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Martha Campbell

Here’s a performance of Martha Campbell, recorded at Midwest Banjo Camp in 2018. What a great bunch of musicians! From left to right, Steve Rosen on guitar, John Herrmann on fiddle, Erynn Marshall on fiddle, Roy Andrade on banjo and behind, I believe that’s Tom Ball on bass. I think Roy Andrade must be playing John Herrmann’s banjo for this performance, as John is the only guy I know who messes around with duct tape on his banjo head.

I wonder who Martha Campbell was? I did some Googling around and learned that the tune was recorded by a fiddler from Kentucky, Doc Roberts, in 1925. The Traditional Tune Archive suggests Robert may have derived it from another tune called Brickyard Joe, possibly learned from Owen Walker, an African-American fiddler, also from Kentucky. Other sites also suggest the tune had an African-American origin. However, I haven’t found any mention of who the tune was named after.

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