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Musician-songwriter Eric Weissberg, 80
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t***@iwvisp.com
2020-03-23 03:00:55 UTC
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Unconfirmed but from a reliable source, musician/songwriter Eric Weissberg has died at 80.

Following is a Wiki biography...

Eric Weissberg (born August 16, 1939) is an American singer, banjo player, and multi-instrumentalist, best known for playing solo in "Dueling Banjos," featured as the theme of the film Deliverance (1972) and released as a single that reached number 2 in the United States and Canada in 1973.

A member of the folk group, the Tarriers, for years, Weissberg later developed a career as a session musician. He has played and recorded with leading rock and popular musicians and groups of the late 20th century. Weissberg continues to play at folk festivals.

Weissberg attended The Little Red Schoolhouse in New York's Greenwich Village and graduated from The High School of Music & Art in New York City. He went on to the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Juilliard School of Music. From 1956 to 1958, Weissberg frequently joined Bob Yellin, John Herald and Paul Prestopino at Washington Square Park to play on Sundays from 12-6pm. Public folk-singing in that park was forbidden by the city except for Sunday afternoons. John Herald the lead singer played guitar. Bob Yellin played guitar and 5-string. Weissberg usually played 5-string but also fiddle. Paul Prestopino played mandolin. Weissberg joined an early version of the Greenbriar Boys (1958–59), but left before they made any recordings. He joined The Tarriers, replacing Erik Darling. At the time, the Tarriers had had a hit with "Banana Boat Song"; Harry Belafonte's version, released soon afterward, became a bigger hit.

Weissberg was taken on as a string-bass player, but the group soon made use of his multi-instrumental talents as banjo player, fiddler, guitarist, mandolin player, and singer. He started performing with the Tarriers while still a student at Juilliard. His first album with The Tarriers, Tell The World About This (1960), has a much rougher feel than the smoothly produced sound of The Weavers or The Kingston Trio.

In 1964, he had one-year's service with the National Guard, which he had earlier joined. After his return, the Tarriers re-formed. In 1965, the group accompanied Judy Collins on a tour of Poland and Russia, but disbanded soon after. Collins was sufficiently impressed with his musicianship to use Weissberg as a session musician on Fifth Album (1965) and several later albums.

Commercially, interest in acoustic folk groups was waning. Weissberg developed a career as a session musician, playing on albums by The Clancy Brothers, Doc Watson, Melanie, Billy Joel, Frankie Valli, Bob Dylan, Loudon Wainwright III, Talking Heads, Tom Paxton, Jim Croce, Art Garfunkel, John Denver, Ronnie Gilbert, and others.

He is well known for playing the banjo solo in "Dueling Banjos", used as the theme in the film Deliverance (1972), produced by Joe Boyd and directed by John Boorman. It was released later as a single and became a hit; playing on Top 40, AOR, and country stations alike. It reached the Top Ten and hit #1 in the US and Canada.

Weissberg released a related album, called Dueling Banjos: From the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 'Deliverance' (1973), which also became a hit. The album was made up mostly of tracks which Weissberg had recorded on New Dimensions in Banjo and Bluegrass (1963), with Marshall Brickman and Clarence White. (Also a screenwriter, Brickman later received an Oscar for Annie Hall.) They removed two tracks from the 1963 album and added the track for "Dueling Banjos," releasing it under the new name. One of the original 1963 tracks on the new album, "Shuckin' The Corn," was later sampled by Beastie Boys on the track "5-Piece Chicken Dinner" from their album Paul's Boutique.

Warner Brothers was sued by Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith, the composer of "Feudin' Banjos", which he had written and recorded in 1955. It was renamed as "Dueling Banjos" in the movie. He won a "substantial settlement," which included appended film credit for the song and a portion of royalties.

Continuing to play folk festivals, Weissberg is nearly as well known in that venue for his dobro guitar as for his bluegrass banjo playing. He has also recorded with jazz musicians Herbie Mann and Bob James. In 1998, he joined Richard Thompson and dozens of other folk musicians on Nanci Griffith's album, Other Voices Too.

He often tours with Tom Paxton. They frequently play a variant of "Dueling Banjos" in the set, in addition to Paxton's material.

