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Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity

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Rick Fielding 26 Jul 03 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Frankham 26 Jul 03 - 09:30 AM
Rick Fielding 25 Jul 03 - 09:39 AM
EBarnacle1 25 Jul 03 - 12:34 AM
Amos 25 Jul 03 - 12:11 AM
GUEST 24 Jul 03 - 09:13 PM
JedMarum 24 Jul 03 - 12:23 AM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 23 Jul 03 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,frankham 22 Jul 03 - 07:57 PM
Art Thieme 21 Jul 03 - 09:53 PM
GUEST 21 Jul 03 - 09:53 AM
Deckman 20 Jul 03 - 07:53 PM
Steve Latimer 20 Jul 03 - 07:50 PM
Rick Fielding 20 Jul 03 - 05:41 PM
Steve Latimer 20 Jul 03 - 05:30 PM
Joe Richman 20 Jul 03 - 03:05 PM
Rick Fielding 20 Jul 03 - 10:49 AM
Deckman 19 Jul 03 - 08:54 PM
Joe Richman 19 Jul 03 - 08:51 PM
Art Thieme 19 Jul 03 - 07:13 PM
Deckman 19 Jul 03 - 10:25 AM
Rick Fielding 19 Jul 03 - 10:18 AM
EBarnacle1 19 Jul 03 - 08:50 AM
Deckman 18 Jul 03 - 08:40 PM
JedMarum 18 Jul 03 - 08:00 PM
Amos 18 Jul 03 - 05:48 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 18 Jul 03 - 04:26 PM
JedMarum 18 Jul 03 - 02:15 PM
Amos 18 Jul 03 - 01:27 PM
Deckman 18 Jul 03 - 01:17 PM
Candyman(inactive) 18 Jul 03 - 01:16 PM
Rick Fielding 18 Jul 03 - 01:01 PM
JedMarum 18 Jul 03 - 12:47 AM
JedMarum 18 Jul 03 - 12:44 AM
JedMarum 18 Jul 03 - 12:37 AM
Art Thieme 18 Jul 03 - 12:19 AM
Deckman 18 Jul 03 - 12:11 AM
ex-pat 17 Jul 03 - 11:24 PM
Amos 17 Jul 03 - 10:17 PM
Frankham 17 Jul 03 - 10:00 PM
Deckman 17 Jul 03 - 09:53 PM
Art Thieme 17 Jul 03 - 09:38 PM
MAG 17 Jul 03 - 09:24 PM
Rick Fielding 17 Jul 03 - 08:05 PM
Jeri 17 Jul 03 - 06:03 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 17 Jul 03 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,Martin gibson 17 Jul 03 - 05:18 PM
Frankham 17 Jul 03 - 04:11 PM
EBarnacle1 17 Jul 03 - 03:41 PM
Deckman 17 Jul 03 - 01:56 PM
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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 10:20 AM

HA HA Frank! I have tried for forty years to find/invent an "up and down pick". NUthin' works. I've had to invent a hybrid style that works great fo me but is devilishly hard to show other people. Thumbpick (verrrry tight 'cuz I play pretty hard.....or used to before I started fighting cancer) and two modified heavy guage fingerpicks. The thumb and index (and often middle) are constantly crossing over each other.

I can duplicate the SOUND of frailing, flatpicking, and fake classical, but it's only because I was called on to play for so many diverse players in the late sixties and early seventies. (Oscar B, Odetta, Tom Rush, Ian Tyson, G. Lightfoot, and even Casey Anderson who spent a lot of time in Toronto...do you remember him?

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: GUEST,Frankham
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 09:30 AM

Hi Rick,

It's interesting because I think Pete invented this way of playing. Only those of us that have copied his banjo style play this way. The index finger with the pick toward the strings and the middle and ring brushing down with the picks away from the strings. He frails with his middle finger.

Erik Darling adapted this style but occasionally used the Scruggs style index and middle finger for up-picking and the ring finger for frailing and whamming. As far as I know, though, Pete nor Erik ever used a thumbpick.

How did John Hartford do it? I believe he must have used picks at one time because he started out on Shindig as a bluegrass picker with Glen Campbell.

