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Genealogy of Bluegrass

mactheturk 18 Jun 00 - 10:47 AM
Noreen 18 Jun 00 - 12:08 PM
Rick Fielding 18 Jun 00 - 12:25 PM
Mark Clark 18 Jun 00 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 19 Jun 00 - 08:56 AM
Mark Clark 19 Jun 00 - 09:36 AM
Mark Clark 19 Jun 00 - 10:43 AM
Frankham 19 Jun 00 - 01:32 PM
Mark Clark 19 Jun 00 - 03:36 PM
catspaw49 19 Jun 00 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 20 Jun 00 - 10:07 AM
Rick Fielding 20 Jun 00 - 10:48 AM
catspaw49 20 Jun 00 - 11:11 AM
Whistle Stop 20 Jun 00 - 11:38 AM
Rick Fielding 20 Jun 00 - 11:25 PM
catspaw49 21 Jun 00 - 12:03 AM
Mark Clark 21 Jun 00 - 08:20 AM
Whistle Stop 21 Jun 00 - 09:06 AM
Rick Fielding 21 Jun 00 - 12:26 PM
mactheturk 21 Jun 00 - 11:58 PM
Mark Clark 31 Aug 02 - 11:11 PM
GUEST,Richie 01 Sep 02 - 02:35 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 01 Sep 02 - 03:09 PM
Mark Clark 01 Sep 02 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,Richie 01 Sep 02 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,Richie 01 Sep 02 - 05:33 PM
beachcomber 01 Sep 02 - 05:34 PM
Steve Latimer 01 Sep 02 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,Richie 01 Sep 02 - 05:51 PM
Banjer 01 Sep 02 - 06:44 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 01 Sep 02 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,Richie 02 Sep 02 - 12:12 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 02 Sep 02 - 01:11 AM
GUEST 02 Sep 02 - 06:48 AM
GUEST,Richie 02 Sep 02 - 07:09 AM
Mark Clark 02 Sep 02 - 03:54 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 02 Sep 02 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Richie 02 Sep 02 - 09:30 PM
Mark Clark 03 Sep 02 - 01:03 AM
GUEST,Richie 03 Sep 02 - 09:21 AM
Mark Clark 03 Sep 02 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Richie 03 Sep 02 - 10:30 PM
Steve Latimer 03 Sep 02 - 10:48 PM
GUEST,Richie 04 Sep 02 - 12:01 AM
Steve Latimer 04 Sep 02 - 08:01 AM
Rick Fielding 04 Sep 02 - 09:09 AM
Mark Clark 04 Sep 02 - 10:49 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 04 Sep 02 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Richie 04 Sep 02 - 11:13 PM
GUEST,Richie 05 Sep 02 - 07:53 AM
kendall 05 Sep 02 - 08:08 AM
Rick Fielding 05 Sep 02 - 10:36 AM
Barbara Shaw 05 Sep 02 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,Richie 05 Sep 02 - 09:42 PM
GUEST,Richie 06 Sep 02 - 12:20 AM
Mark Clark 06 Sep 02 - 01:41 AM
kendall 06 Sep 02 - 07:48 AM
Steve Latimer 06 Sep 02 - 08:23 AM
Barbara Shaw 06 Sep 02 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,Chip A. 06 Sep 02 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,petr 06 Sep 02 - 12:47 PM
Mark Clark 06 Sep 02 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,Richie 06 Sep 02 - 09:08 PM
Barbara Shaw 06 Sep 02 - 10:16 PM
Mark Clark 07 Sep 02 - 01:50 AM
Barbara Shaw 07 Sep 02 - 08:15 AM
Mark Clark 07 Sep 02 - 11:08 AM
Mark Clark 07 Sep 02 - 11:24 AM
GUEST 07 Sep 02 - 11:10 PM
Mark Clark 08 Sep 02 - 03:37 PM
Art Thieme 08 Sep 02 - 11:39 PM
Mark Clark 09 Sep 02 - 03:20 AM
Barbara Shaw 09 Sep 02 - 11:23 AM
Mark Clark 09 Sep 02 - 12:23 PM
Art Thieme 09 Sep 02 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Richie 09 Sep 02 - 01:14 PM
Art Thieme 09 Sep 02 - 01:38 PM
Mark Clark 09 Sep 02 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,petr 09 Sep 02 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Richie 09 Sep 02 - 11:11 PM
Barbara Shaw 10 Sep 02 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,sorefingers 10 Sep 02 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Richie 10 Sep 02 - 12:33 PM
Art Thieme 10 Sep 02 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 10 Sep 02 - 03:58 PM
Steve Latimer 10 Sep 02 - 11:02 PM
Barbara Shaw 11 Sep 02 - 09:50 AM
Art Thieme 11 Sep 02 - 11:20 AM
Mark Clark 11 Sep 02 - 12:34 PM
Art Thieme 11 Sep 02 - 02:11 PM
Art Thieme 12 Sep 02 - 11:39 AM
Mark Clark 14 Sep 02 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Richie 15 Sep 02 - 12:46 PM
TinDor 10 Nov 09 - 10:05 AM
Janie 10 Nov 09 - 10:41 AM
The Sandman 10 Nov 09 - 11:46 AM
Amos 10 Nov 09 - 06:03 PM
Janie 10 Nov 09 - 09:46 PM
Janie 10 Nov 09 - 09:48 PM
Janie 10 Nov 09 - 09:49 PM
Mark Clark 10 Nov 09 - 10:34 PM
Janie 10 Nov 09 - 11:11 PM
TinDor 11 Nov 09 - 03:26 AM
Stringsinger 11 Nov 09 - 11:16 AM
TinDor 11 Nov 09 - 02:01 PM
deadfrett 12 Nov 09 - 11:44 AM
M.Ted 12 Nov 09 - 02:30 PM
Janie 12 Nov 09 - 03:00 PM
mandotim 12 Nov 09 - 03:55 PM
Mark Clark 12 Nov 09 - 06:52 PM
BobKnight 22 Feb 10 - 12:48 PM
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Subject: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: mactheturk
Date: 18 Jun 00 - 10:47 AM

