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Black Banjo Songsters of N Carolina & Virginia
Various Artists
Black Banjo Songsters of N Carolina & Virginia
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, World Music, Special Interest, Pop, R&B, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (32) - Disc #1

The sounds and social history of African American banjo playing--32 superb instrumentals and vocals, recorded between 1974 and 1997. Extensively annotated with performer's life histories, tunings, lyrics, bibliography, and...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: Black Banjo Songsters of N Carolina & Virginia
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
Original Release Date: 1/20/1998
Re-Release Date: 2/17/1998
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, World Music, Special Interest, Pop, R&B, Classical
Styles: Bluegrass, Classic Country, Delta Blues, Traditional Blues, Traditional Folk, North America, Appalachian, By Decade, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, Soul, Instruments, Strings
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 093074007921

Synopsis

Album Description
The sounds and social history of African American banjo playing--32 superb instrumentals and vocals, recorded between 1974 and 1997. Extensively annotated with performer's life histories, tunings, lyrics, bibliography, and discography. The banjo's gourd ancestors came to the Americas with enslaved Africans, forging the link between West African griots and performers of 20th-century blues and string-band music. 64 minutes.
 

CD Reviews

A treasure for old-time music lovers, anthropologists & you
B. BEATTY | Minneapolis, MN United States | 02/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Archival, yes, but the music contained on this CD is more vital than you can imagine. It must be heard to be believed. Listening to the likes of John Snipes and Dink Roberts changed my life. This is banjo music to calm the weary soul...and give it just the bit of thrill we all deserve. Plus, buying CDs on the Smithsonian/Folkways label is a way to help them continue their valuable work."
Part of the puzzle
Pharoah S. Wail | Inner Space | 03/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Historically and musically speaking, this is an excellent disc. Aside from doing its part to help fill in this gap in America's musical picture, it also delivers some stellar performances.

This disc gives us not only a glimpse into the nearly forgotten world of African American banjo playing, but also snapshots of varying personal and regional styles.

Of the artists captured on this disc, Dink Roberts, his son James, John Snipes' instrumental pieces, and Rufus Kasey would get my votes for the top musicians on the disc, with Dink being the pinnacle. With as many banjo styles, playing styles, and personal styles as there are in the world, there are times during this disc when I feel like Dink has one of the ultimate, definitive tones and styles. His CooCoo is almost unrecognizeable from the tune you most likely know from Clarence Ashley, Hobart Smith, etc... yet it is every bit as interesting.

This is an essential disc for anyone even partially interested in banjo music and history, but purchasing it alone won't quite give you the full picture. To really maximize this disc, I recommend that you buy it in tandem with the excellent book, African Banjo Echoes In Appalachia (which is also available at this website). They are companion pieces written and recorded by the same woman and should be considered inseparable.

From the various CooCoos to the 2 excellent but differing versions of Shortnin' Bread, John Hardy to Georgie Buck, there are many stand-out performances in this collection."
You are going to want this!
LK | United States | 09/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Wonderful CD--some bizarre song content that makes you glad that is in an unedited collection of songs. Free form thoughts just pouring out--you really feel like you are there sitting next to these people. This is authentic old music--not for people who sort-of like old stuff. I recommend this CD, it is one that I've passed around to 5 or 6 friends. Stuff most people haven't heard unless they listen to esoteric public radio broadcasts in the back woods at 6 AM."