I have just purchased an old 78RPM disc of Tarrant Bailey Junior recorded on the REX record label number 8177.

There is a vocal refrain on each side, but no reference to the singer..maybe TBj ?

I just love TBj's playing. It is everything Classic Style playing should be; bright, crisp and with plenty of attack. It is such a shame that TBj compositions seem to be lost for ever and condemned to crumble away from old age!

BANJO ALL SORTS Side 1 played by Tarrant Bailey Jnr.
BANJO ALL SORTS Side 2 played by Tarrant Bailey Jnr.

Sorry about the sizzle, but the recording is straight from the record that has seen some use in the past.

If anyone could confirm the date of recording for me it would be useful for when I add it to the original recordings database.

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According to "The Banjo On Record"  this was recorded in London February 21, 1934 with the Jay Wilbur orchestra. It also says that the vocalist is unknown.

You know,  I don't mind the sizzle. The recording sounds very much like a banjo in a mild sizzle environment. That's better than something that sort of resembles a banjo in a quiet environment.

Thanks Jody.. 1934 it is.

I don't mind the sizzle either, but I do really like the banjo playing.


Those TBJ records have an interesting story behind them in how they were released in a sort of "ho hum" business as usual manner, and the response was so good the record company had to call him back to the studio from a vacation in France to cut more material like that.  TBJ commented himself in later BMG's about how popular those records were....a "normal" classic banjo record then in the UK might sell 5k copies if lucky, but this vocal medley "popular" series of cuts by TBJ were pushing 40k copies.

One of the great things about these records is that they are electrically recorded with a full orchestra, and on the right playback system sound SO modern and bassy and lush in a good way.  By 1925 when electric recording was introduced to the commercial record market, much classic banjo was already past.....there aren't many electric recordings by the greats because of this.....a few by Olly, these by TBJ, and a few by FVE.  They usually give a better insight into banjo tone because of the recording quality, though some of the acoustic discs are shockingly good in this respect since some of the early acoustic recordists got VERY good at it.

Thanks Ian

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