Since this book came out in 1995, a lot has changed, and Ceci Conwy deserves quite a bit of credit for a dramatic change in consciousness of the banjo as an African-American instrument as well as an Appalachian instrument. It has also led to a renaissance in research on the topic. Cecil does not deserve all the credit, but there are a whole lot more Black banjo players now, and they are playing to much bigger audiences. Rhiannon Giddens is just the tip of the iceburg. What a delight it is to have a book that features interviews of a handful of African-Americans who kept banjo music alive in their communities when it appeared that only white people claimed the instrument. Like a good researcher, Conway combines her invaluable personal interview material with deep exposition of the written record as well. Ceci Conway teaches at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.
Knoxville, The University of Tennessee Press, 1995. 394 pages with a Selected Bibliography, a Song Title Index, a Subject Index and many photos. A 7.5" X 9,75" trade paperback.