Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Warming up before the Historical Notes presentation for the Beltrami County Historical Society. I even managed to get some crowd members up to try out the minstrel tambourine and the bones.

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Location: Bemidji, MN

Comment by Mark Bridge on March 30, 2015 at 2:13pm

Yes, I did discuss blackface and the history of minstrelsy.  I try to run very open and interactive presentations, many times subjects are approached by the audience rather than me.

Comment by Charles Edward Lee on April 1, 2015 at 7:20pm

When we get to perform before a lot of children, we get them involved with cheater spoons, limberjacks that I make, and jawbones. The boys tend to love the jawbones - probably don't care one whit about the sound, but it is potentially gross...lol. That's an impressive setup you have, sir! I appreciate your sharing that with us all. 

Comment by Mark Bridge on April 1, 2015 at 8:19pm

There were actually audience members who came up and took a stab at the bones and the tambo - they did quite well.  It is fun to get the audience involved in a show it helps keep things relaxed.

Comment by Charles Edward Lee on April 2, 2015 at 7:02am

You're right: it's fun when they get involved. And it's not only relaxed, but it starts to feel really friendly, really quickly. We do a couple of songs that not only draws kids in, but draws in a lot of adults, too. We perform Old King Crow; and we ask them to help us make the sound a crow makes. Then we get them to make that sound (surprising how many don't know!), after which we "Caw!" and have them join us. We do that sort of thing on a couple of other songs, and it never fails to draw them in (unless we're playing for high school kids; and then we're out of luck...lol). It looks as if you;ve got a nice, manageable selection of goodies to keep them occupied.

Comment by Mark Bridge on April 2, 2015 at 8:02am

I'd like to get a jawbone but I don't know where to find one, maybe someone has a good lead.

Comment by John Masciale on April 2, 2015 at 8:14am

Mark, you can order a jawbone through Lark in the Morning.  Look on the bottom of the following page:

Comment by Mark Bridge on April 2, 2015 at 8:21am

Hey, thanks!!  I got my bones from Lark in the Morning but never looked all the way to the bottom of the page.

Comment by James Pentecost on April 2, 2015 at 9:27am


Take a look at the jawbones at steveweissmusic.com.

Comment by Charles Edward Lee on April 2, 2015 at 9:45am

If you watch ebay, you can get jawbones for a fair amount less. I have five; bought all five for $16 total, plus $9 S&H. Another banjoist in our reenacting group bought two for $12, plus $8 S&H.

Comment by Charles Edward Lee on April 2, 2015 at 9:52am

Here's a cow jawbone; bids start at $10, plus $6.35 S&H (to my area, anyway - the Greater Baton Rouge area in Louisiana). 



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