“Banjo Classics” Produced in 1974 this was the first recording of fingerstyle banjo since the Van Eps L.P’s thirty years before. It featured the playing of Bill and his accompanist Eileen Smith on one side, and the Torrences, a husband and wife duet on the other. The L.P was privately published by Andrew Wilson who financed the whole project and it was very well received by the banjo press.

Side One
1. El Contrabandista Morley
2. Chop Suey
Grimshaw
3. Banjoland
Morley
4. Polka De Concert
Morley
5. At Sunset
Grimshaw

6. Palladium March Morley

“A Banjo Galaxy - The Classic Banjo of William J. Ball”, produced by the American folk label “Rounder Records” followed soon after “Banjo Classics” and again featured Eileen Smith accompaniments on piano. This was a very influential recording. Rounder Records distribution system ensured that Bill’s playing reached the widest possible audience including the ears of Bluegrass and Old Time players. It came as something of a revelation. See The Review page for some comments.

1. Marche Impromptu Eno
2. Syncopatin’ Shuffle
Lawes
3. Pompadour Morley
4. Egyptian Princess Morley
5. Danse Arlequin
Morley
6. Freckles
Morley
7. Mr. Punch
Morley

8. Zarana Morley
9. Humoresque Cammeyer
10. Carry On
Kirby
11. A Spanish Romance Grimshaw
12. Ad Astra
Morley
13. Dream Dance
Morley
14. Thumbs Up
Morley

“Banjo Highlights” was released in 1976 by GWR Records, the private label of Bristol Recording engineer Dennis Mann who had recorded the “Galaxy” L.P for Rounder Records. Bill provided his own piano accompaniment for the “Banjo Highlights” L.P. Although well received by the banjo press, sales figures were lower than Mr Mann had anticipated.

1. Palladium Rag Morley
2. Rondo Caprice arr. Van Eps
3. Torchlight Parade
Morley
4. Progressions
Lawes
5. Step Lively
Morley
6. Jumbo Rag
Bassett
7. Olympian March Morley

1. The Gunner’s March Morley
2. Hot Frets Frank
Lawes
3. Patrol Eccentrique
Morley
4. A Desert Trail Morley
5. Coconut Dance arr. Van Eps
6. A Banjo Frolic
Morley
7. Cupids Arrow
Eno

“Bakers Dozen” a popular radio programme hosted by Richard Baker presented a variety of music to the public and frequently played tracks from the above L.P’s :- “Palladium Rag” from the “Banjo Highlight’s” L.P was given an airing in January 1980.

In the late 1970’s Bill, discouraged by a poorly attended recital in London, sold his banjo having decided to devote his retirement years to his first musical love, the piano. Following the death of his wife in 1989 he was persuaded to accompany banjo historian and former BMG editor and and columnist, ‘Mac’ McNaughten to the 1990 American Banjo Fraternity Autumn Rally in Gettysburg. He was enthusiastically received and his banjo recital earning much praise. The warmth of his reception in America rekindled Bill’s interest in the banjo and on his return to England he purchased a Clifford Essex Wood Hoop Special. It was as if he had never been away. He was soon entertaining his many friends and fellow banjo enthusiasts as before, playing in a number of Banjo Rallies to enthusiastic audiences. “It’s good to be back”, he said.

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