Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Roy Clark & Buck Trent – Dueling Banjos

An evening pause: While the version of this song for the movie Deliverance (1972) was quite good, I really dislike how that film made all country folk look like they were mentally and physically crippled. The portrayal seemed quite bigoted.

This performance, however, just shows us some great banjo playing, the way it should be done.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • Jwing

    As a kid growig up in Queens, NYC in the 1970’s, I was an oddity because all I wanted to do was play the five string banjo like Earl Scruggs and Steve Martin. The five string banjo is an original America instrument having been adapted from a stringed gourd instrument of the African slaves. I love playing a truly American instrument and musical form, Bluegrass.

    Dueling Banjos is a tour de force song and I have not seen this particular clip from “Hee Haw” in years. Thank you.

  • Surprised those two didn’t set off the sprinkler system.

    As Steve Martin demonstrated, you can’t be unhappy playing the banjo.

  • Jwing

    Ha..I still have my vinyl album of Steve Martin’s comedy act and still play it on my turntable. Yes, I’m retro. It was Steve Martin’s banjo virtuosity and his making it look so cool while being a funny man that made me as a kid want to play the banjo. I can still recite his act of singing sad dirge lyrics to the happy plinky-plunk of his banjo….”death…destruction…”plinckity-plunkity. Funny, funny stuff. Nothing political, just goofy, silly comedy at a time in the late seventies when we all needed a boost and a good laugh.

  • TimArth

    Great find!

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *