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Tony Thomas RSS Feed (West Palm Beach Florida USA)

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Gibson Earl Scruggs Signature Banjo Strings, Medium
Gibson Earl Scruggs Signature Banjo Strings, Medium
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4 used & new from $5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Gibson Earl Scruggs medium strings have worked well for my Gold Tone WL-250 open back, December 5, 2014
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I have used these strings on my Gold Tone Open Back WL-250 for more than 10 years at the recommendation of Dave Schenkmen the great luthier and banjo seller I bought my banjo from. I have tried other strings just as the J-61s that seem standard for not light gauged banjos, and the two or three different string sets that Gold Tone has recommended for the banjo. I have always gone back to these strings because they have enough punch and sweetness but are not too heavy.

I think the distinction between banjo strings sold as medium that I have used on this banjo or on my two other banjos that use mediums is that it uses a lighter fourth string than most sets, and a ligther second string than on some sets I have used.

I wonder if anyone has ever used these strings on a tubaphone styled banjo with a 12-inch head or on a fretted Enoch tradesman. Let me know if anyone has

I play both clawhammer and old time finger style and a bit of classic banjo on that banjo and they sound pretty good although they do need to be changed a bit more frequently than other banjo strings I mention above that are thicker but are well worth the trouble,

I don't think there is any actual connection between these strings and Earl who variously endorsed strings and banjos from a variety of banjo manufacturers and probably used light gauge strings exclusively on his variety of prewar Gibson models.

Sunshine Blues
Sunshine Blues

1.0 out of 5 stars This is Not Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers or Gus Cannon, January 23, 2014
This review is from: Sunshine Blues (MP3 Music)
This is NOT GUS Cannon or Gus Cannon's Jug stompers but one or another unit of the Memphis Jug Band, a band that did not include Gus Cannon. Cannon was a banjoist and Jug player, but no five string banjo appears on this record. None of the voices in this recording resemble Cannon or any of his other band mates. The harmonica and guitar guitar playing does not resemble any playing on Cannon's 34 recordings. I have spent years preparing a study of Cannon and his recordings and conferring with people who actually met him .

This is good music but not Cannon

Socialism on Trial: The Official Court Record of James P. Cannon's Testimony in the Famous Minneapolis Sedition Trial
Socialism on Trial: The Official Court Record of James P. Cannon's Testimony in the Famous Minneapolis Sedition Trial
by James P. Cannon
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.95
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1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy this edition, December 18, 2013
Socialism on Trial documents the struggle of James P. Cannon and other leaders of the Socialist Workers Party against the government frameup in 1941 that put Cannon and other party leaders and leaders of the Teamster union in the Midwest in prison. Whatever rip off artist run LLC are attempting to make money from this pirated edition. Pathfinder Press, the publishing house founded by Cannon and his movement has published this book since the 1940s. The current Pathfinder edition contains not only the transcript, but introductions by Cannon, George Novack, and Joseph Hansen as well as the full transcript of a discussion with Mexican revolutionist Grandizio Munis about defense strategy that is valuable in itself. Pathfinder's edition is available here on Amazon here Socialism Trial James P Cannon

GHS Strings Banjo Set (Medium, Stainless Steel)
GHS Strings Banjo Set (Medium, Stainless Steel)
Price: $3.59
5 used & new from $3.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Ridiculous without String gauges, January 21, 2013
I am pretty sure these strings are fine. Pretty much all strings sold by companies like GHS Daddario etc are fine and frequently the same strings made by the same companies and just put in a different pack by the brands or distributors.

It is pretty ridiculous to offer banjo or any other instrument strings for sale without giving the exact string gauges. For example I am looking for strings 10-12-14-22-10. I know GHS makes em but what set I dont know. but I sure wont buy them here if they dont bother to tell me what the exact gauge is

This is just bad thinking on Amazon's part
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 29, 2015 2:33 PM PST

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Price: $13.87
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what it claims to be, November 6, 2009
I have no doubt this is good music. However, it is clearly not what it claims to be a Tommy Duncan Album. True fans like myself search the world for an album made by Tommy Duncan's Western Swing All Stars, the group Tommy put together when he was fired by Bob Wills around 1948. That band included a number of great players who had work with wills in the 1940s including my favorite, Jim Joe Holly. Only expensive import cdes of that band are currently available.

However, this is a mixture of recordings by Tommy Duncan, mostly with Wills, and recordings Bob Wills did after he fired Duncan with his brother Billy Jack Wills and other singing. Most serious fans like myself already have all of these sides. Unfortunately we need to look elsewhere for a real Tommy Duncan Cd

Seven Miles Out of Town
Seven Miles Out of Town
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5.0 out of 5 stars Victory Records deserves abiout 50 stars, November 6, 2009
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This review is from: Seven Miles Out of Town (Audio CD)
This CD contains long unavilable recordings that the Texas Playboys made for the Armed Forces Radio Service during World War II. Judging from the band these recordings were probably made in two sections in around 1944 or 45. Thyere is some very hot music here and some nice stuff done usually by either his prewar band or the Eldon Tiny Herby postwar band done with Noel Boggs, Cameron Hill, and Jimmy Wyble.

There are so many different colelctions where you get different versions of the same thing, but this is a different sounding band which was captured only on a few of the Columbia recordings before Boggs, Hill, and Wyble went over to Spade Cooley.
This was how Wills band sounded at th eheight of its popularity


Jump for Joy: The Columbia Years 1937-50
Jump for Joy: The Columbia Years 1937-50
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kansas City Swing at its best, October 8, 2009
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Hot Lips Page was the headliner of a show that combined a band fronted by a guy name Bill Basie featuring a singer named Jimmie Rushing at a bar where sometime the bartender a guy named Joe Turner would sing a few numbers. When John Hammond heard the band's shows and promotors from the Apple Journeyed to Kansas City to sign these cats, someone convinced Page that rather than going East with Basie, he could make the big time as a solo act.

