Album Details

RELEASE
September 15, 1998
LABEL
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
GENRES
Folk, String Bands, Traditional Folk, Old-Timey, Traditional Country

Album Review

With this collection, Mike Seeger's intention is to illustrate the wide variety of banjo sounds heard in the rural South before 1950. Each of the 26 tracks employs a different style, using a range of techniques, many in the clawhammer, two-finger, and three-finger style; "Come My Little Pink," for instance, specifically emulates Earl Scruggs' playing. The repertoire of the songs chosen covers a similarly wide range, from blues and bluegrass to 19th century African-American banjo and traditional folk. As icing on the cake, no less than 23 separate banjos were used in the recording (photos of each model are in the liner notes). As you might gather from such a carefully assembled disc, the presentation tends toward the academic and preservationist, rather than the original and artistic; Seeger is a fine and versatile player, though only adequate as a singer. It's of most use to banjo players and scholarly types looking for a handy reference to Southern banjo styles, and it's a successful project when judged by those standards, embellished by lengthy and readable liner notes from Seeger, including a brief history of the American banjo and details about each track. The most unusual item is "Down South Blues" (which Seeger learned from Dock Boggs), on which he achieves a slide banjo-like effect.
Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Soon in the Morning Babehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/soon-in-the-morning-babe/id89207046?i=89202921&uo=5
  2. Josh Thomas's Roustabouthttp://itunes.apple.com/album/josh-thomass-roustabout/id89207046?i=89203047&uo=5
  3. Jim Crack Cornhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/southern-banjo-sounds/id89207046?uo=5
  4. Darling Corahttp://itunes.apple.com/album/darling-cora-darling-corey/id89207046?i=89203310&uo=5
  5. Devil's Dreamhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/devils-dream/id89207046?i=89203523&uo=5
  6. Little Birdiehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/little-birdie/id89207046?i=89203671&uo=5
  7. Around the Worldhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/around-the-world/id89207046?i=89203882&uo=5
  8. Whoopin' Up Cattlehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/whoopin-up-cattle/id89207046?i=89204046&uo=5
  9. Flop Eared Mulehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/flop-eared-mule/id89207046?i=89204248&uo=5
  10. Lost Ganderhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/lost-gander/id89207046?i=89204334&uo=5
  11. The Sailor and the Soldierhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-sailor-and-the-soldier/id89207046?i=89204489&uo=5
  12. American Spanish Fandangohttp://itunes.apple.com/album/american-spanish-fandango/id89207046?i=89204606&uo=5
  13. Got No Silver Nor Gold Blueshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/got-no-silver-nor-gold-blues/id89207046?i=89204733&uo=5
  14. We're Up Against It Nowhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/were-up-against-it-now/id89207046?i=89204867&uo=5
  15. That's What the Old Bachelor's Made Out Ofhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/thats-what-old-bachelors-made/id89207046?i=89204955&uo=5
  16. The Last of Callahanhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-last-of-callahan/id89207046?i=89205084&uo=5
  17. Lady Gayhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/lady-gay/id89207046?i=89205168&uo=5
  18. Down South Blueshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/down-south-blues/id89207046?i=89205407&uo=5
  19. Last Night When My Willie Come Homehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/southern-banjo-sounds/id89207046?uo=5
  20. Wabash Blueshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/southern-banjo-sounds/id89207046?uo=5
  21. Bright Sunny Southhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/bright-sunny-south/id89207046?i=89205982&uo=5
  22. Roll on Johnhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/roll-on-john/id89207046?i=89206125&uo=5
  23. Needlecasehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/needlecase/id89207046?i=89206414&uo=5
  24. Come My Little Pinkhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/come-my-little-pink/id89207046?i=89206520&uo=5
  25. Battle in the Horseshoehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/battle-in-the-horseshoe/id89207046?i=89206745&uo=5
  26. I'm Head Over Heels in Lovehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/im-head-over-heels-in-love/id89207046?i=89206875&uo=5
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