08 September 2021

Two masters of single-string banjo

As mentioned in the BIB on 28 July, the many-sided Barry R. Willis has established a blog for discussing points of bluegrass history and elucidating disputed areas, based on testimony from the pioneers of the music themselves in interviews.

Last month, he examined the exact order of succession of the early fiddlers in Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. This month, the banjo styles of Don Reno (b. 1926) and Eddie Adcock (b. 1938) are examined. Both are noted for their single-string playing; the careful analysis in this instalment of the blog shows clearly that they individually reached quite different styles. There's a good deal of musical detail here to interest banjo players especially (but not exclusively).

The image above is taken from the cover of the 1968 album The sensational twin banjos of Eddie Adcock and Don Reno (Rebel SLP 1482, reissued on CD 1992). The next blog instalment will examine the role of Bill Keith in preparing the book Earl Scruggs and the 5-string banjo.

© Richard Hawkins

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