Tag: banjo

ukulele

Roy Smeck – Ukulele, Hawaiian Steel-Guitar, Banjo – The…

Some days ago I have listened to a radio show with historical recordings, a show that did especially include a set of recordings by Roy Smeck – The Wizard of the Strings. Two pieces recorded in 1928 were followed by an interesting set of live recordings from 1977 .  Maybe my favorite song from this radio show  is I want my momma in which Roy Smeck makes his steel-guitar talk.

This is the complete list of songs form this radio show:

Roy Smeck – ukulele ; Henri Klickmann – piano 12th Street rag Needle Type disc N-138 1928
Roy Smeck – octachorda ; Carson Robison – guitar Twilight echoes Needle Type disc N-136 1928
Roy Smeck – electric Hawaiian guitar ; John Goodman – guitar Third man theme live at ENHS 1977
Roy Smeck – electric Hawaiian guitar ; John Goodman – guitar I want my momma live at ENHS 1977
Roy Smeck – ukulele Tea for two live at ENHS 1977
Roy Smeck – ukulele I want to be happy live at ENHS 1977
Roy Smeck – ukulele & harmonica Ragtime medley live at ENHS 1977

You can listen to the Radio Show at: http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/8210

(needs Media Player Classic to play)

Roy Smack was one of the super stars of the 1920s and 1930s. He took part in the very first movies with sound recording, and he also was one of the first to use some multi track recording techniques. This can be seen in the following video where Roy Smeck plays four different instruments:

Another great movie shows Roy Smeck’s imitation of “Bill Robinson’s Tap and Stair Dance”. Roy Smeck uses his ukuulele as a fantastic drum set replacement.

Roy Smeck could play the ukulele and the harmonica at the same time, and without any device to hold the harmonica. He just holds the harmonica with his lips and plays it – you can see this in the following video after ca. 4:40.

Read more “Roy Smeck – Ukulele, Hawaiian Steel-Guitar, Banjo – The Wizard of the Strings”

banjo

Abe Holzmann – Blaze-away / Smoky-Mokes / Hunky Dory…

Recently I have found the sheet music for mandolin of a famous march composed by Abe Holzmann: Blaze-Away. This march has been composed in the year 1901 and has remained popular until today.

From Wikipedia:

Abe Holzmann (19 August 1874 – 16 January 1939) was a German/American composer, who is most famous today for his march Blaze-Away!

A review originally published by the New York Herald on Sunday, 13t January 1901 entitled German Composer who Writes American Cakewalk Music describes “[h]is knowledge of bass and counterpoint is thorough, and his standard compositions bear the stamp of harmonic lore, which makes his proclivity for the writing of the popular style of music the more remarkable.”[3]

Abe married Isabelle Fishblatt around 1908, and he became the manager of the Orchestra Department at Jerome Remick & Company, music publisher in New York.[1] He was an early member (1923) of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). He earned his livelihood as composer/arranger for Tin Pan Alley publishers, including Leo Feist. He later was advertising manager for the American Federation of Musicians publication, International Musician. He was a member of Freemasonry, the Elks, and Knights of Pythias, all in New York City.

Holzmann died in East Orange, New Jersey at age 64. He was survived by his widow, a daughter Natalie Holzmann, three half-brothers, and four sisters. His music was especially revered by ragtime enthusiasts, although he composed marches, waltzes, and other light music.

I have found a great video with a performance of Blaze-Away by a great banjo band, recorded in the year 1936 – this has been taken from the British Pathe archive:

Blaze Away – Raymonde and his Banjo Band (1936)

The fact that Blaze-Away is popular until today can be seen in the following two videos with violinis André Rieu – and a very enthusiastic audience from Vienna and a complete football stadium in Kerkrade:

Andre Rieu – Blaze away 2011

If you like to add another popular march to your mandolin orchestra’s repertoir you might be interested in the sheet music of Blaze-Away by Abe Holzmann. The sheet music is available on my website.

The title pages of works by Abe Holzmann show the fact that Holzmann’s music has been arranged for mandolin, guitar, zither or banjo in the early days already.

 

 

Another popular composition by Abe Holzmann is Smoky Mokes. Ihave selected two videos, the first with banjo-mandolin and guitar:

Smoky Mokes — played by Dennis Pash and Meredith Axelrod

Playliste Smoky Mokes – Abe Holzmann

 

Additional Information

Wikipedia about Abe Holzmann: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abe_Holzmann

Sheet music by Abe Holzmann can be found in several archives with digitized sheet music. I have collected the best links in the following link collection:

http://www.pinboard.in/u:mandoisland/t:abe_holzmann/

The sheet music of Blaze-Away for mandolin orchestra can be found on my website www.mandoisland.de and on the IMSLP site.

