Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

4/2/12 Started the Briggs tonight. Thought a lot about Jim Crow Polka and after watching some dance videos, decided to slow it down. Felt and sounded better. Also did Dan Tucker, Dandy Jim, and Boatman's Dance. Recored on Hartel Boucher. 


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Comment by Tim Twiss on April 3, 2012 at 9:43pm

Comment by Tim Twiss5 minutes ago           Delete Comment

4/3/12 Added Lucy Neal, Get Up In De Morning, Miss Lucy Long, and O! Lud Gals.

Always a challenge to keep an even feel on the 16th note phrases. I see Strikes, Combinations, and Hammers throughout. These tunes certainly have a continuity to their origin, feel, and stylist arrangement. Hartel Boucher.


Comment by Tim Twiss on April 5, 2012 at 7:58am

4/4/12 Adding Rosa Lee, Old Johnny Boker, and De Bones In De Barnyard. Trying do do a page a day. A good dose of Briggs' is so good for the soul. It does feel like the root of this style. Playing these songs is not restrictive as i see it. There is a lot of freedom in interpretation. I haven't yet tried to "burn" one...you know, play really fast. Just hitting grooves as I feel the tune.


Comment by Tim Twiss on April 5, 2012 at 8:05am

Rosa Lee sure is a nice little gem that gets overlooked.

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 5, 2012 at 8:09am

On Bones, it is such a short one line tune....best tossed in at the end of another tune. I added another section....cliche lick that fir the tune just to provide contrast.

Comment by Bell Banjos on April 5, 2012 at 8:10am

I really liked your version of Old Johnny Boker. You must like that one.

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 5, 2012 at 8:38am


This is going to be a fun journey. My playing and little tweeks to the recording ( mic placement etc. ) keep getting better. March through the repertoire....here we go!


Comment by Paul Ely Smith on April 5, 2012 at 10:20am

It is so cool that you are doing this!  While you're trying various recording tweaks...My favorite stereo banjo recording technique--put one mic in front and the other in back, both about 10" from the head, panned fairly wide.  I use small-diaphragm condensers for this, but I wonder about trying a ribbon mic in the back and a large-diaphragm in the front.  Anyway, the result is a very full natural sound coming out of the speakers...   

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 5, 2012 at 8:53pm

I recommend that for anybody playing these tunes from Briggs', seek out the "original" somewhere. By this I mean, realize the "song" for its vocal content and melody before you play it. Many of these tunes become indistinguishable to the lay person when we play them. Do your best to "know the tune". Advise well given to people playing jazz from the Real Book. 

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 6, 2012 at 8:51am


4/6/12  Carry Me Back To Old Virginny, Who's Dat A Knockin' At De Door, Dearest Mae.

I have sung 2 of these, but I still don't know the root tune for "Knockin". Trying to tune each time....the banjo slips ever so slightly, but uniformly, out of pitch. I notice it with playbacks from a day earlier. Still not feeling a burning tempo. There are some good ones coming....may step it up a bit as need be.

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 7, 2012 at 6:21am

4/7/12 I'm on the page with Old King Crow'. I think the second half is in cut time. On youtube, I played it as written, but I am rethinking this one before I record it. Any other opinions? 


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