Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

639
Banjo Lovers Online


 All Forums
 Other Banjo-Related Topics
 Collector's Corner
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: New Lost City Ramblers on Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/374796

The Old Timer - Posted - 05/04/2021:  12:26:56


Here's a blast from the past, with many good looks at some tasty vintage banjos, mandolin and guitar. The New Lost City Ramblers on Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest, filmed in Newark NJ.

First you can get a very good look at a "Pete Seeger" model Vega banjo, with banjo tuners, a wooden armrest and a Paramount window latch tailpiece.

When the Ramblers come in there's a sweet old 00 Martin guitar, a blonde Gibson F5 fern mandolin and eventually Mike Seeger's old RB-3 or 75 (whichever).

Pete even picks out Rye Straw on the old Gibson mandolin.

youtube.com/watch?v=QcETUbtZyjg

Anybody who can add some comments on the banjos would be appreciated.

Jim Yates - Posted - 05/04/2021:  12:50:53


I have this on VHS.

I loved this show, filmed with the bare minimum - two cameras, one mic and no do-overs, funded completely by Pete and Toshi.

The participants sat around a kitchen table with a pot of coffee on it. No one got upset if someone else decided to join in, just like a normal kitchen party.

I remember one show where Pete knocked over a milk bottle in the middle of a song and said, "There goes the milk," without missing a beat.

In this show, Pete, John and Tracy wind up a tune, but Mike just keeps on playing.

Pete grabs his banjo to join the Ramblers for a tune, but, seeing that Mike already has a banjo, he puts down his banjo and grabs Mike's mandolin.

Pete did as much clawhammer style as he did up-picking as we can see on this show.

So many beautiful moments have been preserved for history thanks to Pete and Toshi's Rainbow Quest.


Edited by - Jim Yates on 05/04/2021 12:53:22

Joe Connor - Posted - 05/04/2021:  13:58:58


Amen, Jim. No razzle-dazzle, just solid musical intertainment. Yes, sometimes, less really is more. 


Edited by - Joe Connor on 05/04/2021 13:59:37

Oldtwanger - Posted - 05/04/2021:  14:04:23


quote:

Originally posted by The Old Timer

Here's a blast from the past, with many good looks at some tasty vintage banjos, mandolin and guitar. The New Lost City Ramblers on Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest, filmed in Newark NJ.



First you can get a very good look at a "Pete Seeger" model Vega banjo, with banjo tuners, a wooden armrest and a Paramount window latch tailpiece.



When the Ramblers come in there's a sweet old 00 Martin guitar, a blonde Gibson F5 fern mandolin and eventually Mike Seeger's old RB-3 or 75 (whichever).



Pete even picks out Rye Straw on the old Gibson mandolin.



youtube.com/watch?v=QcETUbtZyjg



Anybody who can add some comments on the banjos would be appreciated.






Mike's banjo was an original RB-3, 9602-10, with leaves and bows inlays.

You will see some photos with slightly different fingerboard inlay positions.  Mike told me that the original board was badly worn and was replaced by Andy Boarman in Virginia.  Andy used the original pearl pieces but changed some inlay positions.

When I first played this banjo in 1967 it had a Remo plastic head that had a small round hole near the armrest melted in it by a cigarette burn.  Next to the hole it was signed "I did this - Carter Stanley".  Later that head hung on Mike's kitchen wall for years.

davidppp - Posted - 05/04/2021:  15:31:01


I first heard them live about ten months after this TV appearance. I had just turned 17. I couldn't get enough.

The Old Timer - Posted - 05/04/2021:  15:38:37


Frank, the Carter Stanley cigarette burn story is the stuff I live for! Thanks.

mikehalloran - Posted - 05/05/2021:  17:04:12


Pete is playing one of the two PS-5s that he was given when Bill Nelson, President of Vega, discovered that Pete didn't have a Pete Seeger. This one has a blonde neck and was used extensively into the 1970s.



