What a really crisp and clear record!

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Wow, great recording - thanks for posting.

Indeed, a very clean recording...of one of my least favorite pieces. HSW seems to be the 19th C banjoist's "Carnival of Venice", a showpiece of impossible techniques and insane variations. There is one version that I actually like, it takes the tune and processes it thru different stylistic variations, polka, waltz, march, jig, mazurka, etc. I can't remember who wrote that one but it is a banjo arrangement from the 1880s. Bill Evans used to do a fine job with it. Maybe Jody remembers?

I don't remember whose arrangement Bill played but he played it very well. We made use of this when we were touring The Secret Life Of Banjos.  He would play all these variations of Home Sweet Home as I read aloud a short essay by the film director Preston Sturges about how much his mother hated the 5-string banjo and how his father used to play endless variations, each more repulsive than its predecessor. I posted it here in 2013. Maybe it's time to revisit it. Here goes:

From "Preston Sturges on Preston Sturges" . When Bill Evans and I had our Secret Life Of Banjos show I would read this aloud while he played the variations of Home Sweet Home. When I got to the part about swinging from his knees I would look over at Bill who would cease playing for a mili-second and with a perfect panic-struck look on his face would shake his head "no!" 

Mother took a rotten little apartment for us on Twelfth Street, the only banal apartment I have ever known her to take, and one afternoon I arrived home with a big smile on my face and a peculiarly shaped package under my arm.

"What's that?" asked my mother looking at the package apprehensively.

Then in a pale gray voice, she added, "That wouldn't happen to be a banjo by some remote chance, would it?"

"How did you guess?" I cried enthusiastically.  "Just wait till you see it!

The pawnbroker practically gave it to me for only three dollars, including the case, and it has real mother-of-pearl between the frets and around the  scroll!"

"It's a curse," said my mother, putting her hand to her forehead, "a  taint."

"A what?" I asked, thinking I had misunderstood her.

 "A pollution of the blood," said my mother, "like leprosy.  It has to be from the blood, there is no other possible explanation.  With the utmost care and during your entire life, I have refrained from giving you even a hint about this vice of your father's.  I never let your Grandmother Biden or anyone else mention it to you for fear that it might awaken a dormant strain and encourage you to emulate him.  But it has all been in vain.  You may as well know now.  Your father was considered, in banjo circles, to be one of the very best banjo players in America.  Such was his talent that manufacturers would actually send him new models for nothing, just to get his opinion and endorsement of them.

"Your father always enjoyed playing a piece on the banjo for me, always a

long one, and at the beginning of our marriage, I could stand it.  Then as

time passed, he was no longer satisfied with just plunking out a piece once,

but immediately after finishing it, he would plunk it again in several

different keys.  Then i would get it with variations and countermelodies

woven in...but still the same piece.  He would wind up by plunking it behind his back in a sort of contortionist's grip.  One night he actually gave the finale while swinging by his knees from a trapeze he had strung up between the sliding doors.  If any more loathsome instrument than the five-string banjo has ever been invented during the entire history of music, I have yet to hear of it.  I thought I had suffered from that miserable thing for the last time in my life, but you can't get away from heredity!  So tune up your banjo, then go down to the corner and get me some poison".



Trapdoor2 said:

Indeed, a very clean recording...of one of my least favorite pieces. HSW seems to be the 19th C banjoist's "Carnival of Venice", a showpiece of impossible techniques and insane variations. There is one version that I actually like, it takes the tune and processes it thru different stylistic variations, polka, waltz, march, jig, mazurka, etc. I can't remember who wrote that one but it is a banjo arrangement from the 1880s. Bill Evans used to do a fine job with it. Maybe Jody remembers?

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