January 27, 2016

Little Log Cabin Round the Lane: Uncle John Scruggs 1928


 Scruggs and his dancing grandchildren
Uncle John Scruggs was an American banjo player, born a slave. There exists video of him performing the folk ballad "Little Log Cabin Round the Lane" in a minstrel style. The footage was taken by the Fox Movietone News, in Powahatan, VA on November 8, 1928. Uncle John Scruggs played 5-string banjo in the traditional clawhammer style. There are no other known recordings of his music. Uncle John's image is portrayed in the mural "All in the Family II", which is on display at the Sherrod Library at East Tennessee State University. In the mural, Uncle John Scruggs is pictured in between Bill Monroe, "the Father of bluegrass music", and Earl Scruggs, who popularized the 5-string banjo in the 20th century. The mural illustrates the important role that African-American musicians have played in the evolution of American music. The mural shows that racially diverse musicians are all members of the same family.

University of North Carolina  Uncle John Scruggs - banjo player--outtakes: Filmed on November 8th, 1928

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