If the other ever saw playing action by Pete, I have no knowledge of it. This caused a controversy when offered as a prize for selling out subscriptions to Sing Out! magazine. The person who won it raised a fuss and holler when he was given the owned (but unused) by Pete PS-5. He eventually received the performing banjo. BTW, this person has told his side of it on the BHO and was pretty insistent that there was only one banjo — he was wrong and raised another fuss here about that. Anyway, this apparently left a bad taste among all concerned and Pete then offered the backup banjo as a raffle prize in a fund raiser for the Clearwater. He then went back to playing other banjos in public.



So, there are two museums with "Pete's Vega", two stories about how "it" was acquired and a few online arguments among those who either don't know or don't believe that Pete owned two of them.



Anyway, Bill Nelson wrote an article (or gave an interview) where he was quite clear that he had given two PS-5s to Pete — I have a copy of that somewhere.



 

The Old Timer - Posted - 05/05/2021:  19:39:40


Thanks Mike!!!

The Old Timer - Posted - 05/05/2021:  19:43:08


BTW I cross posted this on the Lloyd Loar FB page for comments on the Gibson F5 Fern mandolin.

Turns out Mike S owned 3 or 4 old Gibsons, including multiple Loars. This particular one was a 1928 or so that came from Big Jim Williams who played with Mac Wiseman and the Stanley Brothers. Apparently it had what was thought to be a "thick" top so Big Jim thinned it down, stripped the finish and did other "upgrades" (to use a popular phrase on the banjo world) and got it to sound quite good according to those who know it.

One of Mike's Loars was GIVEN to young David McLaughlin of the Johnson Mt Boys, in whose caring hands it remains.

Joe Connor - Posted - 05/06/2021:  06:38:00


Adding to the mystery of Pete's PS-5s is the one that came up for sale in 2015. It was supposedly given by Pete to Bernie Krause of the Weavers. (Bernie replaced Frank Hamilton, who replaced Erik Darling, who replaced Pete). I'm linking to the prior thread on the Krause banjo. Does anyone know if the Krause banjo eventually sold and if so, what the price was?



banjohangout.org/archive/311914



An interesting sidelight to the story Mike Halloran told in his post is how Nelson came to give Pete the two PS-5s. When Vega came out with the PS-5 model, Pete gave the company permission to use his name but told Nelson that he didn't want to be bothered with royalties. When the PS-5s sold very well during the folk boom, Nelson gave Pete the two PS-5s to compensate him for not taking any royalties. Pete jokingly called it payola. 


Edited by - Joe Connor on 05/06/2021 06:49:20

BanjoLink - Posted - 05/06/2021:  07:39:02


Talk about nostalgia! This ranks right up there. It was folk music first and then Flat and Scruggs that steered me to the banjo!

Joe Connor - Posted - 05/06/2021:  07:52:11


John B., it would have been heaven to have Flatt & Scruggs appear on "Rainbow Quest." Imagine Pete jamming with Earl!

Jim Yates - Posted - 05/06/2021:  22:54:00


Hey Joe, I'm sure I did see the Stanley Brothers on Pete's show.

banjowannabe - Posted - 05/07/2021:  05:08:45


Cool stuff. Pete's luthier was (is?) on the hangout about ten years ago. He invited me to come by Pete's place for Sunday potluck. I think they had one every other week. "Bring your banjo and a dish to pass." One of those things I never did and will always regret. Just too intimidated, and given Pete's view of the world, I shouldn't have been intimidated at all.

Joe Connor - Posted - 05/07/2021:  05:39:35


I think you're right, Jim.

BanjoLink - Posted - 05/07/2021:  07:48:35


quote:

Originally posted by Joe Connor

John B., it would have been heaven to have Flatt & Scruggs appear on "Rainbow Quest." Imagine Pete jamming with Earl!






That would have been awesome.  My aunt that lived with us always thought that Earl's first name was Flatten!smiley

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.0625