19 December 2013

The Sackville String Band, Mk III (Special)

The BIB editor writes:

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 Its tunnelled 5th string has had a sliding capo added, and the original Rogers skin head and non-tip bridge have been replaced by a Remo plastic head and 'ordinary' three-footed bridge.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.

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