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BBC making documentary on bluegrass

Thompson 13 Aug 08 - 02:56 AM
nickp 13 Aug 08 - 04:12 AM
Thompson 13 Aug 08 - 05:48 AM
nickp 13 Aug 08 - 06:08 AM
Jayto 13 Aug 08 - 09:55 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 13 Aug 08 - 10:08 AM
Jayto 13 Aug 08 - 10:12 AM
nickp 13 Aug 08 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,beachcomber 13 Aug 08 - 11:08 AM
nickp 13 Aug 08 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,John from Elsie`s Band 13 Aug 08 - 11:22 AM
nickp 13 Aug 08 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 13 Aug 08 - 12:07 PM
pdq 13 Aug 08 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,Greycap 13 Aug 08 - 12:55 PM
nickp 13 Aug 08 - 01:23 PM
Jayto 13 Aug 08 - 01:32 PM
Desert Dancer 13 Aug 08 - 02:19 PM
Thompson 13 Aug 08 - 02:31 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 13 Aug 08 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,beachcomber 13 Aug 08 - 07:23 PM
M.Ted 14 Aug 08 - 01:02 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 14 Aug 08 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Mike Rogers 15 Aug 08 - 03:32 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 15 Aug 08 - 04:40 AM
nickp 18 Sep 08 - 08:58 AM
nickp 18 Sep 08 - 08:59 AM
Mark Clark 18 Sep 08 - 10:04 AM
nickp 02 Dec 08 - 06:20 AM
GUEST,Side Street American 02 Dec 08 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,Side Street American 02 Dec 08 - 10:16 AM
nickp 02 Dec 08 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Side Street American 02 Dec 08 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,Pete 02 Dec 08 - 12:39 PM
The Sandman 02 Dec 08 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 03 Dec 08 - 04:46 AM
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Subject: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: Thompson
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 02:56 AM

A BBC crew is in Virginia and North Carolina, making a three-hour documentary about bluegrass and its associated culture, to be shown next February, apparently. Anyone know any more?


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: nickp
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 04:12 AM

Thanks for the heads-up. Don't know anything about it. Kinney Rorrer is a really nice guy, had the pleasure of meeting him a year ago. There's a chance that Debby McClatchy (shortly to be doing a short UK tour) may know as she's a Poole officionado (spelling?).

Note that 'bluegrass' may be a bit restrictive here, sounds like there'll be a healthy oldtime input - Poole was, of course, far earlier than Bill Monroe.

Nick

Anyone in the UK (or elsewhere) who is interested on oldtime could do worse than check out the
Friends of American Old Time Music and Dance


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: Thompson
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 05:48 AM

It's said to be a three-hour show, which should be good for all you (ahem) aficionados.

Thanks for the old timey link.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: nickp
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 06:08 AM

Knowing BBC4 that will be 3 hour long episodes. There's a chance that they will be available over the web but I wouldn't hold my breath - nor hang out for it being February but at least it's being done.

Now all we need is for the BBC to scour its archives and see if it still has the series where Mike Harding ** cycled down the Appalachians meeting musicians along the way. From memory there were 5 or 6 x 30 minute shows and I have some of them on very rough video copies. Can't remember when it was - probably early '90s. Not even Mike has a set - or hadn't' a few years ago when I asked him.

(And I don't think there's any dodgy spellings in this post - but I'm a bit dubious about some of the grammar!)

** for non UK readers he's a folky radio presenter with an interest in American mountain music in its various forms


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: Jayto
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 09:55 AM

They have been running a similar show here in the US on Public Broadcasting Channel (PBS). It shows the progression of mountain music from old time to modern country. It was a really good show I just can't remember the name right now. Appalachian Heart or something like that.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 10:08 AM

I had Kinney Rorrer as a guest on my radio show a few years ago - he is a very captivating speaker and his knowledge of the subject is encyolpedic. If my memory serves me correct, he is related to one of the members of Charlie Poole's band.   Kinney also hosts a bluegrass radio program.

According to the article, the documentary appears to be more on the roots of American Folk Music of the South, not just bluegrass.   I hope we get to see it hear in the states.

There is a documentary on bluegrass that was made a number of years ago - "High Lonesome", and I believe it is still available on DVD.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: Jayto
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 10:12 AM

Yeah I saw that High Lonsome I had forgot about it until you mentioned it. It was on PBS as well they have alot of good shows on roots music. I hope they show the one they are talking about here in the states as well.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: nickp
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 10:58 AM

From memory, Kinney is the great-nephew of Posey Rorer (the different spelling is correct). Posey was a member of the North Carolina Ramblers with Charlie Poole.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: GUEST,beachcomber
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 11:08 AM

Fellas, for one who loves Bluegrass Music by all it's major performers, would one of you be so kind as to enlighten me about this band, The North Carolina Ramblers and Charlie Poole. He predated Munroe ,by how much ? how much of an influence would he have been on Bill's kind of music? Did he record ? What was his band's line-up ? How did he come to be known outside Appalacian Region?
I certainly hope someone has the time to give a run down on this, I would appreciate it. I suppose there is some web-based info.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: nickp
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 11:17 AM

Take a look here and here

Should fill in some of the gaps.

