Say Old Man, Can You Play the Banjo?

Say Old Man, Can You Play the Banjo?

by Carroll Best
     
 
The title Say Old Man, Can You Play the Banjo? demands a response from the listener, and the answer is a resounding "yes" -- Carroll Best can play the banjo and play it well. But it isn't so much that he is proficient on the banjo; many musicians play Scrugg's style and claw-hammer banjo well. Best's style stands out because it is based

Overview

The title Say Old Man, Can You Play the Banjo? demands a response from the listener, and the answer is a resounding "yes" -- Carroll Best can play the banjo and play it well. But it isn't so much that he is proficient on the banjo; many musicians play Scrugg's style and claw-hammer banjo well. Best's style stands out because it is based on a lesser-known method of converting fiddle tunes to the banjo. This finger-style banjo, like finger-style guitar, consists of intricate single notes strung together, creating a rich melodic base. These recordings represent the best of Best, who recorded very little commercial music. The upbeat first cut, "Lonesome Road Blues," may strike the listener as bluegrass, but Best considered himself an old-time player. This makes sense when one listens to "Tom and Jerry" or "Whiskey Before Breakfast." The music is danceable and tuneful, but lacks the incessant drive of bluegrass. There is a nice, long version of "Angeline the Baker," a spunky take on "Chicken Reel," and a ragtime-flavored "Little Rock Getaway." Best is joined by a number of good musicians, including guitarist Danny Johnson who adds his exuberant flatpicking to the first six tracks. Most of the tunes are short, allowing an amazing number (36) to grace this album. Frank Godbey's liner notes offer a good description of Best's banjo style as well as interesting speculation about his influence on other players during the '50s and '60s. For Best fans, banjo fans, and lovers of old-time music, this CD will be a real find.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/13/2001
Label:
Copper Creek
UPC:
0722321017528
catalogNumber:
175

Tracks

  1. Lonesome Road Blues
  2. Daley's Reel
  3. Tom and Jerry
  4. Whiskey Before Breakfast
  5. Topeka Polka
  6. Bill Bailey
  7. Little Stream of Whiskey
  8. Say Old Man, Can You Play the Fiddle
  9. McMichan's Reel
  10. Nut Medley
  11. Johnson Boys
  12. Angeline the Baker
  13. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  14. New Broom
  15. Sam's Song
  16. Forked Deer
  17. Katy Hill
  18. Fisher's Hornpipe
  19. Chicken Reel
  20. Little Rock Getaway
  21. Leather Britches
  22. Keep Smiling
  23. Liberty
  24. Cripple Creek
  25. Bile 'Em Cabbage Down
  26. Martha Campbell
  27. Brilliancy
  28. Snowflake Reel
  29. World Is Waiting for the Sunrise
  30. Staten Island Hornpipe
  31. Swedish Waltz
  32. Buffalo Gals
  33. Chinese Breakdown
  34. Laurel Branch
  35. Grey Eagle
  36. Three Star Hornpipe

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Carroll Best   Primary Artist,Banjo
Josh Graves   Bass
Laurie Lewis   Fiddle
Kenny Baker   Fiddle
Dudley Connell   Guitar
Danny Johnson   Guitar
Kirk Sutphin   Fiddle
Tommy Hunter   Fiddle
Mike Rivers   Guitar
Jimmy Trivette   Bass
Zack Allen   Banjo,Claw Hammer Banjo

Technical Credits

Steven Fisher   Producer
Marc Pruett   Producer
Joe Wilson   Producer,Liner Notes
Frank Godbey   Liner Notes
M. Christian   Composer
Joe "Flip" Wilson   Producer,Liner Notes
Traditional   Composer
Stephen Heller   Engineer

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