I have modified my musical creed a little since I have enjoyed the opportunity of comparing Tommy Bree, the banjoist of the Olympic, w ith Gottschalk. I like Gottschalk well enough. He probably gets as much out of the piano as there is in it. But the frozen fact is, that all that he does get out of it is "tum, tum." He gets "tum, tum," out of the instrument thicker and faster than my landlady's daughter, Mary Ann; but, after all, it simply amounts to "tum, tum." As between Gottschalk and Mary Ann, it is only a question of quantity; and so far as quantity is concerned, he beats her three to one. The piano may do for love-sick girls who lace themsleves to skeletons, and lunch on chalk, pickles and slate pencils. But give me the banjo. Gottschalk compared to Sam Pride or Charley Rhoades, is as a Dashaway cocktail to a hot whisky punch. When you want genuine music -- music that will come right home to you like a bad quarter, suffuse your system like strychnine whisky, go right through you like Brandreth's pills, ramify your whole constitution like the measles, and break out on your hide like the pin-feather pimples on a picked goose, -- when you want all this, just smash your piano, and invoke the glory-beaming banjo!
[published in Early Tales & Sketches, Volume 2, 1864-1865, University of California Press, 1981, p. 235.]
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