I usually work as a one man band but sometimes I have a high school history teacher playing rhythm instruments for me. She plays the bones, jawbone and tambo. Even though I live in a large city (San Diego, CA), there are not enough people here who are interested 19th music to put together a minstrel band.
When I am doing living history as a one man band, and if I am singing songs like "De Ole Jawbone" or "Walk Jawbone" I play the jawbone instead of the banjo. Of course if she is with me, I play the banjo and let her play the jawbone.
For the past 8 years I have been portraying a musician who had been playing up in the "gold region" during the California gold rush.
I see that you are also a drummer so, I will add this. In my real life (when I was younger), I worked as a musician for many years. We worked 5 hours a night 6 nights a week playing rock, blues and rhythm & blues, We traveled around the United States. At that time I worked as a drummer and blues harmonica player.
For a few songs I put my tambo between my knees and with period drum sticks use the tambo as a drum while playing an 1850's size harmonica which is held in very simple one piece wire harmonica holder which I wear around my neck. I play the 1852 "California March" and play and sing a gold rush version of "Yankee Doodle".
I talk to Carl quite often. At one point, I was thinking about moving to Kansas. There is not much interest in history out here in "Californy" anymore.
As I told Carl, I am not doing Living History anymore. The California State Historic parks have become way to "politically correct" and really don't seem to care about historical correctness.
In my opinion, from the videos that I have seen, you and Carl as a duo are the best minstrel act in the country.
I would really like you to think about getting a minstrel tambo and playing it on some songs while playing the bones on others. With the natural ability that you have with the bones, I bet you could be equally as creative with a tambo. You can get different sounds by using your finger tips,the heal of your hand, your hand flat against the head, alternating between your finger nails and thumb etc, etc. Plus, the famous "rattlesnake roll" with your thumb. I can picture you rockin' dat tambo.
When I was showing people my Wunder tambo, I would hit it against my knees and elbow. I would also stick my first finger into the hole in rim and spin the tambo with one hand.
Yep, to me you and Carl are the real deal. If I can be of any help, please feel free to call me at 619-226-2766
If I was 10 or 20 years younger I do believe that I might move back to Kansas.
You and Carl deserve to have access to the best information/documentation around so I am going to hook you up with two guys on this site who are friends of mine out here in California. They can both help you with anything that you need to know about men's clothing including the button back pre-tied cravats. One of the guys is Jim Miller who is an unbelievable source for all things mid-nineteenth century and can build just about anything you need with amazing heavily researched detail. He recently made a tambo for David Swarens. I am sure that Jim would be happy to give you some advice on the tambo or anything else that need to know about.
David Swarens is the other guy that you should talk to about clothing and music. He has more research books than anyone I know.
It's not that I don't want to help you but with all that has been going on out here with the historic park, I am a bit burnt out. Since you are young, talented and the future of Living History, I want you to get in touch with serious people like Jim and David who are both knowledgeable and still enthusiastic.
Please, keep in touch and let me know how things are going. Say hi to Carl for me.
Cuffie, we both forgot the ritual "return of the rosewood bones" at the end of the G-burg week. Just stick them in a padded envelope when you get the chance & mail them to me at: Chuck Krepley, 508 S. Potomac St, Apt. 3, Waynesboro, PA 17268. It was incredibly great hangin' & making music with you all week!