On February 12, 2009, Weissberg performed at the Riverside Church in New York City with the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College orchestra and chorus, along with the Riverside Inspirational Choir and NYC Labor Choir, to honor President Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. Directed by Maurice Peress, they performed Earl Robinson's The Lonesome Train: A Music Legend for Actors, Folk Singers, Choirs, and Orchestra, in which Weissberg played solo banjo.
DianeE
2020-03-23 12:09:14 UTC
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Post by t***@iwvisp.com
Unconfirmed but from a reliable source, musician/songwriter Eric Weissberg has died at 80.
Following is a Wiki biography...
Eric Weissberg (born August 16, 1939) is an American singer, banjo player, and multi-instrumentalist, best known for playing solo in "Dueling Banjos," featured as the theme of the film Deliverance (1972) and released as a single that reached number 2 in the United States and Canada in 1973.
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And was a remake of a 1950s record by Reno & Smiley, so it's on topic
here.
SavoyBG
2020-03-23 14:36:31 UTC
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Post by DianeE
Post by t***@iwvisp.com
Unconfirmed but from a reliable source, musician/songwriter Eric Weissberg has died at 80.
Following is a Wiki biography...
Eric Weissberg (born August 16, 1939) is an American singer, banjo player, and multi-instrumentalist, best known for playing solo in "Dueling Banjos," featured as the theme of the film Deliverance (1972) and released as a single that reached number 2 in the United States and Canada in 1973.
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And was a remake of a 1950s record by Reno & Smiley, so it's on topic
here.
I thought it was "Feuding Banjos" by Arthur Smith?
DianeE
2020-03-23 15:53:00 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by DianeE
Post by t***@iwvisp.com
Unconfirmed but from a reliable source, musician/songwriter Eric Weissberg has died at 80.
Following is a Wiki biography...
Eric Weissberg (born August 16, 1939) is an American singer, banjo player, and multi-instrumentalist, best known for playing solo in "Dueling Banjos," featured as the theme of the film Deliverance (1972) and released as a single that reached number 2 in the United States and Canada in 1973.
-----------------
And was a remake of a 1950s record by Reno & Smiley, so it's on topic
here.
I thought it was "Feuding Banjos" by Arthur Smith?
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Arthur Smith & Don Reno. No Smiley, my bad.
t***@iwvisp.com
2020-03-23 17:56:14 UTC
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Rollingstone dot com...

Eric Weissberg, ‘Dueling Banjos’ and ‘Blood on the Tracks’ Musician, Dead at 80

Musician’s “Dueling Banjos” cover from the Deliverance soundtrack became a huge hit in 1973

Bluegrass musician Eric Weissberg, whose cover of the Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith instrumental “Dueling Banjos” became an unlikely pop hit when it appeared on the soundtrack to the 1972 film Deliverance, died Sunday at the age of 80 after a five-year struggle with dementia. His son, Will Weissberg, confirmed the musician’s death to Rolling Stone.

“Eric Weissberg was a consummate musician, a solid and seemingly effortless player of stringed instruments of all kinds — banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, pedal steel, and string bass,” his lifelong friend and frequent collaborator Happy Traum wrote on Facebook. “Despite his prodigious talents and musical successes, he was humble, down-to-earth, and an easygoing companion with not a bit of artifice in him. He had many wonderful stories from his long career that he told in minute detail and with a twinkle of good humor that could keep you entertained for hours.”

Weissberg became infatuated with the banjo at a young age after watching a Pete Seeger performance at his Greenwich Village school as a child. When he was eight, Seeger himself began giving him lessons. He also attended hootenannies at Seeger’s apartment, where he was able to see legends like Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly perform up close.

He enrolled at New York’s Juilliard School of Music in the late 1950s and began gigging with folk acts the Greenbriar Boys and the Tarriers. As a member of the Tarriers, he backed Judy Collins on a European tour and later performed on her 1965 LP, Fifth Album.
But his life changed forever in 1972 when Warner Bros. music producer Joe Boyd asked if he’d record a cover of the 1954 Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith instrumental “Dueling Banjos” for the movie Deliverance. The song is played early in the film, when a group of four businessmen (Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox) visit a gas station during a canoe trip in a remote part of Georgia and encounter a mentally challenged banjo player who performs the song as an impromptu duet with Cox’s character. It’s an unsettling scene that serves as a harbinger for many of the horrific events that come later in the film.

“I always hated ‘Dueling Banjos’ because I had the original version, ‘Feudin’ Banjos,’ with Arthur Smith and Don Reno,” Weissberg told Banjo Newsletter in 2006. “I hated it because it wasn’t bluegrass at all. It had a rhythm section, with drums. Who needs that?”

Weissberg recorded the song in a more traditional bluegrass style as a duet with guitarist Steve Mandell, and was astonished to see it to become a worldwide hit, reaching Number Two on Billboard’s Hot 100 in early 1973. But Smith wasn’t credited on the soundtrack and he successfully sued Warner Bros. to receive proper credit.
Weissberg began touring and recording with a group he called Deliverance, and in 1974, they were asked to record with Bob Dylan during the New York Blood on the Tracks sessions. Dylan would ultimately re-record much of the album in Minneapolis with a different set of musicians, but Weissberg’s guitar part can be heard on “Meet Me in the Morning.” Much more of his work with Dylan appeared on the 2018 box set, The Bootleg Series Vol. 14: More Blood, More Tracks.

Over the years, Weissberg also worked with Billy Joel, Talking Heads, Jim Croce, and Richard Thompson. He moved to Woodstock, New York, in his later years and continued to tour and perform until health problems sidelined his career.

According to his son, Weissberg was an avid sports fan and ardent automobile and motorcycle collector who purchased and maintained numerous historically significant vehicles, including serial #BC1A (the first built) 1952 Bentley R-Type Continental and a 1955 Vincent Black Shadow.
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