I have been unsuccessful in finding a way to up-pick and frail with a pick on a single finger.

Best,
Frank


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 09:39 AM

Hi Frank. As I and a couple of others mentioned before in this thread, although Pete may have gone on and off fingerpicks at times, ALL photos of him for the last forty years show him with two up and one down. Never seen anyone else with that configuration.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 12:34 AM

Watch those tenses. Pete most certainly still is, not was.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 12:11 AM

Frank,

Thanks. For a lot of things, but for keeping it real.

A


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jul 03 - 09:13 PM

Hi,

I wanted to mention that Pete did use fingerpicks a lot in the early days playing for large audiences during the Henry Wallace campaign. This way he could be heard. He dropped them later when recording and micing became more sophisticated.

One of the hallmarks of the early Pete style was the silvery ring he got from playing with the picks. During the Weavers period, Pete, Erik and I all used fingerpicks.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: JedMarum
Date: 24 Jul 03 - 12:23 AM

Good stuff, Frank and Rick. The only caveat I would add about my own perspective on the notion, "Do unto others as you would want 'em to do for you" is that this is not what I expect from others, it is not what I expect from the world I live in - it is what I strive to bring into the world.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 11:29 AM

as I was barely getting involved with banjo and guitar, I came across a small article in a long-defunct NYC magazine called Caravan-- it was by Pete Seeger and was titled "Too many people listen to me (and not to the people I learned from)."

I think this has been his philosophy all these years (look at the cover to Where have all the flowers gone) that he sees himself as a link in a chain, bringing the music of others to a wider circulation. I think of him (as I ahve said before) as highly skilled at a lot of different styles, with the added gift of finding the BEST way (or at least a really good way) of matching the accompaniment to the song-- wow.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: GUEST,frankham
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 07:57 PM

Hi Art,

Pete is a great humanitarian. He has advanced the idea that people can learn to get along regardless of whether they agree.

Socialism is a word that has different meanings for different people.
Some give it a bad connotation but it really is a form of what we are used to. Social Security. Early christianity. Post Office. Early Native Americans. In small ways we experience socialism throughout our country. Pete acknowledges this.

The idea that the working man or woman not privileged deserves a good shake in our society is not a strange idea. This is one of the credos that Pete has always maintained. It goes along with his selection of songs and the very reason for taking up the banjo and singing to begin with. Justice for all is part of the picture.

It's not that far away from the basic idea of Christianity before it became co-opted by religious fundamentalists on the Right.

Pete has never been an angry or condemning person. His view is that you need to give folks a chance, not just once or twice but more if possible. He is an optimist but not a pedantic or naive one. He's been around the block. He's not didactic in any way if you have a chance to talk personally to him. He's creative still with many ideas for what might make the world a better place. Some call it politics but it's more than that. It's a philosophy of life and convictions with actions to back it up.

In all the years I have known Pete, only a few times has he ever said anything negative about anyone. There are notable exceptions such as McCarthy, Hitler, Stalin (with whom he became deeply disillusioned) and maybe some recalcitrant senators who were racist. For the most part, Pete has shown an optimism and acceptance of people from all walks of life. His credo, "It's important to get along without having to go along."

This is why he is one of the most influential banjo pickers that ever lived.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 09:53 PM

Ah, Frank, very nice. For years I admired Pete for the logic of his social positions. Politics aside, the stands he made almost always seemed the right thing to do. They were humane and they coincided with the world view I had developed. The sad things people did to each other diminished the world from where I stood. I was young and had this life adventure in front of me. Adhering to similar positions that Mr. Seeger championed was just the way it all fell out for me. I cannot look at the world feeling as I do and come away with any other conclusions . Comes down to "Do unto others as you would want 'em to do for you." If that translates to Socialism, so be it. It sure beats having your political leaders set things up so the corporate thieves can run with the gold and never fear that justice will ever catch up with them while homelessness thrives and healthcare is inaccessable and paying for your medications is an imposibility. That gold ought to be paying for the well being of all. And those that steal it, ought to be punished.

All Pete Seeger ever said was, People, we can sure do better.

