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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Mysterious banjo player

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KayFu - Posted - 01/16/2016:  11:49:55

Dear folkies and banjo enthusiasts,

today I contact you with a question roaming through my brain for about 30 years. It must have been in the middle of the eighties that I heard a banjo player on a radio show called "Folk Review" which was broadcasted by the British Radio station called BFBS which at that time was on air in Germany where I live. To this time I was and still am very interested in celtic folk music on one side and on the other in five string banjo music from America.

But to come to the point, it was a broadcast of a live performance of this sole artist who, from his pronunciation must have been a English man, maybe Scottish or even Irish but surely not American. And he was performing folk songs from the Isles. Only three pieces I still remember:

1. Steppin out Mary

2. Hang your head Tom Dolley

- although a American song and tune but he did it in a, I would say, celtic version. Firstly he used the origional text saying: "Hang your head Tom Dooley, hang your head and cry. You killed poor Laura Foster and you know you're bound to die..." . Above this he didn't lay the pronunciation with an high on "Dooley" but sang the sentence relatively monotonously without pronunciation.

3. My favorite was a song of which I in 30 years was unable to find the title. It was a sad love-song. All I still remember is the refrain which goes:

"If I find a way and the time to return

Battered by the storms, blown by the wind

Will you still be there when the snow lies all around

And the leaves that once were green have turned to brown?"

Above all his sole instrument (as far as I have heared) was a Five-string Banjo which he was able to pick in a general Blue Grass Style but also played Old Style and clawhammer elements as far as I remember.

The artist must have been around his 30s in the mid eightys.

I'd be so happy trace this artist and if someone of you might have an idea.

All the best and greetings from Germany,


yopasjim - Posted - 01/16/2016:  11:59:13

When I Googled the refrain I found this webiste:

It gives a similar song.  Maybe it will lead you on a deeper search for your answer. is the homepage for the above link.

It gives an email address.  I would contact him and find out where he found the poem he quoted on his site.


Edited by - yopasjim on 01/16/2016 12:04:43

KayFu - Posted - 01/16/2016:  12:10:28

Hi yopasjim,

yes, I also found this site but even this person who runs it has not given a title of the song. So I didn't think to get any rewards by contacting him. Anyway, you'r probably right and I simply try it.




yopasjim - Posted - 01/16/2016:  12:18:57

I will keep looking.  My guess is that it is a poem.

I would try this website:


yopasjim - Posted - 01/16/2016:  17:02:00

Kay, did you contact Nathan?  This is what he wrote me:

Unfortunately, I don't know much beyond what's on that page. The text is 

transcribed from a pub recording I made in 1988. The band's name was 

Muckle Ado, and I think this is the same band, though I can't be sure:


yopasjim - Posted - 01/16/2016:  18:58:21

Kay, my wife suggested that you Google the name of the "Muckle Ado" group.

These are the names I have: Gordon Inglis (12 string guitar, mandolin, drums), Colin Frost (6 string guitar, mandolin, drums) and Dave Britain (6 string guitar, banjo).

I did find a Facebook page of a Colin Frost in Liverpool playing Beatle songs. I emailed him. No response yet.

I tried looking for the other men....especially Dave Britain. Do you know how old these men would be?

KayFu - Posted - 01/17/2016:  04:38:51

Dear Jim,


thank you for your efforts! This is exactly the way I took in the last couple of days before entering this forum. I also focused on the banjo player of Muckle Ado named Dave Britain. This is where I stopped as I didn't find out anything about this guy. The group made two LPs and for both there are six short MP3 available. However this music is so different to the music my banjo player in search made that I personally think it is not rewarding to go further. Yes, Nathan gave me the same information's.

Well really strange isn't it ? This artist gave live concerts which were broadcasted by radio but still is not traceable.

By the way, in August me and my family made great great holidays by traveling the I90 from Boston to Seattle and to Ocean Shores. I'm a birdwatcher and I tried to find a rare sea-gull in Yakima!




yopasjim - Posted - 01/17/2016:  07:05:18

Well I will keep looking.  I am still waiting on hearing from Mr. Frost.  

You were in my area?  Oh my.  It would have been an honor to meet up with you!

Hope you are able to find the song title and singer.

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