Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

As the early banjo repertoire started from somewhere, we can look back into the same sources and continue the work. Polkas were quite popular, and we find them in some of the banjo tutors...especially Buckley's, and Dobson. Here is a little gem I found. It would sound nice with an ensemble backing. The song is keyed in "F" which normally fretless players either transpose or avoid. It doesn't have to be that way. Just look for "general banjoness " in the song. The Converse Hammer Stroke is a great tool for executing single lines...with almost no restrictions.

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You may have already discovered pages 79 to 85 in Coles 1000 Fiddle Tunes (aka Ryan's Mammoth Collection) They're all "jigs" in the minstrel sense of the term. Some attributed to Emmett and Christie There's a sensational one called Jersey Lightning that I learned on button accordion years ago. I've never actually tried it on the banjo. It has a great major/minor flip from A to B parts. We used to play it for contras.
The other pages of that book also contain tunes credited to Christie, Emmett and Buckley.
I've got a copy of a fiddler's manuscript from Midland, Ontario from the 1860s that has a set of tunes it describes as The "Serenaders' or N. Quadrilles". They include Goin' Ober de Mountain, Old Dan Tucker, BoatmanDance and Lucy Long. Elsewhere in the book is Polly Won't You Try Me Oh (aka KingKong Kitchee Kimi O) I'll scan it and post it sometime (soon)

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