And, yes, he was a hell of a banjo player as well.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 09:53 AM

Hi,
I believe that all of the groups that Martin Gibson (is that the real name? If so, born to be a guitar picker:) ) they all owe a huge debt to Pete Seeger. Pete was the first to define the style of banjo playing used in a group ala the Weavers. He did it with the Almanacs and the Priority Ramblers. He did it with a group called the Song Swappers when they put out a recording of African rounds. AlthoughPete was not on the "charts" in the late 30's or early 40's, he was definitely influential over a wide span of time and this is principally why he is remembered and lauded today.

It was Pete's idea to form the Weavers to reach people in places where folk music had not penetrated before, namely night clubs and concerts as well as recordings.

He also was responsible for popularizing the idea of song-leading. He did this before Mitch Miller capitalized on it. Mitch owes him too.

Bob Dylan owes Pete who wouldn't hear a bad word about him in Dylan's salad days. This goes for his association with Leadbelly and Woody, and Big Bill Broonzy and Sonny Terry. Pete was tireless in their behalf. Same with Odetta. Same with Scruggs. Is there anyone who has thought to ask Scruggs personally what he thinks of Pete Seeger?

When I knew Bob Gibson in the early 50's, he had not yet taken up the banjo. He was playing guitar and singing a little ditty called, "I Want To Go Back To Where I Come From". Later, he took up the banjo.

One of the most crowning acheivements I believe Pete made is to support and publicize the clean-up of the Hudson River.

As to separating the man from the politics, I don't think you can. But you can still enjoy the music without agreeing with the politics. I'm convinced that Bill Monroe could not be separated from his politics and this might have a bearing on the music he chose to play.
Same for any artist. There certainly is a strong wave of fundmentalist religion in the bluegrass movement and Monroe was a part of it (whether he actually practiced it or not). This is a kind of "politics" and has become so even more today as we see the rise of figures such as Ralph Reed and the so-called Christian Right. But this thread of "politicking religion" has no bearing on enjoying the music of Monroe, Stanleys, Scruggs or anyone. Some have antipathy for Seeger's politics and some for Monroe's.

I choose to enjoy the music.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Deckman
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 07:53 PM

Hey! I'm a carpenter. I could claw hammer by the time I was five. It's easy! Bob


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 07:50 PM

Thanks Rick.

Funny, I'd never really liked Clawhammer stuff before, but I've been listening to a lot of Ralph Stanley stuff lately, and I have about six tunes that he plays in that style. I've really come to like it. As I said, I'm focused on the Scruggs book now, but maybe one day I'll learn to Clawhammer.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 05:41 PM

Not really Steve. Earl's book is it for his style. Seeger does lots of three finger stuff, but it's completely different timing.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 05:30 PM

As Rick knows, I'm trying pretty hard to become a good Bluegrass Picker. Lately I've re-dedicated myself to the Earl Scruggs book (Rick, he puts every bit as much emphesis on the rolls that you showed me as you did). I always thought that the Seeger book was more for frailing, but it seems that it also covers three finger. Would his book be worthwhile for me?

(My banjo is in Bruce Dowd's Hospital for a few days).


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Joe Richman
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 03:05 PM

Amen to that Rick. I thought that was the whole point of the thread. Pete considered just for music and not for all the other things he's done.

PS. I did know the credits for "Hold the Line" included Lee Hays. I guess it's kind of like Lennon and McCartney. Some songs are blends of the two writers in one or the other aspect and some aren't. Thanks for the correct attribution for the lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 10:49 AM

Pete gives credit to Lee Hays for "Hold The Line". Lyric wise I'd tend to agree with him. I'm not sure how you can separate Pete from the politics, but some obviously can.

Actually I should have thought that over a bit. Of COURSE you can! I worshiped Flatt and Scruggs, Hank Snow, Roy Acuff, and Clarence Ashley etc.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Deckman
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 08:54 PM

I certainly hope you live up to your real name! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Joe Richman
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 08:51 PM

Wow..this is #umpteen thirty plus post to the thread.

I guess there's Pete the banjoist, Pete the folksinger, Pete the songwriter, Pete the music educator and Pete the political activist. The thread was started to discuss the first point, but most of the others managed to get into the discussion.

