Posted by Paul Bock on Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Sometimes I think back to when I first started trying to figure out how to play a 5-string banjo - in April, 1956, with a cheap Sears & Roebuck resonator instrument - and the motivation I got from the handful of better-known bands that I got to see live and in person. During the mid-late 1950s, at the old Lyric Theater in downtown Richmond, VA, I watched Don Reno, Red Smiley, and the Tennessee Cutups live on stage at least twice and live on TV several times. Other live stage-show favorites of that time were Bill Clifton & the Dixie Mt. Boys (Johnny Clark on banjo); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper and the Clinch Mt. Clan (Joe Drumwright on banjo); and local favorites The Bent Mt. Boys and whatever "stage band" Harlan Bumgardner was in (I liked Harlan's banjo playing a lot). In 1960 I saw Jimmy Dean and the Texas Wildcats at the championships in Warrenton, VA, and thrilled to Smitty Irwin on banjo - I also saw them a lot on TV during that era - and of course Don & Red were at that event as well (and Red Smiley actually spoke to us!). In 1962, I was in Raleigh, NC, and saw a live show of Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs (what a great show!) and also watched them numerous times on TV with their live show (where I once saw Earl completely blow the run/lick in the middle of the 2nd break to "Bugle Call Rag" on live TV!).
And now I listen to Bela Fleck and wonder how in the world anyone can get that many notes out of a banjo in so many different genres of music! 65 years of fooling with the banjo, and counting!
You must sign into your myHangout account before you can post comments.
'Street band' 1 hr
'Goods Sunday Morning' 9 hrs