Various Artists

Black Banjo Songsters of North Carolina and Virginia

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AllMusic Review by

Thirty-two tracks of African-American banjo players from North Carolina and Virginia playing in the old-time folk style, recorded between 1974 and 1997. This is one of numerous releases illustrating that the roots of American music have more of a commonality than is often supposed. Many of the standards covered by the musicians on this record were (and are) in the repertoire of white folk artists, and it seems almost arbitrary to try to determine whether this is more of a country or a blues collection. Several of the players use odd tunings, and their instrumental skills outshine the vocals, which often sound like off-the-cuff afterthoughts. Although this is well-produced (with a booklet giving background on black banjo playing and the history behind the songs), it's really more of academic interest than something to play for entertainment; historical importance aside, it sounds like just another banjo collection. And "Coo Coo" is a classic song, but how many more versions do you want to hear? (There are three more here.)

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 1:13
2
2:09
3
2:44 Spotify
4
1:00 Spotify
5 1:34 Spotify
6 0:47 Spotify
7
0:37 Spotify
8
1:03 Spotify
9
1:19 Spotify
10
1:19 Spotify
11 1:07 Spotify
12 2:17 Spotify
13
2:11
14
1:19 Spotify
15 1:13 Spotify
16
3:46 Spotify
17
2:15 Spotify
18
2:03 Spotify
19
3:52
20
1:16 Spotify
21
1:48 Spotify
22 1:47 Spotify
23
2:24 Spotify
24
1:58 Spotify
25
1:45 Spotify
26
1:55 Spotify
27
1:09 Spotify
28
1:21
29
1:49 Spotify
30
4:41 Spotify
31
4:18 Spotify
32
1:27 Spotify
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