Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I thought you’d want to hear about:


—Jake Wallace, Charley Rhoades and “The Days of ’49”.

A book about the minstrel banjo, the great song and two men in the far West.

Go to www.nevadamusic.com

See the link to THE STRYCHNINE BANJO at right. 

It’s free to read.

After a couple decades of research, here is a link where you can read it—for free. The book came together during the evenings over the last couple years due to nagging questions in the wake of basic research on gold rush song. Several times I’ve vowed never to write another history, due to the obsessive nature of such efforts. However, if you make it through this story, you may grasp why it had to be written. 

This book will be of interest to:

—musicians, history buffs, people interested in California or Nevada lore, students of “folk song”, banjo players, 

The book is:

—a history concerning the minstrel five-string banjo in the far West, 

—an illumination of the gold rush to California and Nevada.

—the story of the most important gold rush song

—a chapter in Virginia City history.

—a tale of two men and the anthem they created.

I’ll be in Elko in June at the California Trail Interpretative Site, talking about the elephant. I’m available for other places to talk about any of this if you know of any. Have them email me.

If you read this book, feel free to post or email suggestions, questions, observations. There may well be information or interpretations of social context that I have overlooked. 

Feel free to share with anyone who might be interested. If someone must have a hard copy, see the Mercantile link.

All the best,



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