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Stringbean, banjo pickin’ fool

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Dave Akeman aka “Stringbean” was born June 17, 1915. He’d be 88 today.

Akeman played old timey banjo like nobody’s business. He made his bones playing for Bill Monroe in the 1940s. (Monroe hired Earl Scruggs as his replacement.)

On his own he was known as much as a comedian as for his picking. He was best buddies with Grandpa Jones. His picking and grinning made him a popular star of the Grand Ole Opry and a charter cast member of Hee Haw in 1969.

You couldn’t tell it by looking for him at Amazon now, but Stringbean was the banjo pickingest fool around. This is why God invented P2P. You can’t go wrong downloading Stringbean. You may particularly want to hunt for:

“Give Me Back My Five Dollars”
“How Many Biscuits Can You Eat”

“Barnyard Banjo Pickin'”
“Liza Jane”

Unfortunately, many people remember Stringbean now more for the unfortunate circumstances of his death than they do for his music. Coming home from performing at the Opry on November 11, 1973, Akeman and his wife Estelle walked in on some burglars, and were murdered on the spot.

The thought of this may hang over your fun a bit in listening to him now, but it really has nothing to do with him. The last five minutes of his life was not fun, but then how many people’s last five minutes are enjoyable?

That was a long time ago, and he’d probably have passed by now anyway. Forget the unfortunate last few minutes, and get your jam on with one of the pickingest fools to ever play a banjo.

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