The Sackville String Band, Mk III (Special)
Thanks to Maeve Toner for this fine photo of the Sackville String Band, very evocative of the era and taken almost certainly in late '77. From left to right: front, Niall Toner and Colin Beggan; rear, John Caulfield, Richard Hawkins, and Imor Byrne. Imor is wearing one of the original Sackville T-shirts - how many of those survive?
For the instrument freak, some notes on the most prominent personality in the photo - the English-made Jedson 6006 'Symphonic' banjo, with its characteristic flush-top tension hoop. Its tunnelled 5th string has had a sliding capo added, and the original Rogers skin head and non-tip bridge have been replaced by a Remo plastic head and 'ordinary' three-footed bridge.
The keen-eyed reader will spot two items of hardware made by the Liberty Banjo Company: the almost indestructible spring-loaded capo (still in use on my clawhammer banjo - thanks again, Niall), and the 'Bear Claw' tailpiece (still in use, after being bent into a 'straight-line' configuration, on the Mastertone - thanks again, Carol). Less visible: Keith pegs on the 2nd and 3rd strings. I would not now treat an old instrument that way...
This post makes a total of eleven items on the BIB relating to the Sackville String Band; all of them can be found by a search for 'Sackville' using the slot at the top of the blog. Further on a point made earlier this week: though the founding of the band was a joint effort, it should be said that the credit for enrolling new musicians and finding places to play - whether residencies or gigs - was entirely Niall's.