Nick


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: GUEST,John from Elsie`s Band
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 11:22 AM

I hope they include some excerpts from Malcolm Price. He was, undoubdtedly, one of the most exciting British exponents of blue grass guitar.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: nickp
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 11:24 AM

The implication is that it is U.S. sources rather than U.K. but you never know... Really we need someone on the inside at the Beeb to spill the beans.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 12:07 PM

I `ad that Malcolm Price in my cab once.
`e said, "`ere Jim, take us up the BBC radio theatre please"
I said, "What, you going on that Country Meets Folk with Wally Whyton?"
`e said, " Yeah, I`m doin` it with that Four Square Circle group"
I said, "What, you gonna give `em some Blue Grass then?"
`e said, "Nah, they`ll `ave to make do with Old `olborn. There`s none of the good stuff around!!"
Whaddam I like??


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: pdq
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 12:40 PM

To put the time in perspective, Charlie Poole died in early 1931, almost exactly two years before Jimmie Rodgers died. Bill Monroe was 19 at the time.

Some purists only recognise a small group of bands starting with Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys and including people who once played in the group including Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin and others, as bieng true "bluegrass". The public has broadened the term to include almost any effort to p[lay acoustic music that is obviously not Classical or Pop. Truth probably lies somewhere in between.

I'm not sure what a late-night jam session with Tony Rice, David Grisman and Jerry Garcia has in common with Bill Monroe singing Blue Moon of Kentucky, other than the fact that many acoustic music fans are apt to like both. It is also likely that they will both be found in the same area in your local record store.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: GUEST,Greycap
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 12:55 PM

I'm looking forward to these programmes(s). Do you think the BBC will include that excellent banjo picker, Frank Skinner, whose contribution to bluegrass was legendary?
Just going from their last bluegrass attempt.....I'm cautious.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: nickp
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 01:23 PM

I wonder if Frank is still playing...


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: Jayto
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 01:32 PM

PDQ I agree with you totally. I love acoustic music and play primarily acoustic. The guys I have with me (alternating at most gigs) are all acoustic musicians but we are not bluegrass. If you have an acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, upright bass, etc... you are called bluegrass. It doesn't matter what it sounds like or (if you play covers) what kind of cover songs you do you are bluegrass. I remember one jam we had that was pretty much straight Rockabilly. We had acoustic instruments and did rockabilly type songs. At the end of the night a couple of people came up to me and talked about how much they loved the bluegrass music. We did not hit one bluegrass song the whole night lol. Oh well...lol Since when did Bill Monroe have a djembe player lol


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 02:19 PM

The term "bluegrass" is only used once in the linked article, and in a not too knowledgeable way:

"The series' first installment focuses on bluegrass musicians of the 1920s, the Great Depression and the early recording boom."

So, it's not entirely clear what the theme of the BBC program will be, other than that it should have a nice segment on Charlie Poole...

Recently, on another (?) forum this apt line was used: "she didn't know sheepshit from dark raisins about old time fiddle tunes".

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: Thompson
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 02:31 PM

Ooh, sounds like some good programmes there. Pity this kind of thing doesn't tend to appear on the streaming TV sites.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 02:39 PM

"it's not entirely clear what the theme of the BBC program will be"

The article did say it was on American Folk Music, so I would assume that one segment or program deals with bluegrass and its roots.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: GUEST,beachcomber
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 07:23 PM

Thanks a lot nickp. I think the addition of another note in every bar by old Charlie Poole would have converted the sound of him and his band into "Bluegrass" all right. Perhaps a Bass as well ?


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 01:02 AM

It's a bigger jump than that from Charlie Poole to bluegrass, beachcomber. Bluegrass, unlike a lot of other genres of music, is pretty clearly defined. Only one banjo technique fits the Bill (sorry bout that) and the other parts fall in the same way. And bluegrass was pretty much created, by specific folks, in a specific place and time, for a specific purpose.

Also, from a playing point of view, you can't casually slide in to a bluegrass session and fudge around--it may sound like simple music, but it is fast, and precise music, and you've got to know where you're going and how you're going to get there or you are dead.