I like Pete the banjoist (but not exclusively), admire Pete the folksinger (when he drops his politics), can take or leave Pete the songwriter(my favorite is "Hold the Line"; he's up front in that one), have learned from Pete the music educator (very dog-eared copy of the '62 Ed.) and cringe at the thought of Pete the political activist.

So there.

And I use my real name.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Art Thieme
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 07:13 PM

I second that !

Art


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Deckman
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 10:25 AM

Rick ... Long live us all! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 10:18 AM

Martin....sorry, and I mean this. There really aren't any purists in this thread. They stick to the unaccompanied ballad threads. As Amos pointed out, a couple of your comments got my (and I assume other's) dander up. All of us seem to be "middle of the road" trad/commercial folkies, who've sung for the love, AND the livliehood. Nobody's dumped on the "striped shirters" the way you've dumped on what you perceive us to be.

One Good thing....we've got a shit more posts than normal, and I like that.

It's NOT worth getting in a BIG snit over, and we all appreciate your giving your background....it helps in any kind of testy discussion. I'm four years your senior and still love pickin the banjo Scruggs style AND Seeger style, and truth to tell, I think I would have enjoyed the Chad Mitchells as well. A lot more than the Kingston Trio probably........but I love Art Theime too.

Anyway, sorry for bein' a bit sarcastic.....I do that occasionally.

Rick

DECKMAN!!! I got the book. (Goofing Off Suite, transcribed by Billy Faier) You are a gem! Long live Mudcat!


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 08:50 AM

There is no question that Pete is a gentleman of the old school. Even so, he has been doing his best to avoid making commitments that demand too much of him.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 08:40 PM

One of the better stories I've read, perhaps two years ago, was Bob Gibson's telling of his first encounter with Pete. My dim memory says that Bob Gibson was about 16, and actually drove up to Pete's home. He interuppted Pete's day, yet Pete was very gracious and accommodating. That meeting was pivotal in Bob Gibson's life. Why was I not surprised when I read this! There's another aspect about Pete that I well remember and admire. I don't have one word that encompasses it all, but it certainly includes: courtesy, manners, politeness, and encouragment to others. CHEERS, Bob (thanks for starting this thread) Bob


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: JedMarum
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 08:00 PM

martin - no worries; I don;t think anyone was turning their nose at non-trad folk, though some noted their dislike of folk pop - truth is, I'm with you. I like what I like and don;t care how trad or folk it is. I'll bet most of the poster to this thread feel that way too.

This is not an issue worth trading insults over. We may not all agree on KT's place in our music hearts - but it sounds like we all loved Pete's music, and that is where the discussion started!


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 05:48 PM

Martin:

Well, looking for the joy of music and such is a sign of pure brotherhood as far as I am concerned, especially if you're a player and a singer....and if we have slightly different tastes, I have no problem with that. I think you missed my point about the feeling with which different performers do various songs, but that's okay.

I do think as far as "noticing how people attack..." you might want to review the following excerpts, all of which seem to communicate anger:

How typically pompous.

Your arguement is dated.

nice tap dance around your pomposity.

your arguement reads like something out of a 1961 issue of Sing Out. I'd say, get over it

I'll remember to not get to close to you!

Your definition of folk music is by far very limited, narrow, and borderline arrogant.

The elitists haven't a clue how locked in a box they are.

A bigger load of crap is hard to find.

...the folk purists who take themselves way too seriously, are quick to catagorize and criticize.


Maybe there's a mirror-effect kinda thing going on here, huh?

Anyway, I am glad you've been making music all those year. Me too. May you play for many more.

A


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 04:26 PM

What a laugh.

I am not "Garg" what ever a Garg is.

I have been playing banjo for about 40 years on-going in many professional settings, singing and playing guitar and bass and am currently in a bluegrass group. At 53 years old, I am hardly a new kid on the block. Deckman I believe said that the Tijuana Jail song by the Kingston Trio could not be taken seriously by him because they were never in that jail. So what and BFD! A bigger load of crap is hard to find.