Now you can hear the Basie and Lips Swinging together on one of the Spirtuals to Swing Concert--another Gem rescued recently--but this is just as much top flight KC swing as anythign Basie Cut, and nice in a mostly small group setting. The nice thing here is that barkeep Joe Turner who became a star after the same concerts is reunited with page on some sweet vocals. Turner made many records in the sixties and later with what passed for "Blues" accompaniment, but he was there at the Birth of KC Swing singing and serving drinks and food. And this is where you can hear him at the swinging best, though I still prefer Jimmie Rushing.

Check out the Spooks Breakfast channel on Live 365 net radio they play KC swing of all kinds 24/7 365 and live.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 19, 2011 8:46 PM PDT

I Say Me for a Parable: The Oral Autobiography of Mance Lipscomb, Texas Bluesman
I Say Me for a Parable: The Oral Autobiography of Mance Lipscomb, Texas Bluesman
by Mance Lipscomb
Edition: Paperback
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An irraplacable Document, May 11, 2009
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Lipscomb tends to be neglected in the memory of folks interest in the Blues and African American music. This book opens up a broad world in personal direct and real world terms. This is the world of the vast majority of Black folk in the Cotton South before World War II who sharecropped cotton on white-owned planations in areas center around small towns where the planation owners' word was superior to the law.
Lipscomb provides a picture not just of his musical life and interests but of his life as a cropper and as a laborer in later years. He also gives a from the inside view of what it was like to be a "rediscovered" Blues source during the folk revival of the 1960s.
What I loved about this book is his frank description of the country supper, the central venue from music in the origins of the Blues. Lipscomb's family would turn their home into a party place Saturday nights with extensive barbeque, cakes and pies, and homebrew for sale out side, and Mance would play his music and people with drink, dance, spark romances, and be free with love and laughter usually "til broad daylight." This was where the blues and much other Black music and culture arose and this you will see in intimate detail in this book.

Lipscomb is very good about the variety of musical influences that he grew up with in East Texas in the early 20th century. One of the more surprising things was the degree to which the commercial music industry reached his isolated country home. For example, he explains that the dances like the slow drag closely identified with the Blues came to his area with performers for the Barnum and Bailey Circus when they passed through. In those days, while rigidly whites-only in the big rings, Circuses carried Black musical and dance acts as part of the side show with the Black music and dances that swept the nation in the early 20th Century.
Reading the book is a bit hard because the interviewer uses non-standard spellings to approximate Lipscomb's pronounciation. I would image this might make it hard for someone not used to Black English or not used to the older forms that Lipscomb uses. A few more explanations of the share cropping system and its details would also help this book.

I think this is a book a reader will want to return to once having conquered it once, to read it more deeply for understanding a second time.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 22, 2009 3:19 AM PDT

Banjo: A Novel
Banjo: A Novel
by Claude McKay
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.56
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An manifesto of Black dignity, a fun book to read, May 11, 2009
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This review is from: Banjo: A Novel (Paperback)
The years after World War One were a time for youth with adventure on their minds to follow what the war showed them and seek the world. This book brings to my mind another book of this heady time of excitement, Dos Passos great _1919_. However, this book goes far beyond the interesting and humorous adventures of its protagonists to sketch a vision of Pan African.

The characters are former sailors and dockworkers on the bum in Marseilles in the early 1920s, all Black from the United States, the West Indies, French and British Africa. Some are uneduated workers and former peasants, at least one is educated, living "the life of the people" on the beach. While careening through adventures involving very much sex, more alcohol, and encounters with whites from every level of European and American society, the book takes up the issues of race and racism, not only on the part of European and American whites, but the prejudices among and within the different Black nationalities themselves.

When the book was published young Africans, young West Indians, and Black Americans, but especially Francophone Blacks like Aime Caesaire and Leopold Senghor would would craft the Black cultural and political affirmations called Negritude, would champion this book as a call for Black unity, dignity, and for looking to the warmth, joy, and passion of the culture and people of Africa and her diaspora int he Americas.

The ordinary reader will enjoy this book because it is told with wit and grace and that it humor comes from the real world. After all, the protagonists live by their wits, not by their labor, and there are enough scraps with romance, hustlers, and the police to keep the plot moving.

I read it because its comments on culture and race are important to my own research, but once reading it, I found myself hungry for its pages every time I put it down, wanting to get through the current adventure and into the next.

Tennessee Strings: Story Country Music Tennessee (Tennessee Three Star Books)
Tennessee Strings: Story Country Music Tennessee (Tennessee Three Star Books)
by Charles K. Wolfe
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.00
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to old time music, country music and history, May 11, 2009
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Though small and limited in its range like anything Charles K Wolfe wrote, this book richer in scholarship than much else you will read about the subject. Wolfe is also an excellent writer with a real enthusiasm and understanding of the music, the people, and the times depicted. Restricted to one state, this is an honest, quick and full picture of the growth of Country music in the early and middle 20th Century with developments in Tennessee as a sampling and major developments outside of Tennessee explained quickly so the reader understands what is going on.

Wolfe is also careful to include how Country music as a business developed and gives a good picture of the role of radio station, concert promoters, and the recording industry at every stage.

When you get done with this book you will be surprised how much information you have gotten out of it, so quickly, easily, and pleasantly.

My criticism of this book is that it neglects the influences of African American and general popular music on country music in Tennessee in the years discussed. However, a book this short on such subject cannot be expected to cover every issue. A good book for a beginner which will leave her or him thirstly and hungry for more extensive work by Charles K Wolfe and his colleagues.

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