Historical recordings of works by Abe Holzmann in the National Jukebox of the Library of Congress (Playlist), including banjo versions of Blaze-Away and Hunky-Dory:

http://media.loc.gov/playlist/view/BA4838AC79C9019CE0438C93F116019C

Historical recordings of works by Abe Holzmann in the Internet Archive

banjo

Louis Moreau Gottschalk – The Banjo – On Piano,…

Louis Moreau Gottschalk was very  popular during the 19th century with his pieces for the piano. He was born in 1829 in New Orleans and died at the age of 40 in Rio de Janeiro.

In his pieces you can find influences from the music that he had heard in Louisiana,  from Spanish, Southamerican and Caribean music. Some years ago I have written about Le Bananier in my blog that I had at that time, a piece in which Gottschalk used music that he had heard in his childhood in Louisiana.

Today I want to present a piece inspired by banjo music that Gottschalk might have heard from a banjo player in America. The history of the banjo goes back to Africa from where the slaves brought simple instruments made from a gourd and a stick and some strings. So the first banjos were so called gourd banjos. It is possible that Gottschalk heard a guy play on his gourd abnjo and got the inspiration for his piece The Banjo.

Paul Ely Smith has tried to find out what was the sound that inspired Gottschalk for his piece. By some “backword engineering” he created a banjo version of this piece.

L. M. Gottschalk’s “The Banjo” on a banjo

For more information go to www.palouserivermusic.com. This is a performance by Paul Ely Smith on fretless gourd banjo of his “back-engineered” version of Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s “The Banjo” (1854-55), originally for piano solo.

The Athens Guitar Trio has played a version of  The Banjo for three guitars:

The Banjo (Fantaisie Grotesque)

The Athens Guitar Trio

www.athensguitartrio.com
www.pricerubin.com
www.ckartists.info

There are many videos of this piece played by pianists. I have compiled some interesting versions in the following playlist.

Playlist The Banjo – Louis Moreau Gottschalk

Additional Information

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Moreau_Gottschalk

Sheet music  by Louis Moreau Gottschalk at IMSLP including The Banjo: http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Gottschalk,_Louis_Moreau

More posts about the banjo in my blog: http://www.mandoisland.com/?tag=banjo

favorite tunes

Russian Rag – by Robert Linus Cobb – Interpolating…

The Russian Rag by Robert L. Cobb has been made popular in the Mandolin World by the recording made by Dave Apollon in the 30s. David Grisman has published the recordings by Dave Apollon in the 70s (The Man with the Mandolin). The transcription of the Russain Rag for mandolin has been published in the Mandolin World News at the same time.

Since then the Russian Rag is a favorite tune also for mandolin players, bluegrass bands, mandolin ensembles and even big mandolin orchestras. I have studied the Mandolin World News transcription and like to play the tune every now and then. So it was much fun to search through youtube to find many other versions of the Russian Rag.

Originally this ragtime was composed for the piano, and we still can listen to some early piano rolls with the Russian Rag:

Ampico Lexington – 88n – Russian Rag

The Modern Mandolin Quartet with Mike Marshall has played the Russian Rag, the mandolin orchestra of the Mandolin Symposion Orchester in 2009 has played it (sheet music for the orchestra version was available as free download…), the European Guitar & Mandolin Youth Orchestra conducted by Carlo Aonzo has played it,  and even mandolin ensembles in Japan enjoy playing this music.

This Russian version of the Russian Rag is played with Balalaika and Piano – especially interesting is the slower middle part (does anyone understand what they are singing?):

Russian Rag

This is one of  the versions from Japan:

トゥクトゥクスキップ – Russian Rag (ロシア民謡~Dave Apollon, Sam Bush)#

The following thread in the Mandolin Cafe gives some information and also a link to the Indiana University where a scan of the original version for piano is available as free download.

Mandolin Cafe: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?53213-Russian-Rag-for-quartet

Try here for the piano sheet music
http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/inha…&queryNumber=2

If that doesn’t work, go to http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/inharmony/welcome.do
then enter russian rag in the search box at the top.

Enjoy!!

Playlist Russian Rag – Robert L. Cobb

With versions for piano, mandolin solo, mandolin quartet, mandolin orchestra, banjo ensemble, banjo and washboard, bluegrass and, ragtime band – enjoy the Russian Rag by Robert Linus Cobb!

Addtional Information

Some links about Ragtime:

Tabs for the Russian Rag are available at:

Sheet music is available in the Petrucci Library:

Merken