The artist Paul Birkbeck was also interested in American roots music. During the mid-1960s he played the banjo with the Dedicated Men Jugband. Their recording of the old jug classic Boodle Am Shake was made at lightning tempo because the boys did not care much for the song. At one gig supporting the Who, their drummer, Keith Moon, described the Dedicated Men’s music as “money for old rope”.

I met Paul in the early 2000s when he joined my cajun band the Crane River Aces, with him on triangle – the “tit fer” or “small iron” triangle providing the main drive behind cajun music as played in Louisiana. We played regularly for dancing at Cecil Sharp house in London, and continued together when he played the banjo with our skiffle trio Momma Don’t Allow, taking the music and its history to care centres and social clubs.


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