View Full Version : Ukulele in Old-Time & Early Country

May-17-2004, 7:35am
Hi all!

Since a lot of old-time and early country was recorded in the twenties when there was a real ukulele boom I was wondering whether you had any uke reccomendations in this gernes?

I have some recordings of Jimmie Rodgers on which he plays a uke


May-17-2004, 7:43am
I haven't heard any recordings of the vintage variety with uke. I think they have to be out there, though, because I've seen some old photos of string bands where there's someone with a uke.


John Flynn
May-17-2004, 9:10am
I don't know offhand, but here is the website of a guy to contact: His stage name is "Lil Rev" and he is a travelling one-man show, who plays mando, uke and guitar and does storytelling. I took a blues mando workshop he gave. The guy is a really good player, very personable and a walking encyclopedia about the history of mando and uke in all kinds of folk music in America. I would send him an email.


Also, I will contact a friend of mine who plays OT music on the banjo uke and see if he knows anything. I'll get back to you.

John Flynn
May-17-2004, 9:28am
Another thought: The great Birmingham, AL, based OT group, "Red Mountain White Trash" has three CDs out, all pretty traditional OT, and they have a banjo uke player. He might have info. You can send them an email off thier website. I sent an email question to them once and they were very nice about answering my question:

John Flynn
May-17-2004, 11:46am
Here is what my OT-playing banjo ukulele-ist buddy replied:

I don't have any specific references for old-time ukulele. I've picked up what I know about playing the banjo uke for old-time music from Jeff Claus of the Horse Flies out of Albany, NY and from recordings of Linda Higginbotham, Brad Leftwich's wife. You might check out web sites having to do with Cliff Edwards/Ukulele Ike, who was very popular in the 30's and 40's. He played more of a hot jazz style, but may have done some old-time sessions back in the day when there was less separation between various musical genres. For modern players, there's a guy called Little Rev, but I don't have a web address handy for him. Another wealth of uke information can be found here http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/ at Jim Beloff's site. Happy hunting!

May-18-2004, 1:17am
Great! thanks a lot! If I find more things I will report back.

Any suggestions, pictures, links or whatever will still be welcome! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

May-24-2004, 5:19am
There is a very young group called The Mammals (http://www.themammals.net/index.html)which uses both a regular and banjo Uke on stage. They are an old time and dance band (trio) oriented group with an interesting background. Two Claw hammer banjos playing and trading harmonic leads with a fiddle holding it together is a trip. Very different sound. Most harmonic and enjoyable banjo playing I've heard yet.

Oh yes - the Girl in the group is Ruth Ungar (Jay's daughter) and one of the Banjo / Guitar players is Tao Seeger (Pete's Grandson). Talk about traditions beeing passed down. Definately worth listening to and if you get a chance to see them ... very contra like presentation. No mando content at this time but with this group, just a matter of time.