Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

December 2011 Blog Posts (9)

Sweeney Set

I'm going to try and put together my "Joe Sweeney" set of tunes for my bi monthly gig at an assisted living facility. In it will be the known tunes he did (according to Bob Carlin) segued to some of the early stuff, mostly from Briggs. It should be a fun set. I have never really done a "theme" show, so it will fun to take it out and see how they lay together. I'd like to lean on a "sawbuck" like he did...but may end up standing.

Here's da lineup:

Whar Did You Come…


Added by Tim Twiss on December 30, 2011 at 8:40am — 8 Comments

Will somebody come out and play with me?

Hey, anybody want to explore Picayunne Butler this week. I am geeked on the idea of following the new sheet music. Instrumental or vocal, this is one of our gems....in the top 5 of Maher's playbill frequency.

Added by Tim Twiss on December 19, 2011 at 8:45am — 5 Comments

First Chord of "A Hard Days Night"

This has been beat to death on the internet, but so very cool to share. Do we have an "Off Topic" category here...? No, but here it is anyway. Enjoy the enthusiasm of Randy Bachman describing this magic moment.

Added by Tim Twiss on December 17, 2011 at 10:43pm — No Comments

Hey Al, how's your flower?

Did you "plant" your bulb  from the Arts and Greens?

Added by Tim Twiss on December 16, 2011 at 7:57am — No Comments

Reel Crazy Time

My friend Norm Boggs and I had a busy weekend at local historic sites this past weekend.  The Candlelight Tour at Duke Homestead is certain to remain firmly lodged in memory.  Our contribution was to play for the dancers in an old tobacco barn as the public was ushered through in groups of 25 or 30, one complete dance per group.  Well, to make a very long story short the publicity for this event far outstripped the resources available (namely two old men), and we ended up playing 25 Virginia…


Added by Rob Morrison on December 12, 2011 at 9:57am — 1 Comment


Hey John, want to do this again? So many to pick from...especially with the Glee Book available. It does not have to be a vocal tune. I know Clarke has done "Clare De Kitchen" a lot...this is a good candidate, and another one of those very early ones. The lyrics are classic. It would also make a really good Stroke instrumental. 

Added by Tim Twiss on December 11, 2011 at 12:31pm — 14 Comments

Building my banjo

Great news! I am but a few weeks from finishing my Sweeney replica banjo! This is my first attempt at a Minstrel Banjo build and it is going great so far. I have some locally harvested Black Walnut that I am using and love the look.  Still trying to figure out how to join the ends of my tension hoop. Hardware has been ordered from Pickard Banjos. A few more hand rubbed coats of finish on the pot and I will be ready for the head to be installed. I am convinced that I am forgetting something…


Added by Brian Glass on December 5, 2011 at 8:43pm — 17 Comments


Okay, hang in there with me. I am trying one from each of the different sections in the Lawrence Leadley fiddle collection. As was indicated by our early masters, adapting fiddle repertoire is fair game for adding banjo material-so stay on the lookout. The well is deep. 

Added by Tim Twiss on December 3, 2011 at 4:32pm — 1 Comment

"Joe Sweeney" by Karl Denver

Just stumbled upon this - a real gas from the past! (1961)


Added by Mark Weems on December 1, 2011 at 2:43pm — No Comments


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