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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Must have albums

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millennium3 - Posted - 05/08/2020:  12:54:58

Sort of like “Foggy Mountain Banjo” and a few others are must haves for 3 finger banjo, what are some for clawhammer’s ? Thanks!

banjo bill-e - Posted - 05/08/2020:  13:41:56

The three that I recommend are all a bit hard to find, but Banjo Gathering is a two disc compilation of some great players and displays a huge range of styles and techniques and banjo tones.  I keep returning to Dwight Diller's  Just Banjo 99  for solo banjo playing with great rhythm and feel,  and Dan Gellert's ferocious  Waiting on the Break of Day which is half banjo, half screechy fiddling, lots of rough vocals, and I can't get enough of it! 

geemott - Posted - 05/08/2020:  14:21:25

Mike Seeger, "Southern Banjo Sounds"

RG - Posted - 05/08/2020:  14:29:31

The three County Records Clawhammer compilations...;_ss=r;_ss=r

FRC Fred Cockerham CD...;_ss=r

Just to start...

Alvin Conder - Posted - 05/08/2020:  14:37:26

Kyle Creeds “Liberty” album. If you can find it.

RG - Posted - 05/08/2020:  20:37:20


Originally posted by Alvin Conder

Kyle Creeds “Liberty” album. If you can find it.

Bill Rogers - Posted - 05/08/2020:  22:47:36

Walt Koken’s 3 CDs, plus Walt and Clare Milliner “Just Tunes”

Everything by Adam Hurt

RD Lunceford “Drop Thumb” and “Cotton Blossom”

Bertram Levy: “That Old Gut Feeling” and “A Henry Reed Reunion.”

Reed Martin “Old Time Banjo”

That said, note that there is no stylistically definitive clawhammer album/CD because, unlike Earl Scruggs for bluegrass, there is no stylistically definitive player for clawhammer. Round Peak playing, while influential, is hardly definitive. Koken, Hurt, Lunceford, Martin, Levy and Howie Bursen, among others, are superb players with distinctive styles—all different from Round Peak playing. You can’t go wrong with any of them—nor with learning Round Peak style. My suggestion: given the vast range of clawhammer, take what you like from multiple players, and develop you own approach. You’ll have fun and wind up with something unique to you.

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 05/08/2020 22:49:17

janolov - Posted - 05/08/2020:  23:41:58

As Bill says, there is no "Foggy Mountain Banjo" album for old-time music, because old-time is a variety of different styles.

Of those albums already mentioned I would recommend Mike Seeger's Southern Banjo Sound and the three Clawhammer Banjo County records for beginners. Those albums present a good overview of different old-time styles. And after that it is only to choose among the others already mentioned depending on which styles you  like.

BrendanD - Posted - 05/09/2020:  23:22:15


Originally posted by m06

For a guy who doesn't own a turntable over the years I seem to have gathered together a lot of fabulous old time music on vinyl. Luckily a friend who lives nearby has the equipment and is kind enough to put these onto cd for me. Additional to High Atmosphere that I mentioned previously these are my personal favourites that I come back to time and again.

Fine bunch of albums there, Mike! But I can't quite make out the CDs on the left and right. Is that Mac Traynham on the right? He's a fine player, as is his daughter Hanna!

maryzcox - Posted - 05/13/2020:  14:46:50

This has been one of my best selling CDs for 16 years. Lots of folks have written me to say they love it. And if you'd like a clawhammer banjo tab book to go with it--it may ordered directly from my website.

All my spring & summer festivals and gigs have been cancelled & hope you will find a CD or Tab Book on my site that you'd like.  I've been on stay at home for 10 weeks now.  Hope you and your family are safe and healthy.

Edited by - maryzcox on 05/13/2020 14:47:13

maryzcox - Posted - 05/13/2020:  15:03:28

If you are interested in a clawhammer style of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" in clawhammer with some really wonderful bluegrass musicians.   It was an honor to play clawhammer style banjo with bluegrass musicians --Tim Gardner (Unspoken tradition) & Darren Nicholson (Balsam Range. )  There's lots of good old time clawhammer on it too.  

This was my 20th year anniversary CD of recording my first CD--Vintage Banjo.   Many folks have written me to say it is their favorite of all my CDs.    And--there's a really fun banjo tab book for Carolina Banjo on my website.

ps. I've played banjo since I was 12 years old and have been recording banjo CDs for 21 years.  I do not have a promoter or agent --only folks who chance upon my music and like it--so please take a listen and if you love something--please order--it'll keep me going during the quarantine :)

Edited by - maryzcox on 05/13/2020 15:03:45

John Gribble - Posted - 05/13/2020:  20:54:34

With the others mentioned, I'd include Banjo Haiku by Cathy Fink

Matt Buckley - Posted - 05/14/2020:  14:57:57

Anything, everything by Adam Hurt. Buy them all.

Paul R - Posted - 05/14/2020:  20:17:36

John Balch's CDs Carry on John and Hot Biscuit Jam.

hobogal - Posted - 05/15/2020:  00:20:49

Any Stephen Wade e.g. Dancing in the Parlor

Any Paul Brown

Allen Hart: Old-time Banjo

Cathy Fink: Banjo Haiku

Old-time Mountain Banjo - compilation County Records

The McGee Brothers and Arthur Smith: Look who's here!

Edited by - hobogal on 05/15/2020 00:22:23

ceemonster - Posted - 05/18/2020:  11:01:49

The three "County Clawhammer" compilations, especially Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, were life-changing for me, and I return to them again and again.

In Round Peak style, Tommy Jarrell, a wonderful clawhammer player as well as a fiddler, made an all-banjo solo LP that was hard to find for a long while but is currently available on CD, "Come and Go With Me." The CD version did not yet exist and the LP was not to be found, when I began learning banjo. I fell hard for both the Round Peak and West Virginia Hammons Family/Wade Ward styles, and my teacher loaned me his well-worn copy of the Jarrell banjo LP. I remember putting it on the turntable and feeling like I'd been given a secret key to a magical dream world.

Speaking of Wade Ward, "Uncle Wade: A Memorial to Wade Ward," is another gem.

The three Dwight Diller recordings that really foreground the banjo are top favorites for me---The first can be had in mp3 form, the other two you have to hunt for:

---"Jericho Road":  This one is available on bandcamp, thankfully

----"Just Banjo"

---"Just Banjo '99"



Edited by - ceemonster on 05/18/2020 11:09:47

biker30x - Posted - 05/19/2020:  10:48:39

Some perfect suggestions. In addition to everything by Adam Hurt - I'd like to suggest everything by Chris Coole, his duet albums with Arnie Naiman and his string band recordings (Lonesome Ace SB and Good Right Arm SB).

swampyankee11 - Posted - 05/19/2020:  11:02:21

Chris Coole & Arnie Naiman - 5 Strings Attached
Ariel Winick - Glory Beams
Steve Baughman - O'er Quiet Lands Suspended

hoodoo - Posted - 05/19/2020:  11:11:07


Originally posted by hobogal

Any Stephen Wade e.g. Dancing in the Parlor

Any Paul Brown

Allen Hart: Old-time Banjo

Cathy Fink: Banjo Haiku

Old-time Mountain Banjo - compilation County Records

The McGee Brothers and Arthur Smith: Look who's here!

I really enjoy Paul Brown's music as well. 

Matt Buckley - Posted - 05/19/2020:  15:59:56

I, too, am a huge Chris Coole fan. Brilliant player, and singer.

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