Re: Looking for: "BANJO MAN", 1977 documentary

Carolyn Sturgill (
Mon, 31 Jul 2000 08:22:19 -0700 (PDT)

Kim, Appalshop distributes this video in which you may be interested if you
are unable to obtain the other. Carolyn


"In '33 I completely quit playing the banjo. Everything I had to do was hard
on my hands--drilling and shooting coal, working in the log woods, rolling
logs with them big cant hooks....Got where I didn't want to sing, didn't
want to play. Then after I retired, I picked it back up again." -Morgan
Directed by Anne Lewis
Color, 28:00 minutes, 1991

"Morgan Sexton has endured the Depression, cultivated a mountain farm and
survived the hazards of a mining career with an impressive dignity and
presence. He has also preserved a hauntingly beautiful traditional style of
banjo picking and singing from a long gone era. He is truly a national
treasure, and this wonderful portrait allows us to enter his life." -Loyal
Jones, Director, Appalachian Center, Berea College

"His banjo picking is a delicate and absolutely individual version of the
Appalachian two-fingered style, liquid and serene, each melody using its own
particular tuning in the old-fashinoned way." -The Tenth National Heritage
Fellowships, 1991
"A subtle, engaging program which provides the viewer with a clear sense of
the relationship between Morgan's musical style, his personality and his
family background....While folk music specialists will be particularly
interested in the musical examples presented in this documentary, it will
also appeal to teachers dealing with Appalachian studies, visual
anthropology, oral history, and field collecting techniques." -Richard
Blaustein, Director, Center for Appalachian Studies and Services, East
Tennessee State University

Eastern Kentucky's Morgan Sexton cut his first banjo out of the bottom
of a lard bucket, and some seventy years later won the National Endowment
for the Arts' National Heritage Award for his "amazingly pure and unaffected
singing and playing style." In this program, the eighty-year-old Sexton
shares his life and music. He recounts how a series of family tragedies
forced him to go to work while still a boy and tells of his days gathering
crops, logging timber, cutting railroad ties, and of his later work in the
coal mines.

Morgan and his nephew Lee Sexton talk about learning music from their
elders and each other, and the old days when, after a hard day's work, they
would "roll up the rug" to play music and dance with the neighbors. Intercut
with these stories are Morgan's renditions of his favorite songs, including
"Little Birdie," "Wagner's Lad," "Bonnie Blue Eyes," "London City Where I
Did Dwell," and "Beautiful Doll."

-----Original Message-----
From: Kim Hale <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Date: Friday, July 28, 2000 8:44 PM
Subject: Looking for: "BANJO MAN", 1977 documentary

>I am looking for a video entitled, "Banjo Man: The Life and Times of Uncle
>Homer Walker" by Joseph Vinikow and Reuben Chodash. It was released in
>1977 by Texture Films, but I cannot locate any more recent information.
>Any suggestions are appreciated.
>Kimberly Hale, Acquisitions Librarian/Coordinator of Collection Development
>Library, Columbia College Chicago
>624 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60605
>(312)344-7355(voice) / (312)344-8062(fax)