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Two Kazoos: 1920

Two Kazoos: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Characters" is all they wrote on the label of this National Photo glass negative. Library of Congress annotation: "Photograph shows two African American men sitting on bales of hay and playing instruments outside a barn or stable. One man plays guitar and the other plays a bowed instrument similar to a cello; both men simultaneously play kazoos." View full size.


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It's pretty unlikely that the gentlemen in the photo would have been referred to as "... two African American men ...", African American being a late 20th century construct. The original most likely referred to them as "... two Negro men ...".

[It's a direct quote of the Library of Congress description. -tterrace]

What the heck?

Intriguing photo!

That appears to be a 1920s Regal parlor guitar, but I hope someone more knowledgeable than I am can identify whatever the apparatus on the soundhole and the treble-side knob are.

Seems an early date for an amplified guitar.

The other instrument is, I believe, a home-made diddley bow, but I'm no expert, though I did hear and meet Bo Diddley in 1972!

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