recollections of the 'Wizard' from Florida
banjoist Mike Currao...
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
Mike - it's fascinating to hear first hand
stories about our favourite stars. Can anyone
else send us memories of their ukulele heroes?