Camptown Shakers | Camptown Shakers

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Folk: Minstrel Folk: String Band Moods: Mood: Quirky
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Camptown Shakers

by Camptown Shakers

Early Minstrel, Stroke style banjo with fiddle and percussion, Civil War, American Roots
Genre: Folk: Minstrel
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Jim Along Josey
3:09 $0.99
2. Ol' Dan Tucker
3:35 $0.99
3. White Cat Black Cat
2:23 $0.99
4. Brushy Fork of John's Creek
2:41 $0.99
5. The Boatmen's Dance
3:25 $0.99
6. Ol' Zip Coon
2:29 $0.99
7. The Hound Dog Song
3:02 $0.99
8. Gwine Ober De Mountian
3:50 $0.99
9. Sail Away Ladies
3:29 $0.99
10. Old Joe
3:31 $0.99
11. Angelina Baker
3:27 $0.99
12. Julie Ann Johnson
3:05 $0.99
13. Tucker's Soliloquy from Hard Times a comedy in dialect
1:14 $0.99
14. Tucker's Song
0:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
We formed the Camptown Shakers minstrel band to explore our interest in the popular music of mid-19th century America after meeting as American Civil War reenactors. As the soldiers did then, we entertain ourselves and our friends in camp, passing the time with music. Our goal is to research and perform the minstrel style of music in a way that is faithful to the original form. The sound of the fiddle and banjo is a classic combination, but with the addition of percussion the more primitive rhythmic sound of the early minstrel band is heard.

The "Shakers" instruments include 5-string banjo, fiddle, bones, and tambourine. The fretless banjos are strung with the gut strings of the period, tuned down low and played in the minstrel or "stroke" style. The fiddle is bowed in the traditional manner, fit to send dancers' to their feet or provide accompaniement for a song. The tambourine and bones shake and rattle, driving the music and giving the band its name.

Our music is composed of songs, banjo jigs, and fiddle tunes from the 1840's through 1865. We can be seen performing at reenactments, living history presentations, period dances, and other events. The Camptown Shakers will be found entertaining and educating the public throughout the day as well as playing for the participants at a dance or around the campfire. The music on our CD represents some of our favorites songs and tunes and is what you would hear should you camp with us.



to write a review

Bob Clayton

First CD of a ruggedly authentic minstrel stringband.
Like their later CD, this set of minstrel songs is filled with the rugged ragged authenticity of the Camptown Shakers, a band devoted to re-creating the sounds and styles of the original American stringband, the minstrel show (1842 to around 1900). The minstrel show featured the banjo, fiddle, tambourine and bones, played in rhythmic styles that pre-date ragtime and jazz, but laid the foundation for those styles.

I particularly liked Old Dan Tucker, Old Zip Coon (also called Turkey in the Straw with later words added), Angelina Baker (by Stephen Foster) and many others. A couple of numbers are less interesting, but on the whole, it's a wonderful set of songs.

I liked this recitation, relating to another Foster song:

"Hard times, hard times, and worse a-comin'
Hard Times keeps through my old head keeps runnin'.
I'd cotch the bugger made that song, to shake him would not be wrong,
I'd shake him up, shake him down, shake him till good times come 'round."

If you're interested in historical musical styles, you won't go wrong with this recording.

Bob Clayton