A Site Dedicated to all enthusiasts of Classic Style Banjo
Most of us will have heard of the London Banjo Club and listened to some of their recordings in previous posts: CLICK BELOW:
BUT, you may not have heard of Freddie Musselbrook who played zither-banjo and the famous Contra-bass banjo with the LBC. Freddie was not only a fine player he was a superb composer and arranger for banjo and guitar-banjo.
He can be seen here playing the contra-bass at a performance for the BBC in the UK.
The family of F.C. Musselbrook recently contacted me and they have kindly donated his collection of arrangements and original recordings made by The London Banjo Club. These are copies from the original 78RPM BBC records and other private recordings. My friend, Shawn McSweeny, has worked his magic on them to remove the snap crackle and pop, or de-baconify them as we prefer to call it!
The quality is now excellent, better than other copies that I have heard. Also there are recordings among them that I had not heard before. One that I particularly like is Frank Lawes’ Syncopatin Shuffle.
THE LONDON BANJO CLUB at the BBC MUSIC HALL
The London Banjo Club or is it The Keynotes BMG Club?
You will notice that from 1947 the President was Dr. L. D. A. Hussey who was, of course, famous as being the doctor on Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition.
Among the Musselbrook 78RPM records was a recording of Dr. Hussey made for the BBC’s “In Town Tonight” programme. He sounds an amusing fellow!
Here is more from the London Banjo Club on the BBC Radio
The London Banjo Club played under the direction of their Musical Director, Tom Downing.
(seen to the left of the camera)
Here he is being interviewed at the BBC recording session:
Freddie Musselbrook was a driving force with the London Banjo Club and as well as being known as the player of Contra-bass he also played both zither and guitar banjos and made numerous arrangements and his own compositions for the banjo.
Here is Freddie playing, on Zither-banjo, Cammeyer’s “Valentine” a solo that Cammeyer dedicated to the London Banjo Club.
FCM was also a friend of Joe Morley and found in his collection were previously unseen arrangements of Morley’s compositions and even two previously unknown Morley compositions. “Electra” and “White Coons Parade”
He also had a handwritten score by A.D. Cammeyer of a solo that I have never seen listed:
Although Musselbrook played lively and modern tunes with the LBC his real love was arranging and playing true "classical music" for the zither-banjo and his favourite Guitar-banjo. He preferred the guitar banjo tone when playing Cammeyer's compositions.
Anyone who wants to find "Classical" arrangements for five string banjo, look no further. Here is a list of arrangements and compositions by FCM of the classics that are now available in the MUSIC LIBRARY.
All are available for FREE download.
To find the scores type: Muss or Mussel or Musselbrook in the MUSIC LIBRARY search box, download the PDF file and ENJOY!
For more information of Frederick Cecil Musselbrook please check out his NEW page in PLAYER BIOGRAPHIES.
Ian, what an absolutely wonderful addition to classic-banjo.ning! Many thanks to the family of Frederick Musselbrook and your self for making this available.
Thank you again.
Hi Ian; This is a terrific addition and nicely presented. I'm sure the Musselbrook family will enjoy it.
Glad to have helped out with the recordings.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
In listening to the LBC, I find it interesting that it includes plectrum playing ("Dixieland" style) as well as fingerstyle. "Inclusive" rather than "exclusive"...which I applaud.
Just amazing Ian!
A days worth of reading and listening ... especially love the recording of Valentine.
Thank you so much for putting this together.
Beautiful, beautiful, the LBC's really "singing".
The LBC photo in the BBC studio is remarkable too.
Thank you, Ian for making all this available.
Well done Ian, BRILLIANT. Frank
Ian, this is an incredible addition to the website! Great bit of history and, of course, the music. Thanks for sharing!
These are real treasures! Group banjo playing at its very best. What punch and drive! In many ways, this combination of banjos playing together brings out aspects of the tunes that solos and duos only touch on. But above all else, I am totally blown away by the arrangements - how could he come up with that? The plectrum banjo contribution is inspired and holds it all together.
Another voice from the past: Ted Ray introducing Syncopatin’ Shuffle on BBC Music Hall. Not the greatest comedian, and the title of his radio show, ‘Ray’s a Laugh’, was a bit of an exaggeration, but he was in the thick of the entertainment scene for very many years.
Just sitting down to go through all this--it is a lot and I needed to devote some time.
What a treasure chest! Great stuff!
A huge thanks to the family and all involved!!! They could have kept it all to themselves (that is the real way of the banjo collector don't you know), but instead they shared with the world. That is a big deal.
And thanks to Shawn-- a great guy who did a great job!
Thank you Ian for making my favorite website even better.
As far as the plectrum orchestra, it is a little much for me.
I find the tradition of the English BMG being all inclusive pretty cool. "Times they have a changed." It seems that they were all on the same page as far as repertoire.
Now we have both kinds of music for 5 string, Bluegrass and "Old Time." With the plectrum in the US we pretty much have the Shakey's Pizza/Your Father's Mustache singalong guys strumming upgraded silverbell and Vegavox banjos with candy striped vests, sleeve garters and styrofoam hats. Tenor is now from Ireland for some reason.
Then there is us... the freaks.