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Tommy Jarrell with Bert Dickens 

Posted 5/18/2007 2:41:35 PM

Photo taken by Alice Gerrard ca. 1983, possibly Galax. Bert is playing a 50s or 60s "bowtie" Gibson mastertone---obviously it was not her first banjo, but it was her only banjo at the time I knew her. She was frail & the banjo weighed about as much as she did! Bert played dance tunes in a spare, elegant clawhammer style but she also 2-fingerpicked tunes such as Cleveland's March, Little Black Dog, and County Jail

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4 comments on “Tommy Jarrell with Bert Dickens”

Austin Stovall Says:
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 @9:05:02 PM

Cool picture. I would love to hear what she and Tommy sounded like together!

gailg64 Says:
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 @6:58:58 AM

A friend who lives in W. Jefferson made recordings of them in the 1960s. I've heard the recordings (now donated to the SFC but they're reel to reel & haven't been digitized.) It's just as wonderful as you imagine. She had more brush than band banjo players like Kyle Creed & of course the overall rhythm was right on the money. They played dances together when they were young.

Austin Stovall Says:
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 @8:40:56 PM

The way you describe her playing is how I imagined she sounded. I tend to like a brushier clawhammer sound than what is typically refered to as round peak style.

gailg64 Says:
Thursday, June 13, 2013 @8:37:18 AM

Yep. Contemporary players I know who have a similar old-time clawhammer style are Mac Traynham & Brett Riggs.

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