It will be interesting and entertaining to see how much of this the BBC actually picks up on.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 05:01 AM

The Mike Harding programmes were called The Harding Trail. I have all six which I haven't looked at for a while but there were some interesting moments there certainly; Dellie Norton, Walt Davis etc.
Whilst on the subject does anybody know if the short film "Red White and Bluegrass" is available on DVD? It was made by a well known photographer whose name I can't recall (yes he is that well known) and included Lost John Ray the North Carolina fiddle player who showed up in an earlier film on Bascom Lamar Lunsford.
Incidentally does Harding ever play any decent music on his radio programe these days?
Kinny Rorrer mentioned above is not only very knowledgable about his distant relative having written the biography, but he is also an excellent musician playing very much in the style of Charlie Poole, also his brother Doug is an excellent guitar picker who also has his own record label Flying Cloud, issuing recordings by musicians in the area. Probably some of you in the UK have had the pleasure of meeting him and seeing him performing in the UK with his son Taylor.
Let's hope the BBC do a good job on this one.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: GUEST,Mike Rogers
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 03:32 AM

I'm hoping for a programme of the same standard as earlier BBC offerings like Lost Highway and Bringing It All Back Home.

If, heaven forfend, Frank Skinner is featured, I trust it will only be a shot of him running through woods pursued by a pack of hounds, to the accompaniment of a good ol' Jimmy Martin song.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 04:40 AM

Agreed, if the standard meets that of the programmes mentioned above then it will be worthwhile.

I hear that Mr Skinner is still taking lessons. Hoepfully he is putting in a little more effort than he did for that abysmal programme which showed how uncommitted he was to the project and his first tutor. I was told though I cannot vouch for it's authenticity that the original idea was for him to learn fiddle but he thought that a banjo had more potential for comedy?

Incidentally is that the same Mike Rogers above that used to play the folk clubs in the sixties.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: nickp
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 08:58 AM

I'm guessing it's this from the BBC4 opress release - no dates yet:

The Story Of The American Folk Revival

A three-part series that tells one of the key stories of 20th century America.

The opening film features the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Mississippi John Hurt and other blues and hillbilly singers who were discovered by record companies and folklorists in the Twenties and Thirties.

The second film enters the "dream life of the American left" with "hobo" Woody Guthrie and "jailbird" Leadbelly.

In the final film, the earlier singers are rediscovered and celebrated by a new generation of Americans, who tell their own stories about how they used the idea of a purer, simpler past to create something quite new – the exciting sounds of Sixties folk.

Featuring a stunning soundtrack, the series also includes rare archive and contributions from Joan Baez, Judy Collins, The Band, The Byrds, Odetta, Harry Belafonte, The Kingston Trio and The Weavers, as well as survivors and their families from the first wave of recorded folk.

To accompany the films there will be a screening of a concert from London's Barbican celebrating music from the series.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: nickp
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 08:59 AM

BBC press release


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 10:04 AM

I just noticed this thread. I'll look forward to seeing the program.

pdq said:
“...The public has broadened the term [bluegrass] to include almost any effort to p[lay [sic] acoustic music that is obviously not Classical or Pop.”
and
“I'm not sure what a late-night jam session with Tony Rice, David Grisman and Jerry Garcia has in common with Bill Monroe singing Blue Moon of Kentucky, other than the fact that many acoustic music fans are apt to like both.”

The term bluegrass was coined by people in the music industry who needed a label for the music. When in 1946 Monroe, et al., created the bluegrass musical style they were already Grand Ole Opry stars and were pooling their ideas to create their own personal brand of commercial country music. They just called it country music. This music put the Gibson Company back in the banjo business and, in the rural south, inspired a lot of people to take up instruments and follow suit. The music remained virtually unknown in the urban north until the 1960s.

The realization that the new music was something unique came from musicologists; trained scholars who specialized in the identification of musical styles and origins. This isn't the opinion of “a few purists” but the scholarly research of trained academicians. Based on the musical elements involved (not necessarily the instrumentation), scholars date the first bluegrass recording as Sept. 17, 1946 in Chicago. This was the second day of a two day recording session by Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys. The first day's work is not considered bluegrass by scholars.

As for “a late-night jam session with Tony Rice, David Grisman and Jerry Garcia” all of these great musicians were bluegrass performers. In the 1960s, when young urban musicians began taking up bluegrass music as their own, Monroe often had the best of them in his band. Musicians such as Richard Greene, Bill Kieth and Peter Rowan worked with Monroe and as they absorbed Bill's music, he incorporated their ideas into it as well.

Bluegrass music isn't an anachronism. It's popularity today is greater than it's ever been. The music's popularity has grown steadily since its inception and the genre has grown as well. Monroe, et al., didn't start out to play music in a “traditional” way. They wanted to give their audiences something they'd never heard before. And while Bill continued to play those original bluegrass numbers throughout his career, he never stopped moving the music forward. He didn't rest on his hits from long ago as many country artists do, he was constantly writing new tunes and changing his style. One could argue that the so called newgrass musicians are remaining truest to Monroe's vision by moving forward with the times. Grisman and Rice are capable of performing in a wide variety of musical genre from old-timey to jazz and rock and roll. Garcia is most widely known for his work with The Grateful Dead but he started out playing bluegrass and performed it all his life as the occasion permitted.