We can work backwards from Bill Monroe to the Carter Family and back to Jimmie Rodgers. From there we can go to Riley Puckett and the Tenneva Ramblers but where do we go beyond that?

Do we eventually end up in a Dublin kitchen, a Glasgow pub or with fellow pagans 'round a fire?

MP


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Noreen
Date: 18 Jun 00 - 12:08 PM

For those such as me who don't know these names, what sort of dates would they take you back to? That might help to link up with other areas of knowledge.
--Noreen


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 18 Jun 00 - 12:25 PM

The Bluegrass geneology gets a bit tricky. We can certainly trace the Carter Family approach back to the traditional British isles ballads, but if you believe (as I do) that what "we" call Bluegrass started that day that Earl Scruggs joined Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Chubby Wise, and Cedric Rainwater on the stage of the "Opry", you have to deal with the origins of 3 finger banjo. That's turn of the century "classical" style, which obviously influenced some country folks in the 20s and led to Snuffy and Hoke Jenkins and eventually Scruggs and Don Reno. I think the lyric content of the music (which had been around for many years was much less important than the instrumental style....and that meant Monroe's keys and tempo, and Earl Scruggs style.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 18 Jun 00 - 04:26 PM

I think Rick put his finger right on it. Monroe often traced his own roots back to Scotland but the musical influences that created bluegrass music are varied and complex. Monroe always said his notion of the music started with a particular shuffle that his uncle Pen played on the fiddle. Since I've never heard Scottish or Irish music with that kind of shuffle, I think it's likely that the rhythmic basis for the music is African.

The blues were well liked throughout the South so you hear the Carter Family doing covers of Ma Rainey's music and Jimmie Rodgers incorporating blues into his music. The origins of the banjo itself have been traced to Africa so it seems likely that most early banjo rhythms were African and heavily influenced the development of the banjo repertoire.

It was natural for bluegrass fiddle players to adapt the well known square dance tunes to the bluegrass style and many of those tunes are celtic in origin. Banjo players such as Scruggs and Reno on the other hand often adapted their instrumental pieces from popular or jazz music of the time.

Some bluegrass lyrics seem archaic to us now but, like all popular songs, they were written to appear contemporary in their day. Sometimes they express complex emotions in a wonderfully quaint way and sometimes they may seem maudlin or mawkish by modern standards. It seems to me that, among those cultures to influence bluegrass, the Irish may be the people most given to express themselves in that openly emotional way.

I'm not enough of a music historian to know the origin of the bluegrass vocal harmonies in which the tenor part is put on top, a fifth above the melody. I've thought that it may be a natural outgrowth of listening to fiddle tunes played in the key of A with the E string playing a drone harmony but scholarly historians will probably have some other explanation.

Good thread, MP.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 19 Jun 00 - 08:56 AM

Rick, I think I mostly agree with you. You can certainly hear the roots of Bluegrass in the string bands of the 20s and 30s but the combination of
fiddle, mandolin and banjo take turns playing breaks instead of the contrapuntal style of old-time music
banjo is played in a driving three-finger style and not clawhammer
tunes are pitched higher, Bflat and B instead of G
didn't all come together until Monroe's first postwar band. Where did it COME from? Like most other good things, it's a synthesis: African blues and banjo, Celtic fiddle styles, some Teutonic regularity. . . so any attempt fans out Before Monroe, and fans out After Monroe.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 19 Jun 00 - 09:36 AM

For reference, there is a parallel discussion taking place in a thread called Celtic Roots of Bluegrass sought. The discussion isn't exactly identical but calls on much of the same information.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 19 Jun 00 - 10:43 AM

Pete, you referred to the "contrapuntal style of old-time music." What did you mean by that? Most of the old-time music I hear consists of everyone playing the melody all the time at the same time with the possible exception of the guitar. Sounds like I'm on the verge of learning something here.

It's true that in bluegrass the instrumental break features a single instrument at a time but the other instruments are playing usually complex and complementary backup lines behind the lead instrument creating a combination I believe John Lomax referred to as "symphonic" in nature. The fiddle and the banjo especially will often play backup parts that are as imaginative and complex as the instrumental lead. Bluegrass makes a concious effort to sound controlled and "slick."

My point is that bluegrass includes strong influences from professional commercial music arrangements and cannot be thought of as simply an extension of folk forms. The musicians that created bluegrass were seasoned professionals. Bill Monroe had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for four years providing a nationwide audience for the Blue Grass Boys and of course the Monroe Brothers had been a big success on the country charts for several years before that. This was a time of great innovation in music everywhere. Bebop, swing, big bands and, thanks to radio and the phonograph, this inovation was not lost on professional country musicians.

