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Country Blues => Saturday Night Fish Fry => Topic started by: SteveMcBill on October 01, 2008, 07:54:05 AM

Title: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: SteveMcBill on October 01, 2008, 07:54:05 AM
I know this is really a blues forum guys and that most of it is guitar based but I also know there are at least a few banjo players here - so, for those jo'ists who live in the UK or who can make it over here is a note about the Midland Banjo Fest which is held this month (October 2008) near Burton on Trent in the Midlands in the UK:

http://www.midlandbanjofest.com/ (http://www.midlandbanjofest.com/)

Cheers

Steve
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: blueshome on October 02, 2008, 12:07:18 AM
So many banjoes in one place at one time, now there's an opportuniity  >:D >:D >:D
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: Parlor Picker on October 06, 2008, 03:49:43 AM
So many banjoes in one place at one time, now there's an opportuniity  >:D >:D >:D

You bring the petrol and dynamite - I'll bring the matches....  >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: Johnm on October 06, 2008, 03:34:51 PM
Hi all,
Banjos need a little bit of defending here.  I'd rather hear a banjo, especially with a skin head, than a metal-bodied guitar any day.
all best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: blueshome on October 07, 2008, 02:43:26 AM
John,

Why try to defend the indefensible?
Plus, a well-played metal guitar CAN sound good, but a banjo - it's still a banjo!
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: Mr.OMuck on October 07, 2008, 02:05:44 PM
This speaks directly to the issue of how'd you come to the Blues? People like JohnM & myself got our entr?e through the Folk music movement of the 1960s and so are probably more amenable to the sound of the Banjo than people who came to country Blues via Chicago Blues, Rock n' Roll, British efforts, or The Allman Brothers.

Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: banjochris on October 07, 2008, 05:45:11 PM
Although, oddly, I came to the banjo through British efforts, rock, Chicago blues and then country blues. But I liked Uncle Dave and Dock Boggs the first time I heard them.
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: uncle bud on October 07, 2008, 06:52:04 PM
As someone who covets an open-back skin-head banjo (why be good at one thing when you can be mediocre at so many is my ruling philosophy), I have to agree with JohnM, gotta love the sound of a banjo. Wish I could play like Chris, too (or play at all). But I think the point is moot, as wouldn't the accumulated drool from the assembled banjo pickers offset any attempts at arson?

Happy banjo fest, UK weenies!
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: Mr.OMuck on October 07, 2008, 09:19:07 PM
Although, oddly, I came to the banjo through British efforts, rock, Chicago blues and then country blues. But I liked Uncle Dave and Dock Boggs the first time I heard them.

That sounds like quite an interesting trajectory. Mind elaborating a bit?
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: Parlor Picker on October 08, 2008, 01:23:45 AM
Well, Mr. Blueshome - you started it!!  ;D
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: blueshome on October 08, 2008, 01:59:58 AM
That was the idea PP!

I came to the blues via jazz, R&R and folk. My reading then led me directly into country blues and among my first purchases on LP  were Lightnin Hopkins & Big Joe Williams. Electric came over my horizon a little later. However, from the start I could never get on with the sound of the banjo, perhaps it was the British & Irish players around at the time, as well as the "trad" jazz strummers.

I will confess that I can enjoy any music played well (whatever that means! certainly it's not just about technique) on ANY instrument including the dreaded b****.
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: Parlor Picker on October 08, 2008, 07:04:55 AM
Everything has its place (which might be the dustbin in the case of the b****).

I just think certain instruments don't belong in downhome blues - e.g. saxophone (and b****!!).

I reckon we've gone on enough and should declare this thread closed (at least in terms of b****-knocking).
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: uncle bud on October 08, 2008, 07:50:52 AM
The other night on the radio they interviewed a young lady who plays jazz on the alp horn.  8)

Banjo is as downhome as it gets!
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: lindy on October 08, 2008, 09:07:35 AM

Once again, it's time for my broken record response to a lot of threads that touch on country blues origins: they are African. The scales we hear in the genre are African. The rhythmic sensibilities are African. And when slaves were brought to North America, they didn't bring knowledge of how to build guitar-like instruments, but how to build banjo-like instruments. And they brought knowledge of how to make all kinds of subtle and beautiful sounds on them.

Highly recommended CD: From Mali to America, featuring Cheick Hamala Diabate (who taught at PT 2006) and Bob Carlin (a frequent teacher at Centrum's Fiddle Tunes workshop). It is sure to give you a new perspective on banjo and banjo-like instruments.

Banjo duet recording that I wish I had: John Miller and Michael Jerome Browne together playing "Pay Day" up in the Juke at PT the year that John took possession of his Jere Canote-built six-string banjo. Made the few hairs I have left on the back of my head stand right up.

One major exception to JohnM's comments of druther hearing a banjo, especially with a skin head, than a metal-bodied guitar any day: when the metal-bodied guitar is in the hands of Mike Dowling.

Lindy
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: jeffdelfield on October 08, 2008, 02:14:01 PM
Another great (and immediate) source of banjo blues can be found here: 

http://www.greatsmokymountains.tv/Frank%20Lee.html

Clawhammer master, Frank Lee, plays - among others - a great slide version of "Dough Roller Blues" on a gourd banjo about 1/3 of the way in.

Enjoy,

Jeff

 
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: SteveMcBill on October 08, 2008, 02:21:42 PM
Must admit I didn't realise I would be stirring up such polarisation with this thread. Glad I did !

I understand wholeheartedly the antipathy to banjo strummers - especially the type you do get in the UK which either accompany jazz bands or are in fact the band themselves - phalanxes of strumming banjos looking set to take over the world with their cacophony and grinning.

BUT, I came into guitar playing from a combination of an interest in ragtime piano and a girlfriend who strummed guitar and sang. From there I moved to playing Country Blues and blues oriented rags (Piedmont style) on guitar followed by arranging some classic piano rags for the instrument.

In banjo terms I have recently (actually for the last 20 years) been intrigued by ragtime fingerpicked on banjo and would point Weenie's at the Classic (not classical) Banjo website at:

http://www.classicbanjo.com (http://www.classicbanjo.com)

Hope some of you enjoy it. Personally I really like the playing of banjoists such as Vess Ossman and Joe Morley.

Steve
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: Richard on October 09, 2008, 07:43:38 AM
Now d'you reckon infamous Big Ben Banjo Band would be an equal to the equally infamous Black and White Monsters both of BBC fame back in the dark ages on the 60's onwards?

Personally I don't mind a banjo especially when played by the likes of Ike Robinson. My introduction to it came via jazz and genuine early type jazz is fine... however, the very British manufactured phenomemememememeum of "Trad Jazz" all but masacred the poor instrument and did damn all for the musac when a guitar would have sounded so much better.

All that said, I am not cancelling my weekly copy of "Banjoey's Monthly" quite yet  :P
Title: Re: Midland Banjo Fest
Post by: banjochris on October 10, 2008, 11:30:45 PM
Although, oddly, I came to the banjo through British efforts, rock, Chicago blues and then country blues. But I liked Uncle Dave and Dock Boggs the first time I heard them.

That sounds like quite an interesting trajectory. Mind elaborating a bit?

Listened to a lot of swing and Andrews Sisters-type stuff as a kid (my grandmother had a bunch of that stuff). Discovered the Beatles in high school, then Cream, Hendrix and Dylan and started working my way back through Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf to Robert Johnson and Son House (and then many others) and liked the older stuff a lot better. From country blues to old-time seemed like a natural progression, so now I play both.
Chris
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