Ollie Oakley on zither banjo, 1910

Ollie Oakley
Ollie Oakley

1910 Zonophone recording:

Ollie OakleyMarche de Concert (MP3)

Arguably the greatest and certainly the most popular banjoist of all time, Olly Oakley is a fascinating and controversial figure who even today has the power to arouse devotion and hostility amongst players and followers of the banjo. The son of a Midlands jeweller, Oakley decided on the banjo at the age of twelve after hearing the pioneering Bohee brothers in concert. During a career stretching over thirty-five years he made more than five hundred recordings, toured widely throughout Britain and abroad, formed a highly successful concert party as well as a banjo quartet and a dance band, and was, as far as the circumstantial evidence suggests, a key figure in the development of the zither banjo.

Sheet music (PDF)

All this stuff is via folks on the classic banjo group on Ning.

1 reply on “Ollie Oakley on zither banjo, 1910”

Woah. I’d never heard of Olly Oakley before. He’s playing that banjo like he was born with it in his hands. Just when I was starting to feel barely competent with my playing too… heh.

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