The challenge, I think, for the Blue Grass Boys of 1945 was how to make their brand of commercial country music exciting and innovative and still not, as Lester Flatt used to say, "get above your raisin'." Clearly they drew on many more sources than their own cultural roots might suggest.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Frankham
Date: 19 Jun 00 - 01:32 PM

The one source for this style of playing should be mentioned. From North Carolina, Obray Ramsay. 3 finger style banjo picking has bee around for a long time. Van Epps and other famous classical style banjo players employed the 3 finger technique in rags and "Characterisic" music.

The celtic aspects of bluegrass might emanate from the fiddle styles from Ireland and Scotland. They certainly were transferred to Eck Robertson, Clayton McMichen and Fiddlin' John Carson even though the styles were adapted to American blues patterns as well as Celtic.

The transfer to bluegrass came about when the early string band music became "listener" oriented rather than dance oriented. The Blue Sky Boys, the Delmore Brothers, the Baile Brothers as well as the Carter Family had a lot to do with it's development. Early Carter Family as well as others show the use of Hawaiian influences in the playing style of guitarists. It may be that the style that developed into dobro came from African-American blues musicians who developed the style of "teasing" the guitar strings with jackknives and broken whiskey bottle necks. There is a controversey as to whether this style was endemic to African-Ammerican blues musicians or came from Hawaiian sources.

I think the key to bluegrass is the fiddle because this is the instrument that induced breakneck speeds at the hoe-sowns and set-runnings in the mountains.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 19 Jun 00 - 03:36 PM

Frank, thanks for your post. I look forward to seeing them as I always something new.

As long as you're here, can you enlighten me on the origins of the high male tenor soaring over the baratone melody? I hear that in some African music but European music seems to have kept the melody in the soprano range with alto and tenor underneath.

Thanks,

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Jun 00 - 05:36 PM

I know my opinion isn't worth the 2 cents I'm giving it, but Rick has this one nailed. Everything that influenced Bill Monroe can be catalogued as can the roots of Scruggs style, but we have what seems to me, a relative rarity here. This is one genre that has its origin at one particular moment in time and place. What came before and after adds to the history and development perhaps, but the mating of the sound and style of Bill Monroe's music with the machine gun staccato of Earl Scruggs is the genesis of Bluegrass, the exact moment of its creation as a genre.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 20 Jun 00 - 10:07 AM

The "contrapuntal" style of old-time music is the one best exemplified by Charlie Poole. At its best, you have Roy Harvey playing runs and chords on the guitar which are countermelodies to the ones Poole is doing on the banjo-- and Posey or Lonnie is not just playing the melody on fiddle but is putting in ornamentation and swing notes. . . much harder to describe than it is to listen to! this is my favorite kind of old-time music. The "every instrument plays the melody" approach which seems to have taken over, I think, arose from the 'Galax sound' of a very tight fiddle and banjo (think Jarrell and Cockerham, County 701??) and the idea that you could have LOTS of instruments doing the same thing. I don't like it as much, but YMMV. Anyway, neither of these is a direct ancestor of Bluegrass but each is in a Class by Itself. Mark-- I agree with you that modern Bluegrass features the complex backup that you describe, but the early Bluegrass (listen, for instance to 1940s Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, and Stanleys) did not; the banjo just "chunked" during fiddle or mandolin breaks, and vice versa. Country music changed drastically in 1945 when Monroe put that wonderful band together that Rick described above. Just as there is a consensus that the first true rock and roll record was Bill Haley's Rock around the Clock.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Jun 00 - 10:48 AM

Mmmmm, I LOVE these discussions!

Frank, you mentioned one of my all time favourite musicians, Obray Ramsey, but I don't think he would be considered a "source". He was a guitar player primarily and (oddly enough) it was Alan Lomax who encouraged him to start playing THREE finger banjo on recordings. Prior to that he picked in the two finger style. He was certainly influenced strongly by Scruggs' recordings even though he was several years older than Earl. He was perhaps the only singer who ACCOMPANIED himself in Scruggs style.

I think when we talk about stuff like this, often the fascination is wondering did ONE PERSON have SO much influence, tunnel vision, and pure orneriness that we can lay the style right at their feet. In Monroe's case, I think we wouldn't be far off. Had he not sung so high, what would we have had? Fast stringband music maybe? Had he not INSISTED that the fiddlers learn to play in B, and E, it would have sounded quite different. Most importantly...had he not finally bowed to Ralph Rinzler's persistence and opened up a little bit, Lomax's take (Flatt and Scruggs were IT!) would probably have been the ultimately prevailing theory. Monroe would have been a footnote, in the same way that Snuffy, The Delmores, and the Morris Brothers have become. IMPORTANT footnotes, but not the prime focus.

