Thursday, August 13, 2009

Classic style banjo by William J. Ball

Here`s a little different installment on my blog than you all might expect---a classic style banjo LP. I said I would be posting some type stuff that influences country styles. I could be argued that this type of finger-picking the banjo could be the granddaddy of many old-time 2 or 3 finger picking styles and even bluegrass banjo.
William J. Ball was from the Bristol area of England. That`s really about all the information I know from the album cover, except to say he was a well known classic style picker in England.
One neat thing about the music is that Mr. Ball is accompanied by piano, played by Eileen Smith. Piano is not unusual to be played behind classic style banjo, but most people not familiar with this type banjo style likely never heard how a piano and banjo can play with and against each other.
From about 1890 through 1920 this banjo style was HUGELY popular in the United States with such players as Vess Ossman, Fred Van Eps, Fred J. Bacon (of Bacon Banjo Company fame) and A.A. Farland (of Farland banjos). There are many, many early cylinders and 78`s of classic style banjo. One reason classic banjo was recorded so much by the early recording industry, besides the popularity of the style at the time, was that the staccato sound of the banjo recorded very well on the primitive acoustic recording equipment used then.
Most of the songs on this LP are of English origin, the only title I recognize as recorded by American classic banjo players is Danse Arlequin, although I believe even this song was written in England.
All you banjo lovers should give this a listen just to hear something a little different than usual.

Track listing---

Syncopatin` Shuffle
Egyptian Princess
Danse Arlequin
Mr. Punch
Carry On
A Spanish Romance
Ad Astra
Dream Dance
Thumbs Up

I have removed the download link as I found a place to buy this LP in cd form. Just check the comments on this particular blog entry for a link to see where it can be bought if you want to hear this.


  1. Hi, I think I should advise you that this is copyright material.
    I would suggest you remove this post.
    More information about the availability of Bill Ball's recordings see my web page:

  2. Hi David Wade---I see on your link where a person can buy Mr. Ball`s music, so I`ll leave up the post, but delete the link to download my LP.
    I of course know it`s copyrighted material (as is any music ever released commercially) but, if the cd isn`t available to buy new, me sharing this for free is not cheating any artist out of royalties. I`m certainly not trying to cheat ANY performer (I`m close friends with many musicians with music for sale) out of cd sales or any royalties. I just thought I`d state this so people can see how I decide to post stuff----no hard feelings---Allen

  3. Thank you Allen very fair of you.
    There was, up until a short time ago a web site devoted to Bill's life and work.

  4. Could you please provide the download link again? I like this music, but I would prefer not pay for it.