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Barker, Danny  

Michael Mizell-Nelson

jazz guitarist and banjoist, vocalist, and author, was born Daniel Moses Barker in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Moses Barker, a drayman, and Rose Barbarin Barker. Barker grew up in New Orleans with a largely absent Baptist father of rural origins and a mother whose familial connections to the Barbarin family, famed in New Orleans music, rooted him in the city's Creole of Color musical community. His childhood experiences immersed him in the cultures of both sides of his family: rural Protestant and urban Roman Catholic.

Barker's uncle, the drummer Paul Barbarin composer of the jazz standard Bourbon Street Parade started Danny on drums after trying the clarinet Danny decided to play multiple string instruments guitar banjo and ukulele A teenaged Barker played in spasm bands children s bands that featured rudimentary instruments often created from discarded objects Playing ukulele Barker led a spasm band named ...


Butler, Picayune  

Tony Thomas

was a black banjoist of the early 1800s who played for coins (picayunes) in the streets of New Orleans. Butler was celebrated as far away as Louisville and Cincinnati. Possibly from the French-speaking Caribbean or Louisiana, Butler may not have been his real name. Already described as “old” by 1830, there are no reports of Butler from after 1830. The popular minstrel song “Picayune Butler's Coming to Town” created an international legend about him.

The closest thing to what may be a contemporary New Orleans account of Picayune Butler is music historian Henry Kmen's conjecture that the words “old Butler's banjow [sic]” in the 24 December 1830Louisiana Advertiser refer to Picayune Butler.

In 1860 T. Allison Brown wrote in the New York “sporting” newspaper The Clipper that in 1834 George Nichols a white Cincinnati circus clown learned the song Jim Crow from a French darkie a ...