Almost everyone says that Charlie Christian was THE first modern jazz guitarist, but isn't that due mostly to his exposure (and recordings) with Benny? Had he remained obscure and in Oklahoma, he might also be a footnote (Like Zeke Morris, who many oldimers say was the FIRST bluegrass guitarist)

So my belated vote goes to Ralph Rinzler for gettin' the "word" out. Mike Seeger too, of course. Just remember that Monroe NEVER called it "Bluegrass" til long after everyone else did.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: catspaw49
Date: 20 Jun 00 - 11:11 AM

That idea of a "point in time/place/people" is fascinating to me from the "what if" standpoint. I watched an A&E "Biography" series program on Sam Phillips the other night and the point was made there too regarding Elvis. There probably wasn't another studio anywhere at that time who would have recorded him at all, let alone the manner in which Phillips did. How would this have changed the path of rock and would Elvis have been even a footnote smaller than Carl Perkins? I'm not an Elvis fan, just found it food for thought.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 20 Jun 00 - 11:38 AM

Spaw, I agree with you. The transcendent moment is crucial, in my opinion, and sometimes it has actually been captured on tape. It was in Memphis when Elvis and Sam Phillips worked their magic on a fairly obscure Arthur Crudup tune, and in Chicago when Muddy Waters recorded Hoochie Coochie Man (the definitive modern blues record, in my opinion). It happened in 1963 when the Beatles recorded the gloriously imperfect Please Please Me, and in '65 when Dylan teamed up with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield to record Like A Rolling Stone.

I didn't catch the whole program on Sam Phillips the other night, but what I saw was well done. If anyone's interested, Peter Guralnick has written a two-volume biography of Elvis which puts his life, times and achievements in clear perspective. I've only read the first volume, Mystery Train, which ends around the time of Elvis' induction into the Army in 1958. The second volume, Careless Love, is also out in paperpback, and I expect it is as well-done as the first (although I'm more interested in the early days). If these aren't on the shelf, anything by Guralnick is worth reading.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Jun 00 - 11:25 PM

Interesting that Phillips (like Monroe) started re-writing history outrageously when he finally got noticed by the mainstream.

Anyone going to a Bluegrass festival in the late 70s to early 80s could easily have gotten the impression that Monroe had been a kindly mentor to hundreds of pickers...first training them and then sending them out into the world with a hearty "good luck"! The vendettas and threats of lawsuits among ALL the pioneering Bluegrass groups made for a colourful history.

Phillips even made his "sale" of Elvis into a benevolent positive carreer move. Too bad Elvis DIDN'T stay with Sun for a year or two more. His output of total crap for the mainstream started shortly after he got to RCA.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Jun 00 - 12:03 AM

True Rick, true.

Say, not to get off the subject totally here, but anybody who DID see the Sam Phillips bio.......What the hell did the wrestler have to do with it? "Sputnik" Somebody.......Showing Sam as a great guy even though he dropped every black artist or what?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 21 Jun 00 - 08:20 AM

Rick, shame on you for suggesting that these great cultural icons may have attempted to rewrite history. That would have been a bad thing and produced negative vibrations. In our present state of enlightenment we refer to that sort of "information" as spin and regularly report it as news. **VBG**

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 21 Jun 00 - 09:06 AM

Sam Phillips' self-promotion is nothing new. For years he has been trying to convince anyone who would listen that the synergy he caught on tape when Elvis recorded his first few songs in Memphis was the product of Sam's obsessive vision of racial harmony through music. Dion got it wrong -- he should have called his song "Abraham, Martin and Sam".

Still, there's some truth to it all. This was a crucial moment in time, when all of the essential elements of rock and roll were truly combined for the first time -- the music of poor southern blacks was combined with the music of poor southern whites, by a young man who just oozed charisma and sex appeal, and the foundation was laid for the tremendous changes that followed. Elvis' recordings for Sun Records may have been the result of careful calculation (or maybe not -- that's another long-standing debate), but they sounded refreshingly, startlingly free and spontaneous. And the energy and good humor in the music was incredibly infectious; there was really something there to get excited about. Moreover, the conscious or unconscious decision to combine elements that were generally viewed as polar opposites -- white and black, "good boys" and "bad boys", etc. -- heralded a new freedom of expression and racial integration through music that had impacts far beyond the music. Sure, other people played critical roles as well -- Ike Turner recorded "Rocket 88," Bill Haley recorded "Rock Around the Clock," Chuck Berry combined black and white musics from the other side of the racial divide with "Maybelline". But there's no doubt in my mind that the day Elvis recorded "That's All Right Mama" was THE pivotal moment in rock and roll history. And rock and roll is responsible for more social change than a lot of folks would like to admit.

Sam's egotism and self-promotion make it tempting to discount all that. But facts are facts: notwithstanding their outrageous egos, Douglas MacArthur really was a great general, Muhammed Ali really was a great boxer, and Sam Phillips was the delivery room doctor when rock and roll was born. Give the man his due.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Jun 00 - 12:26 PM

Spot on Whistle. Sam gets his due from me (Monroe too) despite the spins.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: mactheturk
Date: 21 Jun 00 - 11:58 PM

Yeah, I'm walkin' in Memphis(Richard Greene, Jimmy Martin, Del McCoury, Kenny Baker)

Walkin' with my feet ten feet off Beale(Byron Berline, Cedric Rainwater, Sonny Osborne, Roland White)

Yes I'm walkin' in Memphis(Vassar Clements, Chubby Wise, Hubert Davis, Tommy Jackson)

And do you really know the way I feel(Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Mac Wiseman, Earle Scruggs)

MP


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 31 Aug 02 - 11:11 PM

I don't know why I didn't take issue with Pete before now but according to the timeline on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame site...
March 1951 –
Sam Phillips records “Rocket 88” with singer Jackie Brenston and Ike Turner's band for Chess Records. This recording is widely considered the first rock and roll record.
Anyway it gave me a good excuse to refresh this thread.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 02:35 PM

I guess someone needs to come up with a good definition of "Bluegrass". We all know that the original word came from Monroe's Blue Grass Boys but I think that the word bluegrass means more than that now.