My non-agreement with traditional folk purists and neo-traditionalists is hardly anger based. In fact, any thing but. I also bought the Pete Seeger book, the red cover one and actually own the LP that was issued of it. After the initial learning of the basic strum, I had very little use for it and tab. I count my blessings for having a good ear and perfect pitch. I used to play at the original No Exit in Evanston and played for years first in a folk group and then in a country-rock group in the Lincoln Avenue, North Shore, and NW suburban clubs for years.

What I think is that I think different from the folk purists who take themselves way too seriously, are quick to catagorize and criticize.

Rick is right, I am no youngster and I would not go to see Art Thieme.........again. But I did once. He hosted an on-going deal in Evanston for years and I did go once with a group of people who enjoy good time folk music. Needless to say, he wasn't our cup of tea. We had more fun at the Chad Mitchell Trio reunion concert at Park West. Plenty of times I saw groups in Chicago that I enjoyed that were fun-loving like Special Consensus, Aliota, Haynes, and Jeremiah, Ouray, etc.

Purists, elitists, traditionalists listen up! I look for the fun and talent in folk music. I am still active at it and loving it. I could care less who was authentic and who isn't as long as they have talent. I am not looking for or give a rat's ass about Lemon Tree or Puff the Magic Dragon, but I respect who ever wrote those songs. Not to many years from now, when this generation is gone, those songs will still be sung by children and taught as American folk songs. Those who have a problem with that will just have to deal with it.

I'm not here to troll. I have a different perspective and know what I am talking about. Please notice how people attack someone here who is an American folk music fan of a different flavor. name calling, profanity, insults, etc.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: JedMarum
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 02:15 PM

I remember being appalled when I first started out in music, listening to one drunk argue with another that Robert Plan could "outsing" the dude from AC/DC.

Appalled that anyone could consider the singing talents of either worthy of a second thought, incredulous that anyone could imagine singing talent as a competitive skill, amazed at the stupidity of trying to pit the artistic qualities of two individuals against one another - in this case, albeit individuals with athletic as opposed to artistic qualities.

Anyway - since then I've learned when it comes to art/music; some people just don't get it.


There's no need to get anyone's undies in a wad over this issue.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 01:27 PM

Exactly!! No-one who had any emotional connection with the actual jails of Tijuana could sing that song in smooth, polished harmony!! LOL!

A


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 01:17 PM

Rick ... I'm NOT trying to stir up trouble here, but ... your mentioning the "Tiajuana Jail" by TKT is so perceptive. It was THAT exact song that so turned me off when I first heard them do it. I well remember thinking how ludicrous they sounded, knowing that they'd likely never seen the inside of that jail or any other jail! Bob


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Candyman(inactive)
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 01:16 PM

Here ya go Rick.

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 01:01 PM

HEY JED! I played that thing about a dozen times at the twelfth Fret. Sounds great. An absolute bugger to tune though so watch out!

Art, I am SOOOOO sorry that Martin Gibson (who apparently ISN"T a youngster) refused to see you in Chicago because of your attitute, but you probably wouldn't have done "Tiajuana Jail' to he and his friends' satisfaction anyway! Could I have another chorus of 'Lemon Tree' boys?




.....my apologies MG and everyone....I'm gettin' giddy.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: JedMarum
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 12:47 AM

... and don't anybody say, "real banjo players don't play 'pony' banjos" 'cause that'll only encourage me!!


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: JedMarum
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 12:44 AM

Oh - and while we're at it ... I have been considering getting me a new toy ... when I last vsited Mick and Rick I stopped by Elderly Music and really really wanted this little thing. What a cool sound, and plays great.

I love the sound of my Vega - but this little thing has a charm of its won, way up high ... Anyone ever played with such a thing?


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: JedMarum
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 12:37 AM

I have been enjoying the thoughts in this thread. And while it has been going on these last few days, I have been playing a lot of banjo - coincidentally.

For a damn guitar player, the banjo sure has brought me a lot of pleasure!

Thanks Pete - thanks y'all.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 12:19 AM

Sorry for the drift.

Art


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 12:11 AM

True ... but we can always ignore him!


