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&at=11l9vR
  2. Josh Thomas's Roustabouthttp://itunes.apple.com/album/josh-thomass-roustabout/id89207046?i=89203047&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  3. Jim Crack Cornhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/southern-banjo-sounds/id89207046?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  4. Darling Corahttp://itunes.apple.com/album/darling-cora-darling-corey/id89207046?i=89203310&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  5. Devil's Dreamhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/devils-dream/id89207046?i=89203523&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  6. Little Birdiehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/little-birdie/id89207046?i=89203671&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  7. Around the Worldhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/around-the-world/id89207046?i=89203882&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  8. Whoopin' Up Cattlehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/whoopin-up-cattle/id89207046?i=89204046&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  9. Flop Eared Mulehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/flop-eared-mule/id89207046?i=89204248&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  10. Lost Ganderhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/lost-gander/id89207046?i=89204334&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  11. The Sailor and the Soldierhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-sailor-and-the-soldier/id89207046?i=89204489&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  12. American Spanish Fandangohttp://itunes.apple.com/album/american-spanish-fandango/id89207046?i=89204606&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  13. Got No Silver Nor Gold Blueshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/got-no-silver-nor-gold-blues/id89207046?i=89204733&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  14. We're Up Against It Nowhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/were-up-against-it-now/id89207046?i=89204867&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  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&at=11l9vR
  16. The Last of Callahanhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-last-of-callahan/id89207046?i=89205084&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  17. Lady Gayhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/lady-gay/id89207046?i=89205168&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  18. Down South Blueshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/down-south-blues/id89207046?i=89205407&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  19. Last Night When My Willie Come Homehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/southern-banjo-sounds/id89207046?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  20. Wabash Blueshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/southern-banjo-sounds/id89207046?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  21. Bright Sunny Southhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/bright-sunny-south/id89207046?i=89205982&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  22. Roll on Johnhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/roll-on-john/id89207046?i=89206125&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  23. Needlecasehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/needlecase/id89207046?i=89206414&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  24. Come My Little Pinkhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/come-my-little-pink/id89207046?i=89206520&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  25. Battle in the Horseshoehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/battle-in-the-horseshoe/id89207046?i=89206745&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  26. I'm Head Over Heels in Lovehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/im-head-over-heels-in-love/id89207046?i=89206875&uo=5&at=11l9vR
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