I think it encompasses new groups like Nickle Creek and also Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers. I think to define it only by Bill Monroe is wrong. Is Doc Watson Bluegrass? How about Bob Dylan? How many different types of groups are at "bluegrass festivals"?

The roots of can be traced back much like folk songs.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 03:09 PM

"Country music, played on unamplified stringed instruments (as banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin) and characterized by free improvisation and close usu. high-pitched harmony." This is the definition in Webster's Collegiate Dictioary. Does this fit the bill? Or are changes needed?


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 05:05 PM

GUEST,Richie, There's no special reason you would know this but there are hundreds of posts on various threads here arguing for broader or narrower definitions of “bluegrass.” This is a subject that has attracted both popular and scholarly attention and, although there may not be agreement among fans, the scholars seem to agree that bluegrass is a specific genre with a fairly narrow definition.

I don't think Doc Watson would tell you he is a bluegrass musician and I'm sure Bob Dylan wouldn't. Dylan is a bluegrass musician in the same sense that Pat Boone is a rhythm and blues musician. Keep in mind that Monroe did not name his music “bluegrass.” That appellation was applied much later by scholars and the music industry. Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers were certainly a fine old-time string band but no stretch of the imagination could label them as bluegrass.

As for your question about the types of groups at bluegrass festivals, I've seen both kinds... with Dobro and without.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 05:17 PM

Dicho-That's a good basic definition but I think more is needed.

Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley have done some great unaccompanied hymn tunes like "Daniel Prayed" which is a bluegrass gospel standard. Since they didn't used instruments does it mean that Doc's version wasn't bluegrass?

Going back to the high harmony part mentioned earlier in this thread. All the shape note books from William Walker's "Southern Harmony" in the early 1800's (1835) have melody sung below the high part called the counter part. I feel that these early hymn book are one source for the high tenor part in bluegrass. It has been sung this way for almost 200 years. Perhaps the Bluegrass style of singing really isn't anything new.

Since electric bass is still allowed in most bluegrass bands and competitions doesn't that go against webster's definition?

Or is it the music itself that is bluegrass? Flatt and Scruggs and others have done alot of cross-over stuff. There's even a bluegrass group that does covers of AC/DC.

Comments anyone?


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 05:33 PM

Mark-

So if Bob Dylan does a version of "Froggie" or "Shady Grove" with a banjo player, bass, mandolin (same as any bluegrass group) he's not playing bluegrass? I don't get it?

Or since Travis Tritt played with Earl on "Foggy" is Travis bluegrass?

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: beachcomber
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 05:34 PM

Do I correctly gather from these , amazingly interesting ,postings , that the form of bluegrass singing is as rigid that it must reflect that of Bill Monroe. Would Bill then have , constantly, recruited singers (and musicians) who could "fit" a pattern that he had instituted??. I seem to remember no less a worthy than Eric Weisberg, at a workshop session, some years ago, pronounce that , in bluegrass, the lead is always accompanied by either two voices above or two below, did I remember correctly? I am finding this thread fascinating to say the least and it reminds me of the reasons that I joined "Mudcat" some time ago now.

beachcomber


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 05:51 PM

Mark,

I have to disagree about Dylan. Sure, he doesn't do Bluegass exclusively, but when he does he sure sticks with the tradition. Listen to his covers of Ralph Stanley's "I Am The Man, Thomas" and "Somebody Touched Me". He opened his recent Toronto show with a Bill Monroe song. His current band has some wonderful players who sure would fit in at any Bluegrass festival.

Pat Boone was not an R&B artist because he eliminated the soul of the music whereas Bob is careful to preserve it.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 05:51 PM

I put Bill Monroe in the "Classic Bluegrass" period, but I put the Skillet Lickers in early bluegrass or the roots of bluegrass and that goes back before them.

I do have Doc Watson as a bluegrass picker but not Dylan.

Am I wrong?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Banjer
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 06:44 PM

How about another theory added to the mix...? Regional Bluegrass...what is considered and revered as bluegrass in one part of the country maynot be as readily accepted in other parts. Some of the 'newgrass' I have heard called Bluegrass here in Florida would probably never fly in say, Rosine, KY. In a generality it is all bluegrass in the sense that it derives from the same old time music that we know from the 20's and 30's but has taken different paths. I guess what I am trying to say here is the folk process is alive and well in the genre.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 06:52 PM

Go to bluegrass and read the article featured at this site. It covers this same ground.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 12:12 AM

Great article! By the way did you see what kind of guitar Dolly Parton was playing?

I've played at and done workshops several years at Merlefest. It was a blast but now it's gotten so big. I remember driving up there in a van with Preston Reed and Martin Simpson and getting hit by a logging truck. Luckily, we made it through that.

The point of the article is being inclusive, which is the right point. We had Cephus and Wiggins doing a workshop after ours, and what about groups like Leftover Salmon?

By being inclusive you can go back and include other groups: I have Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly among others in a related (folk branch) bluegrass group in my bluegrass categories.

It also means that exploring the roots/genealogy of bluegrass is possible because the early groups that led to the "Classic Period" can be traced.

