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At his first performance, in the Empire Theatre in Glasgow on August 1, the audience went wild when Waller made his entrance wearing a kilt. When he sat down at the piano and swung "Loch Lomond," he had them in knots - Fats Waller tours the UK in 1938, from Spreadin' Rhythm Around, Jasen and Jones

Author Topic: Banjo on guitar  (Read 7408 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 »

Offline Slack

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2008, 02:03:53 PM »
Welcome Jeff - glad you de-lurked!  You get the lurking longevity prize!  ;D

I understand the Freight Hoppers are back together again and doing a tour (you can google their myspace page for tour dates.)

Cheers,

Offline unezrider

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2008, 05:04:47 PM »
hello friend,
i had read this post yesterday, & thought nothing of it. but last night while i was listening to the county records disc, 'old time music from southwest virginia' it occurred to me - no one mentioned emry arthur's fine version of 'reuben oh reuben'!
last summer i was trying to get into playing those types of songs on my guitar, but alas, never got terribly far with it. wasn't sure if i should be playing in a particular tuning, or what not.
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline Johnm

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2008, 05:18:53 PM »
Hi all,
unezrider, you're right, Emry Arthur's version of "Reuben" is great.  Go to Vestapol tuned low, around C, and you should have it pretty quick.
On "Shake Sugaree", Libba Cotten does "Mama, Nobody's Here but the Baby" in a banjo style on the guitar.  I have the feeling she could have done this kind of material until the cows came home but didn't get asked for it that often.
Henry Townsend's "Jack of Diamonds/Georgia Rub" sounds pretty banjoey to me; certainly much more than anything else I ever heard him do.  I also think the way that Henry Thomas played time, not when he was doing more intricate melodic stuff like "Texas Easy Street", but just keeping time, like "Charming Betsy", sounds banjo-influenced in the right hand and the way he lifts his left hand periodically and keeps rapping with his right hand.
All best,
Johnm 

jeffdelfield

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2008, 05:22:37 PM »
Welcome Jeff - glad you de-lurked!  You get the lurking longevity prize!  ;D

I understand the Freight Hoppers are back together again and doing a tour (you can google their myspace page for tour dates.)

Cheers,

Thanks for the warm welcome, Slack.  

I actually live in Bryson City, where the Freighthoppers call home.  I'm the town librarian and the Freighthoppers dubuted their new line-up at my library last December.  Anyway, I know Frank well enough to call him and ask if he did indeed come up with the "Skillet" arrangement.  Here he is with Isaac Deal, also of the Freighthoppers, playing about a month ago at the library (at 2:17 "Skillet" begins).

http://www.youtube.com/v/N1nvxH6ncfI&hl
« Last Edit: July 17, 2008, 05:40:23 PM by Slack »

Offline Slack

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2008, 05:51:19 PM »
Ha!  Thanks for posting the clip Jeff, love the NuGrape ditty!

Great vocals, Freight Hoppers are coming to Sante Fe, which is about 5 hours away from here, I know some folks that are going -- I may try, but August is shaping up to be a tough one, time-off wise (I just need to prematurely retire!)

Cheers,


Offline unezrider

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2008, 10:23:10 AM »
hi john,
thanks for the tuning tip on 'reuben'.
chris
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline Mike McLaren

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2008, 12:20:38 AM »
Unfortunately, I'm also a banjo picker, and I find a lot of my banjo style slipping into my dobro blues. One instrument can't help affecting another.

 :D
Woke up this morning... I think.

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2008, 01:01:47 AM »
Unfortunately, I'm also a banjo picker, and I find a lot of my banjo style slipping into my dobro blues. One instrument can't help affecting another.

 :D

Surely they have medication for that kind of thing these days?!?!  >:D
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Mike McLaren

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2008, 09:48:20 AM »
Hey Parlor.

What I shouldn't admit is that I sometimes toss in kazoo over the whole mess. I'm in counseling!

 :P
Woke up this morning... I think.

Offline Slack

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2008, 07:09:14 AM »
Mike, we need to get you to Port Townsend - you'll fit right in.  ;D  (Although, it is mostly the guitjo) 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2010, 09:02:42 AM »
Hi all,
Henry Townsend's version of "Poor Man Blues", recorded at his first session, has a very banjoey sort of right hand approach with a thumb lead in the right hand.  It's an exceptionally pretty tune, too, that, for whatever reason, you never hear mentioned.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Baird

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2010, 01:16:00 PM »
Virgil Anderson does some really nice banjo influenced guitar playing.
There are a bunch of his songs on the Digital Library of Appalachia.
Most are banjo except for these two that he plays on guitar.

alabama water

http://www.aca-dla.org/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/Berea43&CISOPTR=3010&filename=3011.mp3

poor boy

http://www.aca-dla.org/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/Berea43&CISOPTR=3011&filename=3012.mp3

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2011, 08:18:54 AM »
Albert Macon plays "Simon Joe", a mishearing of Diamond Joe, on guitar but very much in a banjo style. He was recorded by George Mitchell, and this is one of the solo songs by him not included on the Fat Possum boxed set but that is available through emusic. I haven't checked with an instrument, but it sounds like he's playing in Vestapol tuned low.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2011, 08:21:54 PM »
Doc Watson migrated a lot of old time banjo stuff to the guitar while playing with Clarence Ashley, best example I can think of right now is Little Sadie which falls so naturally to hand on clawhammer banjo in sawmill tuning you'd have to conclude that Doc's admittedly classic flatpick guitar rendering was inspired by Clarence's banjo playing. Tough to back up old time banjo so brilliantly and effortlessly, trust me I've tried, and so far failed.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Banjo on guitar
« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2011, 06:52:40 PM »
Hi all,
I've been listening to the Flyright album "Orange County Special" (thanks, Peter B.), and Wilbert Atwater does a beautiful job of playing banjo on guitar on "Long-Tailed Bird" there.  He plays it with a thumb lead out of C in standard tuning in an approach very akin to what Frank Hutchison used for his version of "Cumberland Gap".
All best,
Johnm

 


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