Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

"Minstrel" - but no banjo. Jackie Washington was a wonderful singer from Hamilton, Ontario. He was born in 1919 and his Grandfather had come to Canada as a fugitive slave. He just died a few years ago. This is a song he told me he learned as a kid from the singing of his grandfather and uncle. (He had others too) The first part of this video is Jackie - with me throwing in some harmony - recorded in his home in 1990. The second part is the Peerless Quartet singing the same song in 1910. the final version is my group in 2000. This song has taken me down some interesting paths of thought.

Views: 57

Comment by Rob Morrison on February 22, 2014 at 10:49am

Ian- I love that.  I live in the piedmont of North Carolina and I used to hear a group down here, the Gospel Jubilators, a quartet from Durham, North Carolina back in the 1970's, sing songs of the same era and genre in the 1970's, always a cappella.  As someone who can't sing, even if my life depends on it, I am blown away by the performance of you and your group, even without banjos.

Comment by Ian Bell on February 22, 2014 at 10:23pm
Thanks Rob!
Comment by Ian Bell on February 23, 2014 at 8:02am
When I sing it by myself I do play it on the banjo. For my voice It plays easily in "modern" G tuning on the ol' Peerless or in minstrel G tuning on one of my fretless instruments.

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