiss said…
Hi Al. Do you prefer Friday or Saturday...Aug 5 or 6?
At 10:55am on November 26, 2011, John Masciale said…

Al,  That's the kind of thing you can either add as a link in a thread (there's a way to upload files to a given thread, click on the paperclip icon), or something as generally useful as that we can put under resources.  Elaine has been going through period songsters and has a list of over 1800 songs at this point from the time period.  The list is growing.  I would put your spreadsheet under documetation.

 

I find that the most useful thing about the Weidlich book is his index of Minstrel Songs and which instructor they are in.  It would be great to have some resources like that here on the site.

At 12:27pm on November 26, 2011, Tim Twiss said…

And there it is...thanks John. I lost sight of the fact you could add files of different types in the Documentation spot. Perfect.

At 11:21am on November 28, 2011, John Masciale said…

Al,  Thanks for sending the tutorial index.  I now have it posted on our documentation page.

At 12:06pm on November 28, 2011, Tim Twiss said…

John...what format is that? New Excel? I could open Al's old one, but not this. Perhaps open office?

At 1:44pm on November 28, 2011, Tim Twiss said…

Never mind...answered my own question...open office for those who are behind.

What a great contribution Al...

At 8:09am on February 3, 2012, Ian Bell said…

Al,

I'm not a re-enactor (though I do have a suit of funny clothes in the closet) so I usually don't always have to limit myself to completely period-appropriate performances. When I am doing a historic perfromance I use the "period" instruments that I happen to play — wooden flute, Scottish smallpipes, fiddle and sing unaccompanied. I've never earned the trick of self-accompaniment with fiddle. It's all I can do to play in tune when I'm not singing. 

I mostly do 1812 songs from the Canadian point of view. My repertoire  comes from old manuscripts and early published sources and also includes songs of the time that survived to be collected as part of the folk tradition in Ontario. I've been accumulating this stuff since the early 80s. Canada was much less urban than the eastern US at that time so there weren't nearly as many printed broadsides produced up here. Your Library of Congress website has lots of American 1812 songs online. (I'm envious)

In a concert setting, I'll usually perform this stuff in a more "folksingerly" context, as music from the past that has survived into the present. I use non-period instruments like steel-string guitar, mandolin and concertina and arrange songs to suit my own tastes — which to most people's ears are probably pretty arcane.

At 8:10am on February 3, 2012, Ian Bell said…

Clarifying a bit of bad writing in previous comment - I meant Canada was less urban in 1812 - not the 1980s!

At 7:33pm on May 22, 2012, Jeff said…
I live in Midland
At 8:54pm on March 22, 2013, Tim Twiss said…

Hey Al...the first Thursday of every other month is approaching. Want to join me again? Love to add some of those crazy early ones we have discussed.

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