Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

622
Banjo Lovers Online


Sep 19, 2021 - 1:29:19 AM
likes this

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

25217 posts since 6/25/2005

Just skimming the Al Capone entry in Wikipedia and noticed the claim that Capone played banjo in the Alcatraz prison band. No other details. I assume it was a jazz aggregation and a tenor or plectrum banjo, but that's pure speculation. With the money he had, and the era, surely he would have had a high-end B&D, Vega, Paramount or Gibson. 

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 09/19/2021 01:30:51

Sep 19, 2021 - 4:24:16 AM

427 posts since 5/30/2016

Yes, and you can find some more info about this on YouTube, just do a search on Al Capone banjo and it should come up.

Sep 20, 2021 - 1:29:10 AM

phb

Germany

2978 posts since 11/8/2010

I'd expect it to be a tenor banjo tuned in 5ths because Al Capone also played the mandola which was and still is an instrument very popular in the south of Italy.

Edited by - phb on 09/20/2021 01:30:03

Sep 20, 2021 - 6:53:39 AM

7246 posts since 11/4/2005



Supposedly of Al in his cell with his tenor banjo.

Sep 20, 2021 - 6:55:52 AM
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

20396 posts since 6/30/2015

Some info on Al Capone playing banjo in prison - before he went crazy. Don't know if playing the banjo contributed to the insanity or not.

imusicalia.net/which-prisoner-...ate-band/

Sep 20, 2021 - 8:33:21 AM

7246 posts since 11/4/2005

quote:
Originally posted by DC5

Some info on Al Capone playing banjo in prison - before he went crazy. Don't know if playing the banjo contributed to the insanity or not.

imusicalia.net/which-prisoner-...ate-band/


I think it's pretty well-accepted that it was his syphallis.

Sep 20, 2021 - 8:53:38 AM

chief3

Canada

1131 posts since 10/26/2003

It seems  likely that Al Capone did not actually play in the Alcatraz prison band. More likely, the Alcatraz prison band played with Al Capone.  wink

Edited by - chief3 on 09/20/2021 08:56:24

Sep 20, 2021 - 8:55:26 AM

cevant

USA

234 posts since 2/5/2020

Yeah, yeah... but did he get a t-shirt?

ebay.com/itm/Lee-Harvey-Oswald...32-2357-0

Sep 20, 2021 - 9:37:29 AM
like this
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

20396 posts since 6/30/2015

quote:
Originally posted by Don Borchelt
quote:
Originally posted by DC5

Some info on Al Capone playing banjo in prison - before he went crazy. Don't know if playing the banjo contributed to the insanity or not.

imusicalia.net/which-prisoner-...ate-band/


I think it's pretty well-accepted that it was his syphallis.


Well we can pretty much rule out that the banjo playing led to syphallis. cheeky

Sep 21, 2021 - 9:09:16 PM

Paul R

Canada

14998 posts since 1/28/2010
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by chief3

It seems  likely that Al Capone did not actually play in the Alcatraz prison band. More likely, the Alcatraz prison band played with Al Capone.  wink


And that Al played any time he wanted to, day or night. laugh

Sep 21, 2021 - 9:51:18 PM

chuckv97

Canada

59550 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

But that doesn’t mean Capone never got his way. According to Don Babwin of the Associated Press, Capone “begged the warden for permission to form a small band.” Capone racked up time for good behavior and took up music, playing banjo in a band called “The Rock Islanders.” The band had a rotating group of musicians who played as a privilege, and if Capone’s letter to his son is any indication, he relished the chance to play both banjo and mandola (an instrument that resembles a large mandolin).

“First I learned a Tenor Guitar and then a Tenor Banjo, and now the Mandola, but for Solo work only,” he wrote to his son, boasting that he could play over 500 songs. Capone even wrote a love song song, “Madonna Mia,” that was published posthumously in 2009. - Smithsonian

Sep 23, 2021 - 6:34:23 PM

134 posts since 2/15/2018

Makes me wonder who took that photo of Big Al from the perspective of inside his cell. One would assume a newspaper photographer? Hard to tell; I'm no expert, but from everything you hear about Alcatraz in the 30's, it's hard to believe the authorities would give the press access to take pictures. Another inmate? Strongly doubt that, unless there was a prison newspaper or newsletter of some sort. Maybe a correctional officer looking for a souvenir?

Sep 23, 2021 - 7:26:31 PM

7246 posts since 11/4/2005

Garry wrote: "Makes me wonder who took that photo of Big Al from the perspective of inside his cell."

That's why I used the used word "supposedly." Got it off the internet; it was one of several from different angles. I'm suspicious. It seems a little too clear for the time period.

Sep 23, 2021 - 11:54:45 PM

Paul R

Canada

14998 posts since 1/28/2010
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Don Borchelt

Garry wrote: "Makes me wonder who took that photo of Big Al from the perspective of inside his cell."

That's why I used the used word "supposedly." Got it off the internet; it was one of several from different angles. I'm suspicious. It seems a little too clear for the time period.


Actually, there are some pretty good photos from back then. But I wonder if it's really Al Capone. And what is that little girl doing outside his cell?

Sep 24, 2021 - 2:29:30 AM

134 posts since 2/15/2018

And the shoes don’t strike me as being prison issue.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.171875