Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

A liberal interpretation of "Snapping Turtle Jig" from Coe's Album of Jigs and Reels for the Violin.

Views: 184

Comment by Strumelia on November 13, 2015 at 10:37pm

Tim, I really liked this.  It's wonderfully expressive...really brings it to life.

You have to be careful with snapping turtles, you know.  Hold them out at arms length:

Comment by Tim Twiss on November 13, 2015 at 10:51pm

Ha ha.....crazy nasty creatures. Always wary of sinking in muck without shoes on

Comment by Tim Twiss on November 13, 2015 at 11:01pm

Anyway, thanks....I have been thinking so much about music and the instrument itself. The banjo adapted many fiddle tunes, but even so.....it simply isn't a fiddle. It can't respond in the same way and should not be expected to....but what the banjo can do - other instruments cannot. I guess I want to look for ways the banjo can be beautiful instead of crying that it is not as agile as a fiddle. This includes interpreting the beautiful notes and melodies in different ways. Playing them slower can be like seeing crystals under a microscope. 

Comment by Strumelia on November 13, 2015 at 11:26pm

I've been writing a bit about this very thing this week Tim.  Maybe I'll post it.

Comment by Al Smitley on November 14, 2015 at 9:05am

Is that you, Strum, with the two snappers?  I always heard that the best way to pick up a snapper is by the tail but I once picked up a large one that was in the middle of the road that way, and I felt/heard a pop and am sure I must've caused it internal injuries.

Comment by Strumelia on November 14, 2015 at 11:57am

Al, yes that is me about 25 years ago.  I actually snuck up and leaped into the water of my pond and grabbed these two by the tails with my two bare hands, both at once, during a thunderstorm.  It was rather dramatic, and I had witnesses, lol.  This picture was taken the next morning.  My daughters thought i was the bee's knees.  
Snappers migrating in periodically prevented us from swimming in our little cow pond, and were biting the feet off my poor ducks(!)  I always knew precisely when a new big turtle moved in because my flock of ducks would very suddenly be loathe to enter the water. They'd joyfully run to the pond as usual when let out, but then all screech to a halt right at the shore and stand around quacking in a distressed manner.  They knew.

If those turtles had dislocated tails after this, well they should have counted their blessings because I actually took the time to drive these particular two across the Hudson river to release them into a far away swamp, where likely even today they are happily playing Tim's Snapper jig on their little mini gourd banjers strung with muskrat gut.  Some of their relatives were not so lucky, having been introduced to my rifle...now there's some 'internal injuries' to reckon with.  =8-o   All other wild critters were welcome in our pond, and there were many kinds.

I too always stop my car to save a snapper from the middle of the road- depending on the size, I'll grab the tail and quickly carry or drag it to the side.  Best to grab by the very base of the tail.  As you probably know, they are amazingly fast in whirling around to face you.

Comment by Chris Prieto on November 14, 2015 at 2:42pm

man, that story resulted in me and the wife watching a buncha youtube videos of snapping turtles, mean ol suckers haha

Comment by Strumelia on November 14, 2015 at 2:54pm

Then there was my best friend and fellow banjoist Lauren back at the same time ...she had ducks and swimming kids too and her husband shot a HUUUUGE one in their little horse pond.  She butchered it in her kitchen and cut the meat into 1" cubes and marinated them in a big bowl in the fridge overnight.  The next day she took it out to make turtle soup for a party and the cubes were twitching around.  =8-*   She made the soup anyway and everyone liked it, but she said it was such a nasty job getting the meat off the turtle that she'd never do it again.  That snapper was so big that they used the top part of the shell for their 1 year old son's halloween costume that year- as a SuperNinjaTurtle costume.  Even so, I know that down South the alligator snapping turtles can get even bigger than ours up North.

Comment by Al Smitley on November 14, 2015 at 3:04pm

They don't die easy.  I found one on the road once and it had been hit so many times, that you could see down inside it's wide-open split shell.  I could see bones moving as though he was trying to crawl away but they were no longer connected to anything that worked.  He would crane his neck back behind, over where his shell used to be as though trying to assess the damage.  I knew he couldn't make it and was suffering so I found a very large rock and dropped it on his head.

Comment by Chris Prieto on November 14, 2015 at 4:10pm
lol oh man twitching meat! They do look rather prehistoric but I had no idea they were so tough.


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