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More Memories of Roy by Mike Currao

 

Mike Currao -  banjo student with the great Roy Smeck

Learn more about Mike here: Florida Banjo...

Yet more recollections of the 'Wizard' from Florida banjoist Mike Currao...

I studied banjo with Roy for several years, and learned from him many things that cannot be found in any book! At the time I was already considered a proficient banjoist, but I was able to pick up many new tricks and techniques from Roy.
I used to visit Roy during my lunch hour. His wife Fay was one of the nicest people I ever met. Prior to sitting down for my weekly session I would spend some time with her and she would feed me a ham sandwich and a glass of milk. When Roy got impatient, she would tell him "You can wait for Mike - he's here on his lunch hour to play with you, he has to eat first!" Roy would then laugh and wait.
Roy always used to admire the silk neckties I wore to work. which I purchased at Macy's. On several occasions I arrived back in my Manhattan office without a necktie because Roy admired it so much that I gave it to him!
When I relocated to Pennsylvania, Roy was truly upset, as he would prove by writing a surprise letter now and then. And he even called on Holidays and special occasions. He was truly a great individual and held back nothing when it came to showing me undocumented playing techniques, ideas and tricks. He spent a great deal of time passing on to me performance routines and entertainment tips that just could not be learned elsewhere.
In my possession I have over 100 tapes of Roy and myself playing together, and I cherish each one of them.

Thanks, Mike - it's fascinating to hear first hand stories about our favourite stars. Can anyone else send us memories of their ukulele heroes?