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May 27, 2022 - 12:33:50 AM
4 posts since 5/27/2022

My mother met Paul Simon in a folk club in Reading in 1964/65. He gave her his banjo. I still have it and would like to contact him to tell him and ask him if he remembers her. She passed away in 2006, so I can't get any more information. I am trying to identify the make of the banjo as a first step. It has some logos on it in gold. Can anyone here identify this? Really grateful for any help.

Edited by - MaddyW on 05/27/2022 00:39:40

May 27, 2022 - 12:42:42 AM

4119 posts since 4/29/2012

quote:
Originally posted by MaddyW

My mother met Paul Simon in a folk club in Reading in 1964/65. He gave her his banjo. I still have it and would like to contact him to tell him and ask him if he remembers her. She passed away in 2006, so I can't get any more information. I am trying to identify the make of the banjo as a first step. It has some logos on it in gold. Can anyone here identify this? Really grateful for any help.


We'd need more than 'gold logos' to go on. Lots of clear photos of all parts should do it.

Edited by - AndrewD on 05/27/2022 00:43:29

May 27, 2022 - 12:50:03 AM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

26040 posts since 6/25/2005

Welcome! You can indeed find out about your banjo here.

You’ll need to post photos of the banjo, including close-ups of the logos, as well as the inside of the shell (the round part). If it has a resonator (back), take that off to photograph the inside. Look for any labels or serial numbers.

May 27, 2022 - 1:09:37 AM

MaddyW

UK

4 posts since 5/27/2022

Hi Andrew and Bill, Thanks for responding. I did post 2 photos of the logos, if you scroll down past my post. I can see them, can you? I can also upload more if necessary. Many thanks.

May 27, 2022 - 1:34:04 AM

4119 posts since 4/29/2012

quote:
Originally posted by MaddyW

Hi Andrew and Bill, Thanks for responding. I did post 2 photos of the logos, if you scroll down past my post. I can see them, can you? I can also upload more if necessary. Many thanks.


You can see your own photos below your post. But you need to drag them into your post for us to see them. We can see them on your profile page. I don't recognise that logo. Someone here will But it looks like a low end, new or newish banjo that he acquired in th UK and wasn't worth shipping hme. By 1964 the boom days of British banjos were over. But brands like John Grey and Jedson were still selling cheap banjos made locally or kmported from Germany. Paul Simon toured the UK extensuvely then. And many places, including the tube station near my old college claim to be the place where 'Homeward Bound' was written.

May 27, 2022 - 2:05:40 AM

MaddyW

UK

4 posts since 5/27/2022

AndrewD , Thanks for you insights. Yes, I would imagine he picked it up in the UK too. There is also a finger pick inside the case that is a National, which I know is a US brand, but don't know if they were readily available to buy in the UK in the 60s. I'd like to know if he remembers her, because you don't just 'give someone a banjo' - I know they were involved briefly, but have no more details than that. It's just a bit of family history sleuthing really, but I know he will be hard to contact, so I thought the more I could find out about the banjo the more his memory may be jogged. Clearly, from his career, the banjo wasn't his first choice instrument, so you'd think he'd remember giving one away. My mum was also quite a memorable character :)

PS When I put the photos in the Attachments box, they transfer ok then disappear.

May 27, 2022 - 4:33:39 AM
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KCJones

USA

1718 posts since 8/30/2012

 

May 27, 2022 - 4:54:18 AM
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39 posts since 2/18/2004

Possibly made by George Houghton and Sons.

May 27, 2022 - 6:26:06 AM
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2934 posts since 12/31/2005

Here is a tenor version.  LINK

This is a British maker, which made banjos under different brands, which would explain why your label is different.  From teh Reverb post:

George Houghton established his Reliance Works in Heaton
Street, Birmingham in 1888 and the range of banjos and zither-banjos he made were often branded Reliance. As the firm grew, the name changed to G. Houghton & Sons and production was increased to make OEM instruments for other firms to be branded with their own name or logo.

Houghton's also kept their own range on the market (usually marked with a gold-embossed lion, British Made, and sometimes with the initials G. H. & S. underneath - the Lion and British Made often featured on models they produced for other to brand too)

They had a number of their own model brand names too that often
featured across the middle of the headstock, Some model names I have seen on Banjoleles, as well as Reliance are, Melody Uke, Melody  Major, Melody Junior, Maxitone, Pageant, Silver Knight and the Marvel.

As one of the major British manufacturers of the time they had their
own Music Hall Star endorsements too. Theirs was Harold Walden, a man largely forgotten now but in the 20's and 30's was a music hall bill topper with a couple of films to his credit, (and also prior to his
music hall career he was a gold medallist at the 1912 Olympics and a
professional footballer with Bradford and Arsenal).

In 1962, town-planning development in Birmingham plus staff
difficulties finally decided George Houghton (son of the founder) to
close down and he moved to London to become associated with  The plant and materials and a few of his key workers he brought from Birmingham was established in a factory at 12 Gravel Hill, Bexleyheath, Kent, and from that time until he retired in 1965 he made the inexpensive banjos sold under the Dallas label

May 27, 2022 - 7:20 AM

MaddyW

UK

4 posts since 5/27/2022

@ Brian Murphy. Wow thanks so much for your response. At least I can now say 'a banjo I think you may have picked up in the UK'. Many thanks.

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