At the 2017 Banjo Gathering, CW Bayer presented the wild history of banjos out west. His book The Strychnine Banjo, follows the accounts of Charlet Roades and Jake Wallace's exploits from the 1850s to about 1910. Below is an except, describing Jake Wallace playing banjo to accompany Lotta Crabtree in Virginia City in 1863.
During 1862 and early 1863, Jake Wallace played with some of the major San Francisco minstrels stars at McGuire’s Opera House and the Eureka Music Hall. During the summer of 1863, in Virginia City at the Virginia Melodeon on C Street, he accompanied Lotta Crabtree as she sang a Mart Taylor lyric, “Bound for the Land of Washoe:"
Bound For The Land Of Washoe (Words: probably Mart Taylor, 1863)
Founded in 1859 and the site of a huge gold and silver lode, Virginia City teemed with young men and was a wild place. One night a local fireman, Louis La Page, shot out the footlights as the performers ran out the back of the stage. Then, one of the stagehands stole all their instruments:
Jason Verlinde writes that everyone needs Bob Carlin's new book Banjo: An Illustrated History. You may have heard Bob talk about this project at previous Gatherings, and now you can hear a podcast interview with Bob from Fretboard Journal.
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