Mary Z. Cox | Girl With the Banjo Tattoo

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Country: Old-Timey World: Celtic Moods: Solo Instrumental
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Girl With the Banjo Tattoo

by Mary Z. Cox

Clawhammer banjo solos and duets on cello, cigarbox, fretless, and many other fine banjos playing lovely old time and Celtic influenced tunes to make you dance and smile. :)
Genre: Country: Old-Timey
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Last Chance
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3:09 $0.99
2. Chickens Crowin' At Midnight
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3:55 $0.99
3. Scarborough Fair
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3:04 $0.99
4. Whiskey Before Waltzing With Soldiers
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2:02 $0.99
5. June Apple
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2:49 $0.99
6. Goodbye Girls I'm Going To Boston
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2:14 $0.99
7. Morning Has Broken
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1:53 $0.99
8. Sweet Bama
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2:09 $0.99
9. Pretty Polly
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1:33 $0.99
10. Gaspe Reel
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2:44 $0.99
11. Julia Delaney
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1:52 $0.99
12. Star of the County Down
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2:38 $0.99
13. Needed Time
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3:05 $0.99
14. Chinkapin Hunting
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2:52 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
1. Last Chance
Traditional via Hobart Smith on Joe Masel cigar box banjo
2. Chickens Crowin’ At Midnight
Traditional via Marvin Gaster on John Bowlin 1865 fretless banjo and Belltone banjolin
3. Scarborough Fair
Traditional with variations, on rosewood Deering Gabriella banjo
4. Whiskey Before Waltzing With Soldiers
A new waltz via old favorites on Chuck Lee 12” custom banjo
5. June Apple
Traditional fiddle tune on Goldttone 5 string cello banjo
6. Goodbye Girls I’m Going To Boston
Traditional Kentucky tune via Art Stamper on Cedar Mountian 11” A2 rosewood banjo and Simmerman mahogany and Spanish cedar dulcimer
7. Morning Has Broken
Traditional hymn on Goldtone 5 string cello banjo
8. Sweet Bama
Traditional fiddle tune via Georgia fiddler, Stanley Bailey, on Chuck Lee 12” custom banjo and spruce and cherry McSpadden dulcimer
9. Pretty Polly
Traditional ballad on John Bowlin 1865 fretless banjo
10. Gaspe Reel
Traditional Canadian tune on Deering John Hartford banjo and Goldtone 5 string cello banjo
11. Julia Delaney
Traditional Celtic tune on Goldtone 5 string cello banjo
12. Star of the County Down
Traditional Celtic tune on Lame Horse open back banjo and Ken Miller guitar
13. Needed Time
Traditional gospel tune on John Bowlin 1865 fretless banjo
14. Chinkapin Hunting
Traditional tune via Art Stamper on Deering John Hartford and Goldtone 5 string cello banjo

Please see my website for the "Girl With the Banjo Tattoo Banjo Tab Book" which has simple clawhammer tabs to
all the tunes on this cd and the tunes on "Drumming On the Edge Of Banjo" as well. 24 fine tunes that you could be playing too :)


Reviews


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Mary Z Cox

a "Best Banjo CD of 2011" Banjo Newsletter/January 2012
"This CD itself is valuable and refreshing not only because it presents many banjo sounds but also because it pushes the envelope of what can be and what cannot be played in an old=timey style."--Wayne Shrubsall (Review of Girl With the Banjo Tattoo/Banjo Newsletter/February 2012

Joe Ross

Vivacious drive and charismatic magnetism
From Florida, Mary Z. Cox is an accomplished player, teacher (and collector) of banjos and mountain dulcimers. At last count, she has 17 banjos and 12 dulcimers. Her seventh album, “Girl with the Banjo Tattoo” is a solo project with Mary playing one or two instruments on each of the 14 tracks. On one cut, “Chickens Crowin’ at Midnight,” she is joined by Ellen Sheppard on banjolin. Mary’s instruments of choice appear to be a John Bowlin 1865 fretless banjo that is played on that song and two others (Pretty Polly, Needed Time), and her Goldstone 5-string cello banjo that appears in the mix of five songs. That instrument provides a sweet, mournful sound, and I wonder if she also has a bass banjo in her collection. It would no doubt be a killer to play due to its size. On various other cuts, we hear Mary’s banjos with and without frets, ones with open back or resonator, and mountain dulcimers of mahogany, cedar, spruce and cherry. Quite novel, the album opens with “Last Chance” played on a cigar box banjo built by Joe Masel. Try to use a discerning ear to hear the subtle variations among her instruments.

With such a rawboned approach, it’s a tad unfortunate that she also simplifies a few of the fiddle tune melodies and employs few variations in her short 2-3 minute song arrangements. She adds her guitar on “Star of County Down,” and I would’ve enjoyed hearing a few more instruments (e.g. guitar, bass, fiddle) for occasional accompaniment. Despite these minor criticisms, the crowning moments for the “Girl with the Banjo Tattoo” are when regular and cello banjos are employed together (Chinkapin Hunting, Gaspe Reel), or when banjo and dulcimer provide bouncy melodic interplay together (Sweet ‘Bama, Goodbye Girls I’m Going to Boston). I’m used to hearing “Gaspe Reel” at a slightly faster tempo, but Mary’s is a nice, rhythmically expressive rendition.

Besides her instrumental proficiency, Mary Z. Cox is also an award-winning singer so I was surprised that she didn’t add her voice to the project on such numbers as Scarborough Fair, Morning Has Broken, or Pretty Polly. That wasn’t her vision, however, for this spare front porch instrumental setting of clawhammer banjo and mountain dulcimer. I guess I would’ve preferred a more raucous and fuller sound similar to that of Bob Flesher’s old-time minstrel and clawhammer banjo albums.

The album’s title brings some intrigue with it. I wonder if it was inspired by the “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” the movie and/or best-selling mystery by Stieg Larsson. That novel is a compelling, well-woven tale that succeeds in transporting the reader to rural Sweden for a good crime story. In similar fashion, “Girl with the Banjo Tattoo” will gain plenty of traction and attention among banjoholics as it’s a well-wrought and captivating musical story that instrumentally carries us back to the old homeplace on the mountain in the mid-1800s. You’ve simply got to appreciate how the vivacious drive and charismatic magnetism of Mary Z. Cox’s banjo and dulcimer playing draw us right into her old-timey music. (Joe Ross, Sun209: The Americana Music Journal)