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: ex-pat
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 11:24 PM

Been reading through this thread for a couple of nights... Pete Seeger is definately the reason I have loved playing the banjo for the last 40 years. I bought his red book in Manchester, England as a teenager in 1963 and many an album too. I have American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 5. Pete showed us that the 5 string banjo was as versatile an instrument as one wanted it to be. A true master and icon, to be sure.
Earl Scruggs is also a true master and icon. This thread is for Pete!
Too bad about the twat who keeps annoying everybody. All too often, there's always one, isn't there?


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 10:17 PM

MArtin:

Locked in a box?? Puhleeze!! Maybe some of us are deliberately placing ourselves where the reception is a little clearer. If that's elitism, then well and good. I never signed up to promote asinine mediocrity, and it's a tad late for me to start doing so now.

A


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Frankham
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 10:00 PM

Martin Gibson...tnat name has a familiar twang. Shoulda' picked that up. Sounds a little like that name is in a box. With strings attached.

You say, "So Frank, I'll remember to not get to close to you!"

I can assure you that it won't be a problem for me.


Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 09:53 PM

Art ... right on. You express yourself very well. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 09:38 PM

And I am sorry for shooting/clicking from the lip once again here in this good forum. "HOT AIR" would've been more fitting than the 4 letter word I chose..

Right at this moment I'm listening to Pete and the Almanacs singing the Wobbly song, "HOLD THE FORT". His supreme banjo picking on the intro is, if nothing else, prime Scruggs picking. Just great.

I believe the first time I ever heard Earl Scruggs was on the CBS(?) TV show called FOLKSOUND U.S.A. I think it was one of the first times folk music was on television. The host for the show was CISCO HOUSTON. Guests included John Jacob Niles, Frank Warner, Scruggs and Flatt doing "Earl's Breakdown" and "Salty Dog", Joan Baez, Casey Anderson and John Lee Hooker doing his "Tupelo, Mississippi Flood" song. It was 1959 I think. I taped it by holding a hand-held mike up close to the speaker of the TV on a 50 or 60 pound Webcor 2-track tape machine. For me the high points of the show were Cisco doing Woody's "Hard Traveling" and Flatt and Scruggs. That driving banjo really just demanded your attention. It is, I think, the refinement of all the great old-timey sounds that led up to it. And that style does seem to keep on drawing more and more people in to learn it and innovate on their own ala Bill Keith and Bela Fleck.

What was MISSING was the WORDS---literary aspect---the polemic present in the Child ballads and the songs of conflict and protest and, also, cowboy, lumberjack, murder ballads etc. etc. For that kind of mind stimulating narrative it was necessary to tweak another part of the brain than the one that made us tap our feet to the fiddles. PETE SEEGER did that with the ideas he presented to us kids back then. There was a gap between Earl and Pete that was at least as wide as the one between the Beat literature of Kerouac and Ginsberg --- and the sky HIGH acid smoke dreams of the Hippy movement with all it's emoting and the Jefferson Airplane "White Rabbit" type of musical and artistic output.

I hope this makes sense. I know what I mean, but I'm not sure I've said that. --------- Think of the difference these days between the songsters at festivals who want to sing at and to one another in a quiet setting and the fiddlers who play tune after tune after tune with no words anywhere in sight.

Maybe the difference between what Martin Gibson is trying to say and what we who were there then know and want to let the new generation in on. That is nothing less than the truth of the thing as we came to know it. We get pissed off and a bit strident when people can't see what seems so obvious to us.

But it is the way of the world for the new kids to find new places to pierce----sometimes they, wittingly or unwittingly, pierce our hearts. That leads me to feel those others are full of hot air. But it's only one guy's opinion.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: MAG
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 09:24 PM

Folks, it hould be obvious by now that Martin Gibson (and what an alias that is!) is the Garg kicking up dust again. Ignore him; he is a baiter.

My intro. to the 60's folk scare was PPM, and then Dylan, and they were fresh and new to this then 14 year old. I admire Dylan's music and still dislike some aspects of it. (By the way, I just saw a movie trailer where he plays a musical has-been tryingto get back on the stage.)

