Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Don Stover - Banjo Spirits

The more I study the banjo and the people who play them the more I am hooked on the banjo.

When I first took to the banjo some ten years ago, Stephen Wade’s documentary film ‘Banjo Spirits’ was one of the first documented histories I’d seen on the origins of the banjo. I was instantly drawn in as Stephen explored the old banjo’s at Smithsonian Folkways Museum. Learning a little about how the banjo had made it’s way to America from Africa, and the connection that Bluegrass music has with my homeland of Scotland and my mother’s ancestor’s home of Eire. Until quite recently Scotland also shared an industrial connection with parts of America, deep mining for coal. Alas all the deep coalmines in the UK have closed. Don Stover’s personal tribute to coalminers ‘Black Diamond’ is one tune I wanted to learn from the moment I watched him open his case and take out his banjo.

I also love the way Don mixes clawhammer with the three finger style when he sings



Black Diamond has always been a favorite tune of mine. I like it enough to have written a song (Lunchbox Joe) using the main themes of the chord progression.


Good job Dave.

What an incredible video… great find and thanks for sharing that! Wow, just listened to Black Diamond for the first time. What a tune! @BanjoBen, any chance of a lesson for Black Diamond in the future? (I’m assuming it’ll be a pay-per due to royalties)

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Hi Bob, Whilst we wait on Ben sorting out legalities and getting all this stuff sorted on the website. If you head over to Tom Arri’s website at Tom has a great arrangement of Don Stover’s Black Diamond

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Thanks, Archie. I’ll check it out!