Grape Vine Twist
This is a continuation of my work on Early Banjo Volume I. The published material is c. 1855-1886, although many of the songs were certainly performed well before that. Most of it was played on a Wunder Boucher, built by George Wunderlich, modeled in detail after an instrument built by William Boucher of Baltimore in the 1840's. The source of the music came from the following books: • Briggs' Banjo Instructor of 1855 • Phil Rice's Correct Method for the Banjo 1858 • Buckley\'s New Banjo Method of 1860 • Frank B. Converse\'s New And Complete Method for the Banjo With Or Without A Master 1865 • Buckley\'s Banjo Guide of 1868 • The Banjo And How To Play It by Frank Converse 1872 • The Analytical Banjo Method by Frank Converse 1886. The books were published for commercial reasons, but remain as an important record of what the banjo was doing at the time. Each book represents a collection of Jigs, Reels, Walk-Arounds, Waltzes, Polkas, and Popular Songs and is the source from which I am playing today. Since we have no recordings from the 19th century we must rely upon these manuscripts. Experimenting, listening, studying, and talking to other musicians is the way to breath life back into this forgotten music. The music is played faithfully, note for note, as is written in these books. There may be a small variation in rhythm, or the use of added harmonies, but by and large, it is entirely accurate. The interpretation of style and added percussion is my own. I used only instruments that would have been present during this time; bones, tambourine, bodhran, and jawbone. This style of banjo playing sounds different also because of the manner in which it is played. It is struck down by the back of the first finger and the flesh of the thumb only. This is called the STROKE STYLE and has long been forgotten. This is truly African in it's origin. It is not "plucked" the way guitars and banjos are today. Eventually, the banjo did adopt the "guitar style" manner of plucking in the middle of the century. The banjo of this time is also tuned much lower than the modern banjo of today. I chose primarily material that had not been recorded yet, as well as a few which are favorites and can be found elsewhere. The Wunder Boucher is used on all tracks except for 2, 3, and 6 which are performed on a Jay Moschella Banjo (as seen on the cover). Tracks 1 and 19 are played on a Gourd Banjo, also by Jay Moschella.