The Unwound Third > Gitfiddles, Harps, Washboards & Kazoos

tenor guitar for acoustic blues

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uncle bud:
A grainy version of that grainy photo...

Charlie's playing on his 1939 sides is mostly chording on the beat.  He occasionally gets off a flat-picked solo, as on "You Better Watch Out" and "Too Much Beef".  On "Good Potatoes On The Hill", he opens with some nifty flat-picked "bass" runs.  Since the lowest sounding note is a D corresponding to the 4th string on a guitar, I'd guess he's playing a tenor there. 

All the 1939 recordings by Charlie Burse and his Memphis Mudcats are on the Juke.

Hi all,
Thanks very much for the information, Bunker Hill, dj and Uncle Bud.  I realized that about all I remember of Charlie Burse is that on the old "Rural Blues" set that Sam Charters put together on RBF, Burse was included on a version of "Take Your Fingers Off It" that Charters used because it employed laughter.  As I recall, Burse had pretty infectious laughter, too, almost in a class with Charley Lincoln.  I need to hear more of what he did.
All best,


--- Quote from: Bunker Hill on February 06, 2006, 11:43:02 AM ---
--- Quote from: Johnm on February 06, 2006, 10:36:08 AM ---Didn't Charlie Burse, the jug band musician from Memphis, play a tenor guitar? 
--- End quote ---
I'm sure you are correct.
This is from memory since I seem to have misfiled the work but I'm sure there are two photos showing Burse with tenor - one from the 30s, the other the 60s - in Bengt Olsson's 1970 Memphis Blues paperback. My mind's eye can also visualise a quote from Burse in which he says that folk who didn't know what the instrument was called it a uke-banjo (or something similar). Anyone have easy access to this book?

--- End quote ---
Burse is on the cover (with an f-hole tenor!) and at pages 29 and 30 of the book in photos that are undated, dated c. 1935 and dated 1962, respectively.  Also at page 29: "Charlie was nicknamed 'Uke', since the tenor banjo he played was called ukulele-banjo in Memphis (as it was in many other parts of the south)."  Laura "Little Bit" Dukes is shown in photographs at pages 40-43 playing an ukulele (in one photo) and an ukulele-banjo (in several).  Her ukulele banjo was about the size of an ukulele and had a banjo head instead of a wooden body.  George Formby, eat your heart out.

Bunker Hill:

--- Quote from: uncle bud on February 06, 2006, 02:27:09 PM ---A grainy version of that grainy photo...
--- End quote ---
Which indeed is the one originally used on the 1980s Old Tramp LP, which in turn is from the 1935 photo in Olsson; OT just cut out the other musicians to his right.


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