Georgia Banjo Blues

Bill Ashley, Guitar
Smokey Joe Miller, Guitar
Mary Ruth Moore, Vocals
Earl Murphy. Fiddle
Art Rosenbaum, Banjo, Liner Notes, Primary Artist, Producer, Vocals
Michael Schlesinger. Liner Notes, Producer
Phil Tanner, Fiddle, Guest Artist, Vocals

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Release Date: September 2, 2003

Label: Global Village
Format: CD
Duration: 57:22
Release Info: Studio Recording
Catalog: #313



Review by Steve Leggett at
Art Rosenbaum, like Mike Seeger and John Cohen and other urban folk revival survivors, fell under the spell of traditional Appalachian music in the 1960s, and has spent his lifetime promoting it, seeking it out, writing about it (four books, including a banjo instruction manual), and most importantly, playing it. Rosenbaum has developed a variety of finger-picked and clawhammer styles on banjo, and though his voice is a bit pitch-challenged and wavering, that’s the way you’re supposed to sing this stuff, at least if it’s a facsimile you’re after, and that is the goal here. Georgia Banjo Blues is a stripped-down affair, with most tracks just Rosenbaum solo on banjo, and for the record, few of these tunes are in the blues category. The playing is studied and back-porch, the singing is, well, appropriate, and in the end, the whole project emerges as a charming and subtle primer of the genre. Highlights include the eerie and haunting “How Come That Blood on Your Sleeve?,” a breakneck version of “John Hardy,” a joined medley of “Coal Creek March” and “Last Payday at Coal Creek” (pieces usually associated with old time banjo player Pete Steele), and a credible Dock Boggs impersonation on “Want to Go to Cuba but I Can’t Go Now,” although Boggs never attempted anything at the velocity Rosenbaum uses here. The goal of Rosenbaum, Seeger, Cohen, and the so-called “Young Fogies” isn’t to innovate, but to replicate and preserve this fascinating music, and Georgia Banjo Blues does its part with a very special charm and joy.

Online Reviews

“I discovered Art Rosenbaum when he did an album for Kicking Mule Records years ago. This 2003 recording shows that he is still pickin’ out fine banjo tunes. His voice is a perfect match for the banjo/fiddle sounds on Georgia Banjo Blues. I highly recommend this CD for anyone interested in learning how to improve their banjo playing skills, as well as, to those who simply enjoy great traditional American music.” — LeMonte Heflick, Amazon Review