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The cruel irony is that the majority of "The People" can't stand the noise that comes out for more than a few seconds unless it's in the hands of a competent operator. This, combined with the common belief that anyone can play it right away (cue up "Oh Susanna") has created a nearly unbearable tension between the harmonica, its enthusiasts and the rest of humanity. I believe that this tension can be relieved and that the harmonica can take its rightful honored place in the post-apocalyptic world to come - Mark Graham, harmonica ace

Author Topic: Banjo on guitar  (Read 7220 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Banjo on guitar
« on: July 15, 2008, 06:19:19 PM »
John Jackson playing a short but sweet version of "Reuben" from the record Don't Let Your Deal Go Down just came up on the iTunes shuffle mode. There are some other examples of banjo tunes or technique being transferred to guitar, like Jim Jackson doing Old Dog Blue, also done by Furry Lewis in postwar recordings. The slides in the bass strings on Furry's Kassie Jones or Turn Your Money Green seem banjo-influenced as well.

Any others that come to mind?

Offline frankie

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2008, 07:04:49 PM »
Roscoe Holcomb's guitar playing, especially when he uses his spanish tuning with the 6th string doubling the 5th, is essentially a banjo style transferred to guitar.

Julius Daniels' 99 Year Blues seems to me to be a banjo tune transferred to guitar, same with Frank Hutchison's The Train That Carried My Girl From Town and Charlie Patton's Bo Weevil.  All of these are executed with very guitaristic picking, but the tunes seem to me to have the "tune-oid" characteristics of a banjo song.

Frank Hutchison's Cumberland Gap is a banjo/fiddle tune played on guitar, in essentially a banjo picking style.

Offline outfidel

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2008, 07:17:18 PM »
Mike Seeger - "Cumberland Gap"

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Offline Blue in VT

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2008, 06:26:55 AM »
In watching the vestapol veideo of Libba Cotten the other day I noticd that it has her playing guitar version of several of her banjo tunes....and ironically I think Ruben is one of them as well.

Blue
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Offline Johnm

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2008, 10:56:20 AM »
Hi all,
One really nice performance in this category is J. W. Warren's "Rabbit On the Log", played in Vestapol.  It can be heard on his Fat Possum CD, which is reviewed here:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=1766.0.
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2008, 11:40:29 AM »
Lonzie Thomas also does a version of Rabbit On a Log in Vestapol (I believe) that seems banjo-influenced to me, and that is different than the J.W. Warren version. John, in the review of Warren that you point to, you mention this as a pre-blues song that can found in true banjo versions (called Georgia Buck) by Elizabeth Cotten, Etta Baker and possibly Algia Mae Hinton. I would just add what would likely be the most familiar version of this theme, John Hurt's "Payday", which though not as banjo-ey as the lesser known takes on this theme, still seems banjo-influenced to me.

The Lonzie Thomas recording, BTW, is something I have just heard on the George Mitchell Collection Vol. 1-45, a very reasonably priced 7-CD set from Fat Possum made up of selections from George Mitchell's field recordings. More on that later in the existing thread devoted to the set. I just picked it up, but suffice to say I think it is absolutely great so far (only on Disc 2).
« Last Edit: July 16, 2008, 11:57:31 AM by andrew »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2008, 01:43:15 PM »
Mance Lipscomb's "Willie Poor Boy" is very banjoesque (it's also one of my favorites of his tunes); Leadbelly's "Poor Howard" is pretty much the same tune. Also, Blind Willie Johnson's thumb-lead non-slide stuff has always seemed banjo-influenced to me.
Chris

Offline frankie

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2008, 02:09:49 PM »
I don't know if you'd specifically call it a banjo tune, but I think we'd be remiss if we didn't include (everybody's!) John Henry.  From Furry Lewis to Pink Anderson to Lonzie Thomas to John Jackson.

The Mississippi Sheiks' Bootleggers Blues is essentially the same theme as Henry Thomas' Shanty Blues, which is the same theme as Uncle Dave Macon's Keep My Skillet Good And Greasy...  whew...

Offline frankie

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2008, 05:48:33 PM »
Lonzie Thomas also does a version of Rabbit On a Log in Vestapol (I believe) that seems banjo-influenced to me, and that is different than the J.W. Warren version. John, in the review of Warren that you point to, you mention this as a pre-blues song that can found in true banjo versions (called Georgia Buck) by Elizabeth Cotten, Etta Baker and possibly Algia Mae Hinton.

The J.W. Warren version definitely seems related to Georgie Buck and the Lonzie Thomas version seems to live in the Skillet Good And Greasy - Shanty Blues - Bootlegger's Blues continuum.  For some reason, I think George Mitchell recorded another singer doing Rabbit On A Log, but I can't seem to find it right now...

Offline frankie

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2008, 06:10:46 PM »
In watching the vestapol veideo of Libba Cotten the other day I noticd that it has her playing guitar version of several of her banjo tunes....and ironically I think Ruben is one of them as well.

I'll have to dig out the video - on Freight Train And Other North Carolina Folk Songs And Tunes, there are two banjo tunes done on guitar:  one that sounds like Run, (epithet) Run (The Pateroller Song) and another where she sings Mama, Your Son Done Gone.

Not to digress into actual banjo songs, but Libba's banjo playing rules:  Here Old Rattler!

Offline outfidel

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2008, 06:39:45 PM »
How about Jody Stecher playing Uncle Dave Macon:

« Last Edit: July 16, 2008, 06:42:11 PM by outfidel »
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Offline banjochris

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2008, 10:31:45 PM »
On the same Document album that has the Texas field recordings of Smith Casey, the first track is a guy named Pete Harris playing "Square Dance Calls," which is essentially a banjo tune played on guitar.

And going back to Charlie Patton, on "Mississippi Bo Weavil" and "Shake It and Break It," the strum that he plays, rather than sounding like alternating bass guitar picking, has that boom-ditty feel of banjo playing to me. I find it very difficult to replicate that on the guitar, esp. the way Patton does it.
Chris

Offline Nicolas Dussart

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2008, 01:02:05 AM »
On his album Road Trip, Woody Mann plays a very "banjoesque" tune on his Amistar Resonator : Backwoods
You can listen a sample on cdbaby :
http://cdbaby.com/cd/woodymann3
it's the 9th track
« Last Edit: July 17, 2008, 08:26:02 AM by Nicolas Dussart »

Offline frankie

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2008, 06:41:56 AM »
Off topic for this subject, but on the Demons And Angels box set, Rev. Davis sings some square dance verses and imitates a banjo with his voice.  Funny moment, though!

jeffdelfield

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2008, 01:52:59 PM »
Another contemporary player, Frank Lee, who is a master clawhammer banjoist, also plays a mean slide guitar on an old '32 National Duolian.  He arranged Uncle Dave Macon's "Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy" for slide on his Artseen cd at http://cdbaby.com/cd/franklee cut #10. 

By the way, I've been a weenie member for over a year.  Sort of lurking for a while.  Love reading what you all have to say.  Great great stuff.

Jeff
« Last Edit: July 17, 2008, 01:54:12 PM by jeffdelfield »