Alabama Joe

September 10, 2011 7:06 PM

Stroke style arrangement of an old minstrel tune, taken from "Briggs' Banjo Instructor" book of 1855. Tackhead banjo and tambourine.

posted by usonian (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Some of the very earliest Americana, right there. Nice, usonian!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:30 PM on September 12, 2011

Thanks flapjax! It is my hope in the next year or so to get up to speed on the bones, which really should be part of the mix.
posted by usonian at 2:41 PM on September 13, 2011

This is pretty sweet. Bones would be awesome.

What does "stroke style" mean?
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 1:35 AM on September 20, 2011

Stroke style was the predominant banjo playing style for the middle third of the 19th century, as would have been played in the minstrel shows. Towards the end of the 19th century "guitar style" fingerpicking became popular, and by way of differentiation "stroke style" was also sometimes called "banjo style."

It's a finger-and-thumb downpicking technique that looks a lot like clawhammer/frailing on the surface, but the repertoire has a lot more rhythmic variation, with triplets and rests in interesting places.

Search youtube for 'stroke style banjo', 'early banjo', or 'minstrel banjo' - there's a ton of good stuff out there.
posted by usonian at 8:19 PM on September 23, 2011

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