Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Based on Bob Flesher's version in his book. Not my best performance, and it was a little too early in the morning for me to try any hammerstrikes in public. I didn't place, but entering the old-time banjo contest entered me in a drawing for a Mike Ramsey banjo made for the 2009 Hoppin' John Fiddlers Convention, and amazingly the real old-time winner, Kevin Fore, drew my name.

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Comment by Steven Hedgpeth on October 2, 2009 at 10:20am
Please correct me if I'm wrong about that being Emmett's tune: I'm working from memory from either what Bob Flesher says about it in one of his books or what Bob Carlin says about it in Joel Walker Sweeny and the Birth of Minstrelsy. Whichever source it was said that Emmett wrote the modal version of "The Blue Tail Fly" with lyrics, but that he later moved the lyrics to the tune of "Git up in the Morning" (which he may have written previously), and that that's how the "Jim Crack Corn" version of "The Blue Tail Fly" came about.
Comment by Steven Hedgpeth on October 3, 2009 at 10:24am
Corrections: Bob Flesher's recording Civil War Banjo, Track 7, is a "Briggs Breakdown & Get up in the Morning" medley, and the liner notes report that "Billy Whitlock, student of Joel Sweeney, composed 'Get up in the Morning' with words around 1842 in New York City." So if Flesher's right, then I was way off in my memory of that tune and of what I thought I remembered him saying about it.

Also, the title of the Carlin book I was referring to is actually The Birth of Banjo: Joel Walker Sweeney and Early Minstrelsy, and quick glance at the index yesterday afternoon suggested that there is nothing at all in it about the composition or adaptation of this tune.

My, how invention creeps into history through the hasty unpuzzling of a piecemeal memory!
Comment by Brian Welch on October 3, 2009 at 11:15am

Dan Gellert, on his Waitin' on the Break of Day, says this of his version of Jimmy Crack Corn:

"From Pete Seeger. Not quite the "Blue-Tail Fly", the tune is virtually identical to the minstrel song "Git Up in de Morning." So you aren't completely crazy!

Very nice version by the way and congrats on the new banjo.

Comment by Ron Stanfield on October 10, 2009 at 6:55pm

Good job on this. Really clean and smooth!


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