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Traditional Pottery & finding Clawhammer Banjo

Posted by guywolff on Wednesday, July 3, 2013

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As a young potter in 1969 I went to work part of the summer at Jugtown Pottery in Sea Grove NC . It turned out Nancy Sweezey who was taking up the job of keeping this great old shop healthy was one of the organizers of the New Port Folk Festival .Her friend Ralph Rinzler became a trustee for Jugtown and  was just putting together the FolkLife Department at The Smithsonian.Together they had helped book New Port for years and Ralph was the guy that brought a lot of this great music from the South to the North . . At any rate there were all these great records of Clarence Tom Ashley at Jugtown and while my friends were going off to Woodstock in the rain,  I was becoming enamored with Clawhammer banjo .. I started studying banjo more seriously as my work took me to South Wales .. When I got back to New England I started sitting in with a great fiddler named Tude Tangquay and his square dance band and getting a great banjo from Roger Sprung .. By 1974-5 I was playing with Gordon Titicomb in a great dance band named Polcat .Later I worked with Liu Collins touring New England playing the folk clubs .PLaying traditional music has always informed my pottery making and making traditional pottery has always informed my banjo playing .So great to be able to talk to banjo players here ! All the best  to anyone reading this .. Yours Guy 



6 comments on “Traditional Pottery & finding Clawhammer Banjo”

BrittDLD1 Says:
Friday, July 5, 2013 @7:25:47 AM

Wow! You certainly had some great people to help steer you in the right direction! (Banjos are ALWAYS 'right' ;-)

vicbiver Says:
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 @8:39:48 AM

Your clawhammer playing was excellent.

Brooklynbanjoboy Says:
Sunday, December 1, 2013 @2:27:45 AM

Great personal musical journey. Thanks for sharing that.
V/R,
Lew

guywolff Says:
Sunday, December 1, 2013 @6:40:24 AM

THanks Lew, Great talking to you via email ! .. Ed I still have not gotten up to Jim's in Lexington with the B&D but hope to meet you this year when I do .. Vic :Thanks for the very kind words.. ..... Hello to all , G

Bob Sayers Says:
Monday, May 11, 2015 @2:38:28 PM

Hi Guy, I'm very much enjoying your YouTube videos, especially your use of relatively unadorned early banjos (including minstrel banjos) for playing clawhammer style. In my dotage, I find that I'm also retreating to earlier instruments and earlier sounds. By the way, I was a student intern during the 1968 Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife. Later that summer Ralph Rinzler dispatched me with a Nagra tape recorder and a suitcase full of open reel tapes to go find Southern potters to interview. The end result was a couple of articles and a book (The Meaders Family: North Georgia Potters). A decade later Ralph and I interviewed traditional potters in South Korea, resulting in a second monograph, The Korean Onggi Potter. I also knew Nancy Sweezey quite well, as well as the folks at Jugtown (Vernon and Pam and Bobby Owens). Great memories! By the way, I have a retired potter friend, Bill Klock, now living in Vermont (Shelburne, I think). All best, Bob Sayers

guywolff Says:
Friday, June 23, 2017 @6:37:27 AM

WHat a gift meeting Bob here .. I had been such a fan of what Smithsonian was doing and saving for us all .. Bob's work has given so much to so many ..

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