Here’s a mid-seventies out-of-print lp issued by Kicking Mule devoted to a then, new genre of clawhammer banjo, the melodic style. Since the folk revival of the 50’s/60’s there were two major schools of clawhammer banjo in the US. One, initiated by Pete Seeger, was mostly an adaptation of the older techniques of down-picking suited to accompany all kind of folk songs and the other was the traditional way of accompany the fiddler for Southern instrumental dance tunes. In the 1970’s in New-York, a few players worked out a solo style of clawhammer where the banjo would play the complete melody of a tune whitout loosing the rhyhtmic drive of the instrument. Their repertoire would include a lot of Irish fiddle tunes, Reels, Hornpipes and Jigs along with the usual old-time Southern tunes. In this lp, the first devoted to the new style, we have the masters and creators of melodic clawhammer banjo reunited: Ken Perlman, Bob Carlin, Henry Sapoznik, Andy Cahan and one track by Dana Loomis. Ken Perlman is whithout a doubt the most important melodic clawhammer player here, not only for his amazing playing but also as a great teacher of the style. His instruction books and videos helped many players to extend the possibilities of clawhammer banjo playing. Bob Carlin is also a great player and teacher, but more oriented toward the traditional appalachian styles than Perlman. Henry Sapoznik was a major melodic clawhammer player in those days but he also studied classical banjo and initiated the Klezmer revival in New-York as well. Andy Cahan, like Carlin, is a folklorist and great player of the old-time Southern styles.
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