One of the more intriguing figures in the history of the banjo in Louisiana is Picayune Butler. In Phil Rice’s Correct Method for the Banjo: With or Without a Master, published in 1858, there is a song celebrating Butler. The verses go as follows:


I come to town dis very day

And brought my banjo long to play

Yah ha, I raise my notes to such a sound

Dat it clear’d my heel right off the ground

Yah ha

Picayune Butler’s comin, comin

Picayune Butler’s comin, comin

Picayune Butler’s come to town . . .


About some twenty years ago,

Old Butler reigned wid his old Banjo

Ah, ah.

Twas a gourd, three string’d, and an old pine stick,

But when he hit it he made it speak,

Ah, ah.


Picayune Butler gwine to rise

And meet his friends up in de skies

Ah, ah,

Some thing else am mighty true

De Banjo gwine be dar too,

Ah, ah.