Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

This is a slow version, which is for demonstration.

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Comment by Silas Tackitt on March 23, 2014 at 1:43pm

Three years ago when I was at Fort Sumter for the 150th, we had a great fife and drum group portraying troops of Major Anderson's beseiged Federal garrison.  One of the tunes they played really caught my ear.  I kept hearing Alabama Joe, and then it wasn't, and then it was.  After they finished playing, I asked them if they played any other minstrel tunes.  They didn't know what I meant.  They were playing a traditional tune they play, Le Petit Tambour.  They indicated it's very pre-war, but they didn't know how far back.

Of late, I've noticed that minstrel is beginning to be played by some fife and drum groups who are tired with playing the same selections over and over and over again. 

I have the music on a songsheet I obtained from one of the Sumter musicians.  There are three other songs listed : Frog in the Well (Kemo Kimo) ; Old Zip Coon ; and Petit Tamour.  Since Kemo Kimo is listed as Frog in the Well, it tells me that the much copied songsheet I possess is post bellum.

Not sure if Petit Tambour was adapted in minstrel culture or the other way around.  Still, it's an interesting crossover.

Comment by Tim Twiss on March 23, 2014 at 3:01pm

Thanks for the insight. Yes....so obvious. Now, would that predate the adaptation as the Cornish Anthem. Oh man, I love tracing tunes.

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