Thanks Dicho

Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 01:11 AM

This thread seems to be trying to define bluegrass at the moment rather than looking at its roots. Another old thread, seeking roots (Celtic Roots of Bluegrass Sought, 22505) has been revived as well. Just glancing through it, one avenue suggested is to look at the music itself and its formation.

Guest Banjo Johnny (18 June 00) said, "one of the sources of Bluegrass is our "mountain style", and it shows one unique feature with what we think of as Irish/Scottish music, that is, the "flatted Seven chord...."
But if you pick up a volume on Negro spirituals, the following, or similar, is found (John W. Work, American Negro Songs and Spirituals, p. 27): "Of much interest are the scales of the Negro employed in the spirituals." ----- "But there were employed notes foreign to the conventional major and minor scales with such frequency as to justify their being regarded as distinct. The most common of these are the "flatted third" (the feature note of the blues) and the "flatted seventh." (The latter note prominent in "Roll, Jordan, Roll," etc.
From this, I would guess that some of these features were developed independently by several cultures, and are not a reliable method of defining roots unless other factors are brought in. The alternative would be to accept that Irish/Scottish and Negro music have roots in common.
Rather difficult to put a fence around bluegrass, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 06:48 AM


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 07:09 AM

Going back to the original question posted on this thread, which is "From there we can go to Riley Puckett and the Tenneva Ramblers but where do we go beyond that?"

I think the next stop is the minstrel stage "Buffalo Gals" and related popular American music, "The Grandfather Clock" "Home Sweet Home." This period would be from 1830's to the early 1900's.

When people think about bluegrass music or blues and jazz they, do they think about Europe?

Asumming that bluegrass music is a sythesis of folk music, hillbilly music, and religious music, with blues and jazz seems to be the obvious choice.

Sudying the music itself as Dicho has chosen, I think that bluegrass music is very diverse being both pentatonic and using modes like the mixolydian with flat seven degrees. Solos both vocal and instrumental use the flat 5, flat 7, flat 3 and ninth associated with jazz and blues.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 03:54 PM

Great discussion here.

I didn't mean to imply that Doc Watson or Bob Dylan couldn't play bluegrass or even that they never had. I just meant that they aren't primarily regarded as bluegrass musicians and probably wouldn't prefer representing themselves as bluegrass musicians. I think they both might feel that the characterization is too limiting.

Lots of musicians who might not choose to be classified as bluegrass musicians have or had the ability to play bluegrass music. Jerry Garcia comes to mind. He loved bluegrass music and the “Bluegrass Reunion” recordings he made with Red Allen are still among my favorite. Still, Garcia is not primarily regarded as a bluegrass musician. Peter, Paul and Mary are not regarded as bluegrass musicians and yet they loved the music and certainly had the ability to play it—something I believe they were wont to do after hours.

At the risk of making this post way to long, I'd like to include an excerpt from Robert Cantwell's groundbreaking book, Bluegrass Breakdown. Cantwell is one of the first to apply real scholarship to a discussion of bluegrass music.

Twenty years ago Alan Lomax called bluegrass music “folk music in overdrive,” lighting upon a metaphor perfectly suited to the spirit in which Monroe, who once compared playing to putting a motor together, approaches his music. Lomax's brief essay in Esquire magazine, which initiated the intellectual discussion of bluegrass music, is worth quoting at length. “Out of the torrent of folk music that is the backbone of the record business today,” he wrote in 1959, “the freshest sound comes from the so-called bluegrass band—a sort of mountain Dixieland combo in which the five-string banjo, America's only indigenous folk instrument, carries the lead like a hot clarinet.” Taking up the jazz analogy, he goes on:
The mandolin plays bursts reminiscent of jazz trumpet choruses; a heavily bowed fiddle supplies trombone-like hoedown solos; while a framed guitar and slapped bass make up the rhythm section. Everything goes at top volume, with harmonized choruses behind a lead singer who hollers in the high, lonesome style beloved in the American backwoods. The result is folkmusic in overdrive with a silvery, rippling, pinging sound; the State Department should note that for virtuosity, fire and speed our best Bluegrass bands can match any Slavic folk orchestra.
Lomax's brief dispatch from Greenwich Village, written to sophisticated readers at a time when the tiny, politically-inspired folksong revival of the fifties was swiftly growing into a national fad, was designed to secure a place for bluegrass music in the new movement by testifying to its authenticity, while defeating the prejudices against hillbilly music inevitable in the minds of a generation still digging Gerry Mulligan, Thelonius Monk, and Dave Brubeck. “While the aging voices along Tin Pan Alley grow every day more querulous,” he wrote, “and jazzmen wander through the harmonic jungles of Schoenberg and Stravinsky, grass-roots guitar and banjo-pickers are playing on the heartstrings of America.” Lomax spoke with impeccable authority and with memorable succinctness and imagination. “Entirely on its own,” he assured his readers, bluegrass was “turning back to the great heritage of older tunes that our ancestors brought into the mountains before the American Revolution”:
A century of isolation in the lonesome hollows of the Appalachians gave them time to combine strains from Scottish and English folksongs and to produce a vigorous pioneer music of their own. The hot Negro square-dance fiddle went early up the creek-bed roads into the hills; then in the mid-nineteenth century came the five-string banjo; early in the twentieth century the guitar was absorbed into the developing tradition. By the time folksong collectors headed into the mountains looking for ancient ballads, they found a husky, hard-to-kill musical culture as well. Finally, railroads and highways snaked into the backwoods, and mountain folk moved out into urban, industrialized, shook-up America....
Though its origins were in ancient folk traditions, bluegrass was nevertheless strikingly novel and as thoroughly professional as any modern music. “Bluegrass began in 1945,” Lomax observed, when Bill Monroe recruited a “brilliantly orchestrated” hillbilly quintet which contrasted sharply with the “originally crude” hillbilly orchestras that developed, Lomax suggests, in response to the presence of radio microphones. Monroe led the group with a mandolin and “a countertenor voice that hits high notes with the impact of a Louis Armstrong trumpet,” singing and playing the “old time mountain tunes” which in twenty years of professional music hillbilly musicians had largely abandoned. “By now,” Lomax concluded, “there has grown up a generation of hillbilly musicians who can play anything in any key,” with a revolutionary new music which is “the first clear-cut orchestral style to appear in the British-American folk tradition in five hundred years.”
Cantwell goes on to catch Lomax's error in claiming the banjo is indigenous to America and then talks about Ralph Rinzler's role in showcasing Monroe's music. Many in this discussion probably already own or have read Cantwell's book but I thought it was worth the reference for those who may be new to the discussion.

