Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I'd love to know what everyone is working on right now, music-wise...

What tunes, what instruments, are you practicing this week?  Pictures welcome too!  :D

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Thanks, Al!  I love that "I Have a Little Dreidle" is on your list!  I have no idea if it's 19th c. or not, but I know there were very active Jewish communities throughout the U.S. at that time.  We use "Away in the Manger" with it's back story, as we have a strong anti-war community hear in Western MA (though we seem to like the Battle of the Pines well enough!).

I'm working on playing some stuff from the 13th, 16th, and 17th centuries on my Cretan lyra right now, including Hoboeckentanz, Douce Dame Jolie, J'ai Vu le Loup, and a couple Cantigas de Santa Maria.  I'm not very good yet, but at least I can see progress each week.    :)

Dan'l:  I know you're right.  It;s just that that song always makes me so sad for the lost, and I 've so often heard it, first verse only, presented with simpering sentimentality.

As for women running the world, I'm reminded of a feminist cartoon of the '80's (sorry, the name is on the tip of my tongue, the cartoonist, too).  But anyway, when the protagonist was asked, "But really, can you imagine a world without men?" she replied "Sure.  No war, no crime, and lots of fat, happy women."

And I meant "here".

Strumella:  I love "Douce Dame".  Such a rousing tune!

Keep playing, everyone.


"J'ai vu le loup" -- that sounds interesting!

This month I've been working on Buckley's Banjo Jig.  It has a graceful waltz-like feel to it, though it's in common time.

Hi, Strumelia and all.

I'm memorizing Harper's Jig and The Tycoon Jig from Buckley's 1860, and celebrating learning to play from standard notation.  Less time intabulating, more time to play!  Also I read through most of the songs from Buckley with two singer friends, and I'm struck by the straightforward parlor song style of most of them.  I'll post separately, but I wonder if anyone else has thoughts about that.

Best, and keep playing.



I have an opportunity to play some with the Huckleberry Brothers band at the 150th Bentonville reenactment in about four weeks. There's a couple of songs they do I need to learn. One is the Bonnie Blue Flag, thanks again to Tim for posting an arrangement, I struggled with trying to find a good sounding banjo part for this often requested song, but I'm looking forward to trying this with their band. The other is Darling Nellie Gray. This would also be fun to try to fit into another band's playing, I may have to be ready to play it at a tempo I hadn't learned it at but the guitar style arrangement, the way Tim posted it in his video, will sound good if I can get the rhythm crisp. Dave

I've been playing Tim'
s Bonnie Blue arrangementt, it works really well. I'll be at Bentonville, hope to msee you there.

I just finished another banjo tutor. This rare bird is the Christy's Minstrel's Complete Bano Tutor published in England c. 1859. It has 19 banjo solos. 10 are "new" and 9 are lifted directly from Rice. It is for sale as a download. $5.00 plus a 25% Ning Member discount.  ( use code Ning25  )   


Dave- you can do anything you set your mind to, and will do it well.   :)

Played Kick up the Devil... tonight for the first time in several months.  thought I would have completely forgotten and would totally bite.   Was pleasantly surprised when I found I could play it a little better than i had ever before.  ??  what the heck.. but gotta love when that happens!   :)

Wanted to play my pig-headed gourd tonight, with Brian on fiddle, but the first string peg just would NOT hold.  So had to put in some Peg Drops and then let it set until tomorrow.  Played my Hartel eagle blondie instead.  O to have such choices...truly a blessing!

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