Search - Mike Seeger :: Southern Banjo Sounds

Southern Banjo Sounds
Mike Seeger
Southern Banjo Sounds
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (26) - Disc #1

Dock Boggs recorded only 12 songs in the 1920s, but his raw, powerful singing and distinctive banjo-playing caused Harry Smith to include him in his Anthology of American Folk Music (SFW 40090) and Mike Seeger to search fo...  more »


Larger Image
Listen to Samples

CD Details

All Artists: Mike Seeger
Title: Southern Banjo Sounds
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
Original Release Date: 9/15/1998
Release Date: 9/15/1998
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Classical
Styles: Classic Country, Traditional Folk, Instruments, Strings
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 093074010723


Album Description
Dock Boggs recorded only 12 songs in the 1920s, but his raw, powerful singing and distinctive banjo-playing caused Harry Smith to include him in his Anthology of American Folk Music (SFW 40090) and Mike Seeger to search for him in the hills of Kentucky in 1963. A new series of recording sessions captured the 50 blues, instrumentals, regional and religious songs included in this two-CD set. Originally released to high acclaim on three Folkways Records LPs in the 1960s, they have influenced musicians ever since. Extensive notes by Mike Seeger and Barry O'Connell.

CD Reviews

Southern Banjo Sounds
Ken Borden | Cambridge, ON Canada | 05/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This CD is a terrific piece of work on a least three levels. If you're a fan of American folk music, this CD is a solid collection of tunes and songs with deep traditional roots. Please note that I said "tunes and songs". Although the CD is titled "Southern Banjo Sounds", eighteen selections are banjo-accompanied songs; the remaining nine are instrumentals. So, on the first level this is a great selection of traditional and old-time music sung a played by one of it's mostly highly regarded contemporary performers.For the old-time banjo fan, there's a lot more. On this CD Mike Seeger explores and presents much of breadth of old-time banjo styles. The banjo styles range from African-based riffs to Scruggs-style bluegrass picking. Between those extremes are quite a few variations of the "frailing", "rapping", "downpicking" style, a variety of two-finger styles as well as a number of pre-bluegrass three finger styles. However, don't take the impression that this is some kind of dry academic presentation. It's not. It's a well selected program of highly enjoyable music.And, there's even more.The twenty-seven pieces are performed on twenty-six different banjos. The instruments range from a modern copy of a fretless banjo with a gourd head (a really plunky low-down sound) to the ubiquitous Gibson Mastertone (the sound that we're probably all familiar with) of early bluegrass. For the real hardcore old-time banjo folks, each selection is described in the excellent notes with the source(s) of the songs/tunes, a bit of information about the particular instrument used, the banjo tuning, and more.The only thing I don't understand is why this Grammy-nominated CD didn't win the award."
The ultimate banjo CD
Tony Thomas | SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL USA | 06/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mike Seeger's has been devoted to traditional American and African American music for more than 50 years. This work catalogs many if not all of the chief southern banjo styles. It is a sharp refutation of the dogmatism that grips many old time banjo "experts" that old time banjo playing is simply one or another regional North Carolina or Virginia form of downpicking/clawhammer/frailing, and everything else is an afterthought.

This CD is here to show you that old time music contained every kind of mixture between finger style, clawhammer, and styles that combine the two. You get a rich appreciation and a real knowledge, and a lot of joy from hearing the creative power of the musics Black and white banjoists created before the 1950s.

There is not only recreation of old time favorites by the masters but innovation. On Dock Bogg's great "Down South Blues," instead of doing it in the stright picking style Dock used as he did on the NLCR's "Gone to the Country" Album in the 1950s, Mike plays slide on the banjo. He maybe carrying out what Boggs said toward the end of his life after he heard Mississippi John Hurt and other Black bluesmen of his own generation on the folk revival circuit. Boggs said if he had to do it all over again, he might have played some banjo, but he would have learned how to play guitar like John Hurt.

Mike takes you from the earliest forms of African American banjo styles, to bluegrass, and leaves many stops behind. Perhaps the ultimate would be to get the three video set of instruction Mike has made based on this same reprtoire where he explains how each song is played and gives the history of the many different banjos he played them on and often the history of the players he learned these tunes from.

Like everything Mike does, this CD would be completely enjoyable to someone who wasn't concerned with banjo history, banjo playing, old time history or anything else except hearing some nice home made music, songs that will make you cry, songs that will make you laugh, songs that will make you wonder, songs that will take you back, songs that will show you how modern times swept through the hills and the hollars and the hills and the plains of the South,still leaving banjos ringing"
A banjo a novice
Myra Hill | New York City, United States of America | 10/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I used to think that banjos were only for bluegrass music. As I became intersted in learning to play the banjo, I learned that there were various kinds of banjo styles. Mike Seeger's CD gave me a exposure to different kinds of banjo styles."