A Site Dedicated to all enthusiasts of Classic Style Banjo
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Mike, moving on to music in pubs, the tradition of gathering round the piano in the 'bar parlour' of public houses went on, in Sheffield, my home town, into the late 1960s, some pubs had a good trade built on this factor alone. One pub I used to enjoy singing in was the 'Ranmoor Inn', the landlady used to perform on the piano and the singers were very enthusiastic, one old favourite was 'Moonlight and Roses' and we always finished the evening off with 'The Holy (not Holby) City' with its famous 'Jerusalem' chorus. Sheffield never had a B.M.G. club for some reason, Clifford Essex used to complain about the lack of this cultural facility in Sheffield but we had various Choral Societies and amateur orchestras, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, a Bach choir (still going) various operatic societies, amateur dramatics, chess, Bridge, Whist, etc, so the need for the B.M.G. club probably wasn't all that great. The main social organisation, apart from their local pub, for most people was the church with all of the many offshoot organisations/societies attached to it, this has faded (along with the pub) over the years.
I forgot to mention the cycling ( and other sporting activities) clubs. There is a banjo solo 'The Scorcher' which features cyclists on the cover and Ossman recorded 'The Wheelmen's (now more properly the 'Wheelperson's) March'.
For a tiny glimpse into the existence of female banjo players, see BMG Oct 1930 p246, courtesy of this wonderful website!
Mike, 'Votes for Women' - Essex published a banjo tune called 'March of the Suffragettes' which was written by A.Mereman.
‘A mere man’? Very funny.
Yes, banjo players have always needed a sense of humour, it's not a bad tune either.
I think that you should play whatever you like on your banjo (or any other musical instrument which you favour) One of the reasons I stopped playing in bands was that I often had to play tunes which I disliked/hated because somebody else happened to like that particular tune/song; nowadays I like everything I play because I choose it. How complex or simple the tune is doesn't enter into it, the only qualities I look for in a tune is whether or not it gives me pleasure to play it and hear it.
Not to derail the conversation, but I love the sound you get out of this banjo. I think it's a good model for banjo tone for a large part of the "classic" repertoire - solid, substantial, well-rounded, and transparent. Has some sparkle in the high end. Good stuff.
Yes, it was a good one.
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