Recent Media Additions
Jimmie Strothers was a blind banjo and guitar player from Virginia who recorded 15 tracks for Alan Lomax and Harold Spivacke in 1936. Biographical details are sketchy, but Strothers was apparently a medicine show entertainer for a time before going to work in the mines, where an explosion took his eyesight, forcing him to earn a living as a street singer. Things changed even more drastically when he was convicted of murdering his wife with an axe and was sent to the state penitentiary in Lynn, VA, which was where Lomax and Spivacke, working
John "Uncle" Homer Walker was born in 1904 in Summers County, VA, although he lived most of his life in Glen Lyn, VA (Giles County). A fine clawhammer banjo player in the archaic black Appalachian tradition, Walker was the subject of a short documentary film, Banjo Man, produced in 1977 by Seattle filmmaker Joe Vinikow and narrated by Taj Mahal. Walker also appeared in another documentary film, 1980's Morris Family Old Time Music Festival. Reported to have been playing banjo since he was seven or eight years old, Walker died on January 4, 1980, in Princeton, WV.
The first video was of Carl Johnson and Jim Lloyd performing at the Black Banjo and Fiddle Gathering at Appalachian State University in Boone NC on March 28, 2012. Black Banjo and Fiddle Gathering bring musician together to share the mix of music from Appalachia.
The second video was Carl Johnson at the Black Banjo Gathering: Reunion. Boone, NC. March 2010
The third video was Carl Johnson playing Bill Monroe's "On My Way Back to the Old Home." Black Banjo Gathering: Reunion. Boone, NC. March 2010.
Appalachian Journey is one of five films made from footage that Alan Lomax shot between 1978 and 1985 for the PBS American Patchwork series (1991). It offers songs, dances, stories, and religious rituals of the Southern Appalachians. Preachers, singers, fiddlers, banjo pickers, moonshiners, cloggers, and square dancers recount the good times and the hard times of rural life there. At 26:40 it features an African American Duo James & Odell Thomas performing on Banjo and Fiddle.