And Monroe remains the only performer to have been elected to The Bluegrass Hall of Fame, The Country Music Hall of Fame and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: nickp
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 06:20 AM

These concerts appear to be related to this thread.

Unfortunately it seems like the importance of old time music has been overlooked in the supporting concerts unless you stretch to the Wiyos- www.thewiyos.com

Folk America: a celebration of the enduring influence of American Folk music and a rare chance to see some of the legends of the 1960s folk scene on one stage. Concerts to be broadcast by BBC Four on Friday 30 January.

Venue: The Barbican, London   Tickets: £15/20/25


Wednesday 21 Jan 7.30pm - Folk America: Hollerers, Stompers & Old Time Ramblers
Featuring: Seasick Steve, The Wiyos, CW Stoneking, Cedric Watson & Bijoux Creole, Diana Jones and others tbc


Thu 22 Jan 7.30pm - Folk America: Greenwich Village Revisited
Featuring: Judy Collins, Eric Andersen, John Sebastian, Roger McGuinn and others tbc


Don't think I'll bother... (I'm biased being an old time fan) lets just hope the documentarty is better.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: GUEST,Side Street American
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 10:08 AM

My husband is actually the bluegrass fan of the family. He tells me a newly configured New Riders are soon to be hitting the road.

If the film series is to be about the folk revivalists, why aren't they doing a cross country mescaline induced pilgrimage to Bakersfield?

All the big so-called "country rock" musicians had roots here and there in their backgrounds. I once read a very interesting musicological sort of book about the Band, which traced each member's musical roots. Fascinating stuff.

But this series doesn't seem to get that the Left Coast was just as much a part of the 60s folk revival as the Nordeasters. They just played a lot better with herbs and mushroom cuisine, is all.

Think Gram Parsons, Emmylou, Burrito Brothers, Poco, New Riders, Grateful Dead, The Band. There is a definite "continuing link" to older American traditional music through them. And the "southern rock" bands of the era like the Allman Brothers, et al--same thing.

Midwest had a lot links to the past too, as did the southwest. But those weren't the alpha areas of the country politically, culturally, or musically, so we don't hear as much about the "living link" musicians from those areas as we do the musicians who made it big in the corporate music industries in New Yawk, Hell-A, and NASHville.

All the same, these shows are always fun to watch.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: GUEST,Side Street American
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 10:16 AM

I'm still straining my brain, though, to figure out the musical links between Judy Collins and the Band, to North Carolina.

Anyone else having those sorts of problems with the descriptions here?

If they are talking the Band and Jerry Garcia, wouldn't they be talking more rockabilly and western swing than bluegrass?

Like I said, my husband is the bluegrass go to guy among my peeps, and he is out of town.

Any enlightment here would help.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: nickp
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 11:00 AM

I think they just happen to have got a collection of American artists who happen to be in the UK at the time. It doesn't make much sense at all.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: GUEST,Side Street American
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 11:19 AM

I think you may be right about that. The American artists being profiled are many of those who have been close to the UK & Irish revivalists, aren't they?

The world of revived trad music in the commercial music business has never been very large, after all. Several dozen at most from both sides the pond, as far as I can figure. And they aren't getting any younger. In fact, when I heard the New Riders were touring again, I was puzzled because Spencer Dryden has been gone a few years now. Musically, I don't think he is irreplacable in term of the NRPS sound, but he was an organizing influence for the group, IIRC.

I guess I can appreciate NRPS without Dryden easier than I was able to appreciate the Band reuniting without Robbie Robertson. That one never worked for me. Without Manuel and Robertson, there was no cohesion of any of their "sounds" of the era.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: GUEST,Pete
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 12:39 PM

Nick, just checked the Wiyo's schedule hoping they were doing a UK tour, but it looks like they are coming over specially for the Barbican concert. Don't know about the others but at least in this case it's not just "American artists who happen to be in the UK at the time".

Pete.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 01:14 PM

Sorry to digress,can anyone help me find the thread on Pooles banjo style.


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Subject: RE: BBC making documentary on bluegrass
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 04:46 AM

From: Captain Birdseye
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 01:14 PM

Sorry to digress,can anyone help me find the thread on Pooles banjo style.

Two blocks down and to the right, you'll see a restaurant next to a bookstore. Cross the street, and go past the side of the restaurant, up about a half a block, and there's an alley...turn right..go up ..ohhhh, at least a third of a mile, and you'll see an old...well, never mind, you'll see it when you get there.you can't miss it!!


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