Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

On Amazon I stubled across this title; The Banjo Entertainers: Roots to Ragtime, a Banjo History.

It's by someone named Lowell H. Schreyer. It's only a few years old and is very expensive. There are a few sample pages on line. Has anyone ever had a chance to look at it?

Views: 71

Comment by Bob Winans on February 7, 2013 at 4:20pm

Yes, I have this excellent book, written by an old friend, and definitely recommend it. Lowell was a journalist and an excellent banjoist, both on plectrum banjo and in classic finger style on the five string. I knew him over the years primarily through the American Banjo Fraternity, to whose rallies he and his wife Margaret would often come (all the way from northern Minnesota to central Pennsylvania) and less frequently to the Banjo Collectors' Gathering after that got going. He worked doing the research for this book for many years, and he is the person who finally resolved the mystery of "who was Ferguson?" (its in the book). Lowell finally finished the book in 2007 and, in poor health, came to the BCG that year with copies to sell. He performed in the banjo orchestra that was put together to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the BCG that year, and he died a couple weeks later. A kind and gentle man who was deeply committed to learning as much as he could about the history of the banjo.

Comment by Ian Bell on February 7, 2013 at 4:35pm
Thanks Bob,
The sample pages I read make me want to read more. Sounds like your friend was a good man. Too bad he's gone. I guess I'll just start saving my pennies.
Comment by Rob Morrison on February 7, 2013 at 5:07pm

Ian--I bought this book a few years ago and although I had to sell my few remaining gold teeth to afford it, I still consider it a bargain.  It's formally a chapter book presenting the chronology of early banjo and minstrelsy, but for me the great benefits are the numerous photos, much like Joel's  carte de visites, and accompanying brief bios of each performer.  It's an early banjo nerd's nirvana.--Rob

Comment by Tim Twiss on February 7, 2013 at 7:09pm

I got it as a library loan. I still intend to get it. It is a very good book.

Comment by Joel Hooks on February 7, 2013 at 7:49pm
I was lucky in that I got him to sign my copy before he passed. I also enjoyed reading it and use it frequently to look people up. His daughter is a wonderful banjoist as well. I caught her and her husband's history of the banjo act in Oklahoma City.
Comment by Ian Bell on February 7, 2013 at 7:53pm
Glad I asked! now I really want one.


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