Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I had an amazing dream last night.  A musical, banjo dream.  And instead of it slipping into the ether when I woke up, I remembered some of it.  It went like this:


I was at a Civil War event of some kind.  I met George Wunderlich, who had some music he wanted me to listen to.  He took me to a tent, where he had a sort of reel-to-reel machine.  He said the music was of an early stroke-style black banjo player, who had recorded just before he died in the 1890's.  I kept looking for some staff paper to write down this amazing music, but like a lot of dreams, I kept wandering around but couldn't find what I needed.


I remember part of the music clearly.  It was Dan Tucker, in a minor key.


Now, in view of the paucity of documented early black banjo music, I'm going to consider this dream legitimate documentation for playing Dan Tucker in a minor key.  (Didn't Horace Weston say that his Celebrated Minor Jig came to him in a dream?)


Not the whole song, just a verse or two.  It'll give it a little variety.  I think it would sound good on the "Tucker and I got drunk one night, he fell in the fire and kicked up a chunk" verse, and an instrumental break or two.

Views: 85

Comment by Tim Twiss on October 5, 2011 at 7:13pm
I think this is multi-layered dream, addressing the issue of period documentation. If you had succeeded in writing it down correctly and the tape machine were destroyed, would anybody actually accept that it was a true representation of what you heard? Too bad you did not find the staff paper. Were you naked in this dream?
Comment by Bell Banjos on October 5, 2011 at 7:22pm
As you know, many musicians and artists keep paper and pen or a recorder by their bed. Congratulations on your revelation. And as you know, dreams are YOUR subconcious talking to you, in your sleep it's the only time it has a voice and it's the only time you'll listen. Of course George was not really in your dream, he was home sleeping. George is an aspect of you. What aspect? In dreams, a tent represents the need for personal change. A song you hear in, or compose from a dream is just that, but in the subconcious realm it represents spirituality. I didn't make this stuff up. But I WILL bill you at the end of the month.  - Dr. Bell
Comment by Bell Banjos on October 5, 2011 at 7:27pm
Tim I can't stop laughing at your question about Carl's dream. OH....it hurts.
Comment by Tim Twiss on October 5, 2011 at 8:54pm

It's okay to dream of yourself being naked. It's a problem when you dream of others being naked. Would they use burnt cork all the way down??

Oh yea, final analysis...Halloween is coming...of course it's in a minor key.

Comment by Carl Anderton on October 5, 2011 at 9:13pm

No I wasn't nekkid, I had the blue suit on.  One other small lick I remember from "the tape" was a triplet, played stroke-style on the third fret of the third string.  I don't remember the context of the triplet, but I remember thinking "this justifies Railroad Polka stroke-style."  


I disagree with the Halloween analogy.  I think it was a touch of "characteristic."  It really sounded good, actually.

Comment by Tim Twiss on October 5, 2011 at 9:49pm
Okay...I am putting my Carlos Castaneda books under my pillow tonight. I'm going in there too. I'll let you know what I find in the morning. 
Comment by Tim Twiss on October 5, 2011 at 9:51pm
I might have a conflict...ironically, that is the spot I play fingerstyle in that tune...I stroke the rest of it.
Comment by Strumelia on October 6, 2011 at 9:43am
I don't have any blue suits to try it out with.  I'm going to go to bed with just my beekeeper's veil on, and see what kind of music I get!    lol


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