Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Haze Hall

This tape was given to me by some wonderful friends Janie and Troy Brammer. Troy being a legendary banjo player himself and knew Haze Hall well. The person doing the interviewing is a nephew I think and was done on Haze's front porch with his banjo on July 21, 1979. 

Haze does not refer to the as a specific model number that we all throw around these days to him it was just one of the many banjos he owned over the years.  They were Mastertones' or they weren't.
I have searched the archives of Roanoke and Rocky Mount newspapers and no advertising appears for a Bill Monroe or Tommy Magness Show in Rocky Mount between June of 1946 and August of 1947 . {According to my research Earl said that the plastic from the his banjo fingerboard (Style 11) began coming off at Blytheville Ark on July 4, 1946}.
This site is still very much "Under Construction" and if you have an ongoing interest in the banjo and its lore, feel free to stop by and see what I have uncovered.

That there was a good write up they gave you in the Martinsville paper, when was it in 74. I’ve done forgot,
Mother gave me a copy of it and I Xeroxed it at work and made about 8 copies of it.

Haze:There were two girls come up here and wrote up a bunch of junk and sent a photographer up here the next day and I sat out there in my shop door and they took two or three pictures of me. I think they took a picture of me on an old boring machine, first one thing and another.
They wrote up two write-ups on me in the Martinsville paper one me and one in the Bassett paper I think.

How come you didn’t never go off and play like Scruggs and them other boys?

Haze: Wasn’t able.

You liked it here too good to didn't you.

I wasn’t struck on this place, but I had wife and two kids to look after, they had no way to make a living, so I was the main dependent.
It takes money to make money, course everybody don’t know that, but they’ll find it out late in life. If they don’t know it to start with, they’ll learn it before they die.
You can’t 50 cents and make dollar out of it. Never could.

Did you work over at Bassett Furniture.

Yea, I worked down there for the biggest part of my life, I worked down there pretty close to 50 years.

And you just played for square dances and all around here.

I was just out for good entertainment. I liked it and I never didn't never make too much money at it. Of course I expect that all the money I ever made since I been making music might be ten thousand dollars I don‘t know. I never did take care of none of it. It come easy and went easy.

Did you ever play any on the radio with a band?

Radio and Television both.

Where did you play on Television, over at Roanoke?

I never did play over at Roanoke but one time on television but I could have played all the time if I'd a wanted too. You can't afford to drive to Roanoke or Greensboro or somewhere just to get to play for nothing.

Whats the name of some of the bands you played with?
Well I was playing with, now lets see I was playing with, what was there names…I believe the Blue Sky Boys, or Blue Star Boys something like that I've done forgot what the name of the band was that was a long time ago.


I played over at the Radio Station at Martinsville, we played over there.  We'd go on Monday night and played for a live program and made a tape for two or three other nights of the week and one for Saturday evening.  We stayed over about there til about twelve o'clock once a week. Didn’t get a thing out of it. I finally got fed up on publicity and I just quit.

Publicity don't put no groceries on the table do they.
Never have put a sop of gravy on my plate or crumb of bread either

Did you ever meet Reno, Don Reno.

Ya, I've met them all.  Mighty good friends of mine.  Don Reno he's got my banjo now that I let Earl Scruggs have.  He sent me word a while back he had it put up, he wanted to take care of it,  he had another banjo he was playing and he had that one put up,  he was afraid of it getting lost or somebody stealing it or it getting torn up or something, he wanted to keep it. 
Somebody told me said he told them wouldn't take ten thousand dollars for it. Ah its just a keep sake banjo it an't no better banjo than this one.(he was sitting on his porch with a Vega Earl Scruggs Model) I've owned them both and played them both.

Is that the one you got from Martin?..
No, I got that banjo from Edmund Jones down next to Danville. Jim Tuggle bought the banjo new, it was practically a new banjo when ever I got it. Edmund went to army and stayed a spell and when he come back he’d kind of lost out on playing a banjo.
 I had one these here cheap Gibson banjos, and I sold it for 75 dollars and I believe I gave him a hundred dollars that one, Yeah, I know I did, I paid him 75 dollars down on it and come back to the house and got the rest of the money and went back the next day and got the banjo, I didn't have the money with me the night I went down there to see it.
I went down there one time aiming to trade him another banjo for it, it had old strings on it and wouldn’t chord nowhere, I wouldn’t give him fifty cents for it. So the next time I went back it had good strings on it and it corded good everywhere and played good .
So I went back again and asked him what he wanted for it and he said he really didn’t want to sell it, but would take a hundred dollars for it. I gave him a hundred dollars for it and sold it for a hundred fifty. I thought I made money on it. Course I spent ten dollars on a head on it. I had a hundred and ten dollars in it.

How did Earl Scruggs get up with you

I went up here to Rocky Mount one day. He and Bill Monroe was supposed to be flying up there to play with Tommy Magness and the Hall Twins. They got in up there that evening about dark, I had done played there all day, I‘d done give out. I told Earl I had me a Mastertone Banjo, and I reckoned that Saeford and Clayton told him so too…. He come down here that night about 10:30 to buy it. I sold it to him. My wife begged and cried for me not to sell it but I'm an old hard head and sold it anyway.

He probably made ten thousand dollars with it.

Ten Thousand Dollars……..Well he didn’t make too much money with that banjo, he didn’t keep it long. The one he traded for, he made a lot of money with that. It was a good banjo too, he’s still got it. He got it from Don Reno, it was an old gold plated banjo, but the gold was done sheaded off of it, it looked worst than all but it sounded good.

So he traded the banjo the banjo he got from you to Don Reno and Don Reno's still got it?
He traded it to Don for that old Mastertone and a new Martin Guitar too.
Don wanted it.
The conversation continues about Clayton and Saeford the Hall Twins..

According to the Hatch Show Print ledgers this is the only date that Bill worked near Bassett Virginia in 1946,  They worked Alta Vista on the 17th, Martinsville on the 18th, Lynchburg on the 19th and back to Nashville for the 20th.  I'm thinking that since Alta Vista is near Rocky Mount, this just might have been the date that Earl purchased the banjo.

July 4, 1946ThursdayBlytheville, Ark
July 5, 1946FridayBall ParkUnion City, Tn
July 6, 1946Saturday
July 7, 1946SundayMacon, Ga
July 8, 1946MondayColumbus, Ga
July 9, 1946Tuesday
July 10, 1946WednesdayBall ParkWaycross, Ga
July 11, 1946ThursdayBaseball StadiumThomasville, Ga
July 12, 1946FridayBaseball ParkMoultrie, Ba
July 13, 1946Saturday
July 14, 1946SundayAmusement ParkHuntington, W. Va.
July 15, 1946MondayMemorial AuditoriumBeckley, W.Va
July 16, 1946TuesdayMemorial AuditoriumBeckley, W, Va
July 17, 1946WednesdayHigh School AuditoriumAlta Vista, Va
July 18, 1946ThursdayHigh SchoolMartinsville, Va
July 19, 1946FridayLynchburg City ArmoryLynchburg, Va
July 20, 1946Saturday
July 21, 1946SundaySunset ParkWest Grove, PaWest Grove, Pa
July 22, 1946MondayTent ShowPa
July 23, 1946TuesdayTent ShowPa
July 24, 1946WednesdayTent ShowPa
July 25, 1946ThursdayTent ShowPa

As you can see the 18th was the only time that Bill and The Blue Grass Boys came into the area during this time...   Other dates and locations that year don't fit either ...  So this just might have been when Earl got the banjo...

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