I'm interested in what were the most popular classic banjo tunes during the golden age of classic banjo (1880s to 1920).  I am particularly interested in tunes written specifically for the banjo.  I am thinking we could establish most popular by: most played in banjo orchestras/BMG clubs; most frequently recorded; most copies of sheet music sold; anecdotal evidence.  From what I have read this might include:

Lansing's Dream

Banjotown 

Sunflower Dance

In a nerdy fashion, I would quite like to make a TOP TEN in chronological order.  Just for fun. 

Views: 497

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

A corollary study would determine if the top ten was the same or not on each side of the Atlantic. Either way the list might include  Whistling Rufus, although not composed for banjo originally. 

Thanks Jody. Yes, it would be interesting to see if there are differences.  I think Blaze Away was a popular one with BMG clubs over here.

Funny. I've been wanting to ask that question myself, to somehow get a more organized approach to learning new tunes and practising. Looking forward to all your answers with great interest. Unfortunately I can not add any usefull information myself.

By volume of occurrence in "stacks" I would say "Darkie's Dream" is top, "Darkie's Awakening" a solid runner up.

"On The Mill Dam Galop" was a big seller in the US and shows up regularly in play lists (and stacks).

"Normandie March" by Tho. Armstrong was very popular for clubs. 

I'll have to argue with you Jody, I don't think I have seen a single copy of WR printed for banjo by a US publisher.  I know that it is part of the ABF's standard playlist but we play an arrangement that Eli Kaufman (I think) put together with all the parts from the piano score (the CE publication is incomplete). I also don't recall seeing it in programs (but I was not looking for it).

"Sunflower Dance" was recorded in the US by both VO and FVE so it stands to reason that it was popular.  Originally published as "With The Tide Schottische" by S. S. Stewart. https://archive.org/details/209WithTheTideSchottischeRowland

Well, first of all I have a CE version that looks complete to me. I will post it to this discussion in a moment.

Secondly, if Whistling Rufus was not popular why was it recorded so many times?

Farland recorded it in 1900. 

John Pidoux in 1902 and again in 1911

Edgar Allan Cantrell in 1902

Charlie Rogers twice (2 companies) in 1903

Olly Oakley recorded it 3 times. 1903, 1913, 1923. Once every 10 years.

A duet recording as both the Osmand Brothers and the Selby Brothers recorded Whistling Rufus in 1912.  The authors of The Banjo on Record speculate that these may be pseudonyms for Olly Oakley & Joe Morley.

As for Vess Ossman he recorded no less than ten times. The first time was somewhere between 1896 and 1899 (Columbia Records kept vague written records at the time). Then again in 1899. Then twice in 1900, and again in 1902, 1903 (twice)  and 1905. 

What would make a record company want to keep releasing the same tune by the same player over and over?  Surely the motive is the expectation of sales.  That expectation would be based on the knowledge that Whistling Rufus was a popular banjo solo.  The same goes for all those record companies recording all those banjo players playing Whistling Rufus. 

Apparently Fred Van Eps did not  record it. 



Joel Hooks said:

I'll have to argue with you Jody, I don't think I have seen a single copy of WR printed for banjo by a US publisher. 

This looks complete to me.

Whoops, duh... it's already in the Music Library here.  What is missing?

On the original published piano score the final strain of the trio repeats the second strain of the main theme (B) only modulated to the trio key.  This section was omitted from the CE publication, therefore incomplete. 

Jody Stecher said:

Whoops, duh... it's already in the Music Library here.  What is missing?

Yes, there is such a HUGE amount of published music that I am interested in this question of 'what were the hits?' Whistling Rufus...repeat recordings would suggest it was popular.  

Thanks for the info about 'Normandie March' - that's one that I am not familiar with.

I also get the impression that one of my favourite composers, AJ Weidt, may not make the list. 

Were Joe Morley and Emile Grimshaw popular over the pond?  What were their most played tunes?  I imagine that people in the BMG clubs in the UK would have learnt to play what was in the BMG Diploma list - in the Oct 1927 BMG magazine Tune A tunes (beginner) are: Gold Diggers March (Morley), Sunflower Dance (Ossman), Tattoo, Tune Tonic (Grimshaw). Grade B: 'Darktown Dandies' (Morley), Listen to this (Grimshaw) and unknown tunes to me: 'Aces Up' and 'Just like that'.

I just realised as I wrote that, that I was referring to 1927 but the BMG clubs were still going strong it seems!

Oh!  I didn't read the CE score all the way through. There is a version I have that doesn't have the trio at all. I thought you were referring to that.  I saw this one changed to F major and assumed it was all there.  Anyway it must have been popular because everyone played it except Van Eps. Emile Grimshaw recorded as well but as it was in 1930, outside of Carrie's time period I didn't mention it. 


Joel Hooks said:

On the original published piano score the final strain of the trio repeats the second strain of the main theme (B) only modulated to the trio key.  This section was omitted from the CE publication, therefore incomplete. 

Jody Stecher said:

Whoops, duh... it's already in the Music Library here.  What is missing?

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2019   Created by thereallyniceman.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service