Posted by yellowdog on Saturday, February 25, 2012
I just added scans and descriptions of my new Tone Wings for "professional grade banjos", (those usually expensive and made with a lot of good quality metal), and inexpensive banjos (those containing mostly wood or wood and cheap metal) to the photo section here. To see them just click the photo tab above my picture. These are the ones that I use in my Gibson Mastertone tenor banjo (for solos) and my modified Gold Tone CC Irish tenor (for playing in weekly pub sessions). Both will be offered for sale on my website when it is eventually completed but if you are interested in purchasing one of these early just send me a BHO message and I'll quote you a price. The price will probably be around $10.
The new Tone Wing for violins has not been announced but is very exciting because it gives my very inexpensive fiddle a loud and beautiful sound. It is being tested now in live performances so is almost ready to be announced and made ready for sale. It should also be priced around $10. I'll post pictures of it here soon.
Had a typical gig today - entertaining seniors in a one-hour show in a local retirement community. I like to have some kind of theme to my shows and didn't have anything in mind when I arrived. I set up my mic and speaker and was waiting in the lobby to start when I noticed that their bulletin board said this month was Black History Month. Bingo! That would be my theme - a tribute to black composers and entertainers who had such a large impact on American popular music - which is the music that I play. I was already wearing a black derby hat just like Fats Waller wore, so I began talking about my hat, and Fats, played his composition, "Ain't Misbehaving" and his big hit, "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter", and told the story about Fats being kidnapped in Chicago by four gangsters who blindfolded him and drove him to play at Al Capone's birthday party. (They kept him for three days!). Then played James A. Bland's "Golden Slippers" cakewalk and talked about him, the son of a freed slave, who entertained royalty with a banjo in Europe for many years. He wrote "Carry Me Back To Old Virginny" which was the state song of the State of Virginia until they "retired" it because of its insensitive lyrics. (It is now the "State Song Emeritus" of Virginia - a wise and respectful decision because the song is truly wonderful.) And then talked about Shelton Brooks, who wrote Sophie Tucker's theme song, "Some of These Days" and told that story, and then played his biggest hit, "Darktown Strutters Ball", which made me think of the black composers of New Orleans and "Everybody Loves My Baby", and Louis Armstrong, and the King of Ragtime, Scott Joplin....etc., etc.
What a pity that I did not think of Black History Month until ten minutes before I went on! But I'll be ready next February with a proper tribute to Black composers and entertainers of the past. They have enriched my life beyond measure and I am grateful to every one them.
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'Heavy Metal Banjo' 1 hr
'TIME FOR A TUNE' 1 hr
'Arkansas Traveler' 1 hr
'Mikes Mute' 2 hrs