Carroll Best - Say Old Man, Can You Play the Banjo?

Carroll Best - Say Old Man, Can You Play the Banjo?
Duration: 01:10:00
Release Date: January 30, 2001
Album: Say Old Man, Can You Play the Banjo?
Recording Date: 1974 - 1995
Genre: Country
Artist: Carroll Best

The title Say Old Man, Can You Play the Banjo? demands a response from the listener, and the answer is a resounding "yes" -- Carroll Best can play the banjo and play it well. But it isn't so much that he is proficient on the banjo; many musicians play Scrugg's style and claw-hammer banjo well. Best's style stands out because it is based on a lesser-known method of converting fiddle tunes to the banjo. This finger-style banjo, like finger-style guitar, consists of intricate single notes strung together, creating a rich melodic base. These recordings represent the best of Best, who recorded very little commercial music. The upbeat first cut, "Lonesome Road Blues," may strike the listener as bluegrass, but Best considered himself an old-time player. This makes sense when one listens to "Tom and Jerry" or "Whiskey Before Breakfast." The music is danceable and tuneful, but lacks the incessant drive of bluegrass. There is a nice, long version of "Angeline the Baker," a spunky take on "Chicken Reel," and a ragtime-flavored "Little Rock Getaway." Best is joined by a number of good musicians, including guitarist Danny Johnson who adds his exuberant flatpicking to the first six tracks. Most of the tunes are short, allowing an amazing number (36) to grace this album. Frank Godbey's liner notes offer a good description of Best's banjo style as well as interesting speculation about his influence on other players during the '50s and '60s. For Best fans, banjo fans, and lovers of old-time music, this CD will be a real find.

Title/ComposerPerformerTime
Lonesome Road BluesCarroll Best2:21
Daley's ReelCarroll Best2:32
Tom and JerryCarroll Best3:58
Whiskey Before Breakfast / TraditionalCarroll Best2:11
Topeka Polka / Spade CooleyCarroll Best1:45
Bill BaileyCarroll Best1:45
Little Stream of WhiskeyCarroll Best2:35
Say Old Man, Can You Play the FiddleCarroll Best1:33
McMichan's ReelCarroll Best2:02
Nut MedleyCarroll Best2:18
Johnson BoysCarroll Best1:46
Angeline the BakerCarroll Best3:37
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / TraditionalCarroll Best3:23
New BroomCarroll Best1:45
Sam's SongCarroll Best1:40
Forked DeerCarroll Best1:35
Katy HillCarroll Best1:42
Fisher's HornpipeCarroll Best1:08
Chicken ReelCarroll Best1:22
Little Rock Getaway / Joe SullivanCarroll Best1:40
Leather BritchesCarroll Best1:09
Keep SmilingCarroll Best2:03
LibertyCarroll Best1:37
Cripple CreekCarroll Best1:36
Bile 'Em Cabbage DownCarroll Best1:22
Martha CampbellCarroll Best1:06
BrilliancyCarroll Best1:44
Snowflake ReelCarroll Best1:13
World Is Waiting for the SunriseCarroll Best1:32
Staten Island HornpipeCarroll Best1:07
Swedish WaltzCarroll Best2:53
Buffalo GalsCarroll Best1:04
Chinese BreakdownCarroll Best1:33
Laurel Branch / Tommy HunterCarroll Best2:50
Grey Eagle / M. ChristianCarroll Best2:49
Three Star HornpipeCarroll Best1:44