Bill retired in December 1979 and having washed his hands of the banjo was able to devote his spare time to the piano. However, he was unable to completely forget the banjo. On the 28th June 1983 Radio 4’s Hugh Sykes presented a half hour programme entitled “Banjo Man” based on his life and experiences. J. McNaughten ‘Mac’, one time editor of BMG and highly regarded banjo historian was on hand with his knowledge of the origins of the instrument and its great performers and composers. In the same month Radio Bristol presented a short programme about Bill.

Bill and Mac in America, 1990. After the death of his wife in 1989 Bill was persuaded to accompany J. McNaughten on a trip to the American Banjo Fraternity 1990 Autumn Rally. Impressed with the warmth of his welcome Bill returned to the USA in 1991 and 1994, staying with Jerry and Rebecca Schneider.

Mike Redman and Bill at the Reading Banjo Rally 1997.
Bill played in the concerts on three occasions. Mike Redman was a regular visitor to Bill’s home in the 1990’s.

American Recordings. Bill released two tapes during his trips to America in the 1990’s. The piano accompaniment was recorded in Bristol and the banjo lead added in America. Bill’s American host Jerry Schneider, a very competent bluegrass banjoist, acted as recording engineer. These recordings are now available on C.D.

Bill trying out my Stewart Universal Favourite. He was clearly not impressed !

1991, Bill at home in his living room working on his new composition ‘Twilight Caprice’

The Clifford Essex ‘Wood Hoop’ Special, described in the Essex catalogue:- “An instrument with a sweet mellow tone, suitable for finger playing, or accompanying the voice, responsive to the touch, and rich in tone”.... This banjo was purchased by Bill in 1990 on his return from the USA and he held it in high esteem. He had no interest in the ornate inlay work and decorative carving valued by many players and always maintained that “If you bought a higher grade Essex banjo you were wasting your money.”


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