Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo


Okay, I am going to begin on the Phil Rice Method of 1858. Actually, I am going to start at the back and work the other way. No special reason.

I am using a new instrument for this book, that being a brand new Bell Boucher. You all know the excitement of having a new instrument in your hands. That is what I am feeling now. This instrument, all 27 inches of it's resonating beauty, is perfect to capture the dynamic range of this body of material.

I am most likely going to include many of the vocal peice, if only the accompaniment. Many of those are strong pieces on their own. Maybe dub the melody, or sing what I can...we'll see.

Anyway, here we go through the crazy land of Rice....one of my favorite books with a "flavor" all it's own.

Views: 197

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 22, 2012 at 8:16am

Last page up


Walk Around- Contribution of a young Frank Converse. Interesting with the mix of dotted and straght rhythms, as well as those deliberate eigth rests in the beginning. Unsworth's new Jig - Now, this is the same as "Backside Albany" in the Gumbo Chaff tutor. The difference is in the key signature. The extra 2 sharps take the mysterious modal feel away, but none the less I played it as is. Perhaps that was Unsworth's variation on it. The other one - Buckley's Best is a fiddle tune I've seen in Ryan's, but I cannot put my finger on the title.

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 22, 2012 at 7:03pm

4/22/12 http://www.timtwiss.com/musicstore/index.php

Next page with Dick Sliter's Reel and Essence of Old Virginia Dance. Dick Sliter appears other places...Buckley 1860 I believe. being that these hands crossed over in writing these books, it is not wonder we see repeats and variations. Essence gives to one F.B. Converse. Great tune. This new instrument gives me a chance to explore colors of tone while playing, especially at slower tempos...letting the tune really breathe.

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 23, 2012 at 7:49am

4/23/12     http://www.timtwiss.com/musicstore/index.php

Pg 61 and 62 this morning. Tackled the bizarre Buckley's Walk Round It made more sense today and I think I got a decent interpretation. The Darkie's Jig  I always love to play. I like it slow....lot's of nice stuff to savor. Snap, Flip Toodleum Dee of course gets the coolest title award. You get three distinct rhythm patterns in this...interesting...and a challenge to get it to flow. Ended with Mr. Brown which is actually Nebber Do To Gib It Up So. I confess that I did not always see the tune in some of these Rice arrangements. Interesting the way this book messes with the title a bit for these instrumental variations.

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 23, 2012 at 9:30pm


Crazy night of recording. Pages 58-60. As always, rediscovering things...re-evaluating interpretations. Old Virginny Jig came out a little different. I was always rushing the triplets at the end which displaced the beat. I changed that. Did not listen back yet, but the odd one nobody plays Oh, Bring alongde Gal might be a pleasant surprise.  I always enjoy John Diamond Walk Around. Always room to do some creative phrasing on that one. Of course, the steady Power of Music. I hold to the fact that M 12 has a wrong note....it forms a second inversion A chord.

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 24, 2012 at 7:57am



Page 57 with Set 'em up John and Mrs. McCloud's Reel.

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 25, 2012 at 9:31am



Did page 55 and 56, which includes the favorite Whoop Jamboree. It had oddity Oh, John did you eber sees my Daughter Sally? , a Buckley contribution. The Old Gander and Rise Old Napper are two that I consider quinessential "Rice" type arrangements. I re-cut a few others, because after listening to them, they did have the consistancy and quality I was looking for on this project. The Bell banjo is a great choice for this material...and I am trying to capture the response and clarity this instrument provides. It is the first instrument I have owned with a 12 1/2" rim....nice. Also, the 27" scale length is a good match for it. 

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 26, 2012 at 12:28am


Recorded 7 more....one just didn't work out, do 'nuther time. I had fun with 2 old favorites...Devil's Dream and Phil Rice's Excelsior Jig. Now, I really like Carlin's slow version of these, but I did not stick with that interpretation. Get Away Gumbo Sound Your Horn is another I always used to play. Sam Johnsons' Reel clipped along okay, that being the groove for White cat Black Cat. Somebody mentioned tutors having a flavor...yes they do. I am tasting Rice right now....lovely. They do lay in a certain way on the instrument, and i am quite fond of it.

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 26, 2012 at 9:19am



Okay, I'm just one tune shy of completing all the instrumentals in the Phil Rice 1858. This last batch was pretty sweet...combination of a good weather day, good mic placement, and playing well. he favorite with it's odd rhythmic placement..Sandy Boy, as well as Go Way Jenny-the take on Jenny Get Your Hoecake Done. A few of the short oddballs...Hannah Hannah where's you going, Hear Him Johnny hear Him, Buckley's Banjo Jig, and Hi ! Ho ! de Charleston Gals. Man, what an awesome collection. Sure glad I went back to all of them...I hope you get to the site for a listen....and a download.

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 26, 2012 at 11:37am

DONE!!!  Come and get it. The Rice is gooooood.


At 40 cents a tune...can't go wrong. Get the whole collection (35 tunes) for $13.00. Use the limited Ning discount for 10%....FAS101.  


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