Dicho, I checked out the article and it, indeed, has a lot of substance. I must take issue, though, with the author's statement that bluegrass music preceded country music. Country music was in full commercial swing well before bluegrass came to be.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 04:21 PM

Applying the bellows to the fire, I would say that both country music and bluegrass came into full swing at much the same time. Depends on definition, doesn't it?
I don't really know or want to define country music. Must it alway be commercial or formally composed? Or can it simply be rural music?
I hate the boxes.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 09:30 PM

Mark-

Great post! Very well written and documented. If bluegrass means "everything" then certainly the word means nothing.

I assume you take the very understandable position that bluegrass music started with the 1945 Bill Monroe band with Blue Grass Boys with Bill, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Chubby Wise, and Howard Watts.

I was wondering if you had a definition of "bluegrass" and also country music. Do you also feel that there is a roots of bluegrass and when would that begin?

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 03 Sep 02 - 01:03 AM

Yes, the personnel and music of the Blue Grass Boys at the end of 1945 mark, for me as well as for scholars, the first introduction of what came to be called bluegrass music. There was never much debate about the definition or the origin of bluegrass music until it reached a level of popularity sufficient to attract the notice of major commercial interests.

Marketing people of all stripes are always looking for a word or a phrase that can reliably be used to identify and sell product. They don't care whether the word or phrase can be accurately applied, they only care about whether its use will create branded product identity in the minds of prospective customers. Since a great deal of what passes for news or information is actually the output of marketing departments, their abuse of the language to create product identity often goes unnoticed by the average reader.

This happens in every field, not just music. If calling someone's music bluegrass will help sell it, that's what they do. Many of us probably remember when the bluegrass musicians were sold as “folk” because that was what was hot in the early sixties. I don't think those of us with an academic (as well as aesthetic) interest have to abandon our vocabulary just because some company wants to sell records.

I actually took the trouble once to post a series of MP3 files to help illustrate some of the development of bluegrass music. I put the files on a Web site somewhere and linked to them in another thread. As far as I know, the files are still there and the link still works. I'll hunt around for the thread... (much passing of time)... okay, I found it and here is the link to MP3 files tracing bluegrass development.

As for a definition of bluegrass, that's a much tougher issue. I don't think in 1945 Monroe thought of himself as inventing a whole genre. He did invent it but he seems to have done it rather like Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb... he just tried a lot of different things until he got it right. Even then, I think Monroe thought of it as his personal music. He was trying to find a sound to compete with the other commercial country performers of the day, something that would uniquely identify his sound. It quickly became clear that he didn't want to have other country performers immitating his sound.

First of all, bluegrass is ensemble music. No single performer or simple duet can play bluegrass. They can perform music associated with bluegrass but lack the pieces needed to reproduce a bluegrass sound. Second, bluegrass music is primarily performed on acoustic stringed instruments. As I've said eleswhere, it isn't loose; the music is intended as polished commercial music in which each member is playing a much needed role. I don't think bluegrass is limited to certain chords and progressions necessarily but I do think the tempos and rhythmic structures are important to the definition.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 03 Sep 02 - 09:21 AM

Mark-

Visited your site; good MP3 selections, nice drawing of you too.

I'm not sure about your definition of bluegrass. If two people (a duet) can't play bluegrass how many does it take? Would that be the Guitar, Bass, Banjo, Mandolin and Fiddle (I know Monroe didn't really include the dobro)? And what if a member of the 'big five' is missing? If our bass player misses a gig are we a "bluegrass band" anymore?

Since the electric bass is used frequently does that eliminate the acoustic music part of the definition of bluegrass.

I personally define the "Classic 1945 period" of bluegrass by the development of three-finger style banjo playing, not necessarily by Monroe himself.

I think if we get a good definition, we can go forward and backward from there.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 03 Sep 02 - 12:51 PM

That drawing of me was by my then six-year-old granddaughter—she's now ten. She worked hard while I modeled and was so pleased with the result she couldn't part with it. When I told her how much I'd love to have it, she sat down and drew me a copy of the original. I posted it partly because it's really quite a good likeness.

