I first heard this tune after being in an old-time music desert for about twenty years. I’d lived in Los Angeles for thirteen years where the only place that even sold banjos was McCabes guitar shop. Cut to 1995 Western Massachusetts- I visited the Fretted Instrument Workshop in Amherst. They had about twenty spectacular banjos on the wall. I played them all. Lyn Hardy was very patient- she even pulled down a guitar and played a few tunes with me. Before I left she directed me to a wall racked filled with old-time music on cassette tapes- I think I said “Sell my clothes I’m going to heaven!”
I bought two cassettes- one by Mac Benford I think called “First Half Century” and the other by the Ill-Mo Boys called “Fine As Frogs Hair”. Mac’s tape has the best rendition of Hangman’s Reel I’ve ever heard. The Ill-Mo boys recording has a ton of great songs.
I listened to these two cassettes till they wore out. I was so caught up in the Frogs Hair that it was about six months before I realized that there was no banjo on the recording. One of my favorite tunes Snake River Reel by Peter Lippincott….