Posted by: nickwardscenarios | April 7, 2012

Banjo Nick busking in Soho

Banjo Nick illegally busking in Walker’s Court, Soho, photo by Jorge Pablo, a student of photography, who happened to be passing by and agreed that, accoustically, this must be one of best busking spots in London – and particularly good for some old school banjo-pickin’ blues. I spent most of the winter playing slide on my open F sharp (banjo-tuned) Tanglewood guitar and without really meaning to I’ve been finding ways of banjo-picking some of the material I worked up by strumming and sliding on the guitar (like Dylan’s ‘Dirt Road Blues’ and the Sonny Terry/Brownie McGee version of  ‘Key to the Highway’)

Key to the Highway – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 “Key to the Highway” is a blues standard first recorded by blues pianist Charlie Segar in 1940. The song was also recorded by Jazz Gillum and Big Bill Broonzy

… it kind of works but needs a place like this to be tested and repeated. If a distinction was made between amplified and non-amplified busking then places like this would come alive. Westminster City Council have no sense of this kind of thing – and I have known the police to be aggressive in enforcing their troubadour-unfriendly world-view.

This is Michael who plays an African single-stringed precurser of the banjo – and he plays tough locations like the South Bank without an amp – great to meet you, Michael – a wonderful sound which carries.

Here’s an earlier blog recording a run-in with the police the last time I played Walker’s Court:

Moved on in Westminster by a bad cop « Nick Ward Scenarios

Freeing up accoustic non-amplified busking in Westminster is the kind of issue Ken Livingston could run rings around Boris Johnson on – it would certainly be a relief to change the subject from the planet-destroying Boris Island Airport fantasy and both candidates’ slighly dodgy (and very boring) tax affairs, in my view. Or could this be one for the  formidably likable and cyclist-friendly Green mayoral candidate, Jenny Jones?

London Green Party NewsContact Us
Previously 2:

Mar 23, 2010 nickwardscenarios | Message for Boris Johnson regarding harnessing the tidal Thames for energy……/turning-river-current-into-electricity/
ammended 9/4/2012


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