PPM broke up with a lot of public airing of their mutual dislike. They only got back together because their solo careers were less than stellar. (I did enjoy one Mary Travers concert I   went to in Chicago. spendy it was; very spendy. I liked hearing that her parents were friends of Paul Robeson and that she learned Motherless Child from him.)What I've seen on TV is thin, padded, overproduced, and generally sadly embarassing to an old fan.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 08:05 PM

Martin, I've done a random read on some of your old posts and you get pretty angry at a lot of things. This is just about the technical aspects of the banjo, nuthin' else. In my first couple of posts I was polite and humourous while disagreeing with you, but I sense you just wanna take shots at folks who are part of the folkie community.

This really isn't worth gettin' upset about.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Jeri
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 06:03 PM

Martin, just out of curiousity, do you actually know anything about banjo technique? You seem intent on playing the "my artist is bigger than THE ONE THIS THREAD IS ABOUT is game," and haven't said one word about techniques. You like KT? Fine. Lots of people do. There's probably a fan club someplace.

This horse is DEAD and it isn't going anywhere.

And now, amazingly, somewhat on topic:
Does anyone know if some stuff was edited out of the 5-String Banjo book? A friend mentioned tabs for Goofing Off Suite and Blue Skies, and they aren't in the copy (1962) I have.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 05:32 PM

Art

So are you!

Martin (Smiling bigger while playing some Flatt & Scruggs music)


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: GUEST,Martin gibson
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 05:18 PM

So Frank, I'll remember to not get to close to you!

Mark Clark: Your definition of folk music is by far very limited, narrow, and borderline arrogant.

Many in this thread define folk music in a very limited way. No, the Kingston trio were not folk "purists" but please define purists in 25 words or less. don't do it it 25 words or more because I don't have the patience for the rhetoric. Why do you have to live the music for it to be believable? Why do people like me have to constantly have shoved down our throat what is purist, what is traditional, and what's not? Like I've been saying all along, it's such a tired attitude and arguement.

The elitists haven't a clue how locked in a box they are.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Frankham
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 04:11 PM

Whoa Martin! Hold the phone.

"but not ones who enjoy smooth harmonies or like their folk music served without offensive, authentic body odors direct from Appalachia."

You might be falling into a bit of stereotyping here. Many people who do traditional music are not all in blue jeans and don't take baths. This is the province of the kind of thinking that belongs on the "Real Beverly Hill-Billies". This "reality programming" might need some reshaping. So many of the fine traditional folk musicians and singers are known to appear before audiences in their "Sunday best" and not farm overhauls or ragged clothes. If you are referring exclusively to the music than perhaps it's time to take a listen to some of the field recordings put out by the Lomaxes or Lib. of Congress and then you'll get a truer picture of where groups like the Kingston Trio come from.

Dave Guard was a nice man. He was talented and entertaining and owes his career to Pete Seeger. If he were around today, he'd tell you that since that's what has said in print. But did he introduce the five-string banjo to millions of people? Not sure about this. As you have said, Scruggs may have had greater mass influence. But Pete certainly had a powerful influence not for the two or three years of the KT but over a period of a long time where he couldn't get on the media but nonetheless influenced countless young people to want to play the banjo. Every college campus in the country in the 50's and 60's had a five-string banjo and they weren't all playing bluegrass.
I know because I used to travel to some of those places for concerts or to visit. Every college kid I talked to during those years had heard of Pete Seeger. Some hadn't heard Scruggs yet.

I have nothing against the KT. They were entertainers like PPand M and made the music market place a little richer (didn't mean Little Richard) through their endeavors. (Although he did too). But that body odor is what makes us all human even in this time when they try to sell us deoderants and toothpaste to sanitize our "quality of life".

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 03:41 PM

Re: Pete's health--It isn't great. He hasn't the stamina he used to have. When he appears in public, he tends to use others for most of the voice work. He has had occasional relapses of Lyme disease. His spirits are generally good. Last November, I went to visit him on Mount Seeger for the first time in our association. During my visit, he was constantly receiving phone calls and chatting about business and social issues. He is still sharp despite his frequent statement that his memory is going. I hope we will have him around for many more years though I worry about him on a regular basis.

Kendall, Pete does not look for fame, either. It comes to him. Gordon is enough of a power that his work speaks for itself and brings the public to him.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 01:56 PM

I listened last night to Woody Guthrie singing "Pastures of Plenty." He did the entire song with ONE chord! Bob


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