The reason I said a duet can't be a bluegrass band is because bluegrass is fundamentally ensemble music. Two people can't produce enough different musical parts to constitute bluegrass. If one holds down the rhythm the other is left to be both lead and backup. Of course there are always exceptions to every rule. The Stanley Brothers seem to have recorded quite a lot of material using only a guitar (Bill Napier/George Shuffler) as instrumentation.

Monroe seemed to think that “his music” was more about rhythm, timing and phrasing than about specific instruments. To him it was also about feeling. The high lonesome sound and the emotion evoked by the interplay of the various elements, both instrumental and vocal. I can easily imagine the timing and feeling that are critical to bluegrass being produced with a fairly wide range of instruments.

Many people seem to believe that the five-string banjo played in the style of Earl Scruggs/Bill Keith/Bob Black is the defining sound of bluegrass. As much as I admire those musicians, I take issue with the idea that they primarily define the bluegrass sound. Surely one would miss the scintillating sound of the banjo if it was absent but, by itself, bluegrass banjo can quickly become boring to the average listener. It's only a component of the total sound and, like other instruments in the ensemble, doesn't really stand on its own.

Many years ago, a close friend of mine auditioned with Monroe for a job as banjo player. Monroe invited him into the bus to play with other members of the band. Kenny Baker was playing guitar for the audition and Monroe was stepping him through his paces. During one instrumental break of which my friend was especially proud, Monroe suddenly reached out and grabbed the neck of his banjo cutting off all sound. My friend was terrified, not sure what was going to happen next. It turned out that Monroe was unhappy with timing of Baker's guitar backup. Monroe grabbed the guitar to play rhythm himself and they started again. My friend said there was a difference you could feel between what Baker had been playing and the way Bill did it. Now anyone who has ever heard Kenny Baker play guitar knows that he is surely one of the finest guitarists alive. Still there was some important difference in feel and timing between the way Baker played and the rhythm Monroe laid down for my friend's audition. I think something of that difference is important in a real definition of bluegrass, I just don't know how to describe it.

It's perfectly possible to assemble the traditional complement of acoustic stringed instruments and harmony voices and still play nothing that sounds like bluegrass. By the same token, one can deviate considerably from the canonical form while preserving the essence of the bluegrass sound. Bluegrass isn't just notes, it's an approach to music as well. It seems to be able to tolerate differences in component makeup as long as the approach and feel are consistent with the tradition.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 03 Sep 02 - 10:30 PM

Mark-

I know exactly what you are talking about with regards to the rhythm that Monroe played. Monroe pushes the beat without speeding up the tempo. Quite an illusion- he makes the music sound faster that it really is!

Technically what he does is play just ever so slightly ahead of the beat. You can really hear it when he plays the duets with Doc Watson. It's just him playing back-up and he really creates a drive.

I guess what I wanted from you or anyone else on this thread is a working definition of what bluegrass is. The rhythmic drive of and speed are definitely components of bluegrass.

What about instruments? What are the essential instruments?

Does the repertoire matter? Can you do AC/DC like Hayseed Deseed does? Or Stairway to Heaven? Are there limits?

If the banjo isn't essential does that mean that clawhammer or frailing styles are fine?

I'd like to get some feedback from anyone on this. I will post a definition in a couple days.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 03 Sep 02 - 10:48 PM

Well I've heard Ralph Stanley frail a couple and it sure sounds like Bluegrass to me. I guess the same could be said for Grandpa Jones. I would say that the original Dueling Banjos, or Feudin Banjos as it was called (Arthur Smith & Don Reno?) wasn't bluegrass. Any thoughts?


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 04 Sep 02 - 12:01 AM

Steve-

Are you saying that because Duelin' Banjos was composed by Smith that it's not bluegrass? Would that also be true for "Rocky Top," a country song composed to sound like a bluegrass song?

Does that also mean that you think 3-finger style banjo playing isn't necessarily a defining component of "bluegrass"? If any style banjo pickin' is OK then when did "bluegrass" start?

I mean how many mudcatters does it take to define bluegrass? (Three- one to give an opinion and two to say that's not the way Earl did it.)

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 04 Sep 02 - 08:01 AM

Richie,

I think that there are variations allowed, one of them being that if Dr. Ralph wants to frail, he can frail.

I don't think that Feudin Banjos sounded like Bluegrass, but Dueling banjos did.

Rocky Top? Hmm, I guess I never really thought much about it.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 Sep 02 - 09:09 AM

Wow, good thread to revive. I'll still stick to my earlier points and definitions (made over two years ago!) about what Bluegrass is, but I think the REAL question becomes:

What is the definition of the word 'Definition?'

It can be used very narrowly, by folks who've spent so much of their lives immersed in something, that there's hardly any bit of minutiae that they've missed. The biggest problem for those folks is finding someone else equally as well-versed to discuss all the tiny points. I mean see how many 'general' old time music fans would stick around while two complete Bluegrass 'nerds' discuss whether Tommy Magness or Chubby Wise deserves to be called the "father of Bluegrass fiddle". Trust me, three hours worth of citing phrasing, timing, tempo, note selection, recording dates etc. would drive away all but the most dedicated Bluegrasser.

Of course, the definition(s) can be broader and hence involve more folks and more theories, (as in this thread) heck, just the fact that Elvis re-arranged Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and then recorded it, would qualify him (by broader definition) as a Bluegrass performer. VERY shortly after that, Monroe himself, produced a Stanley Brothers recording of the same song with a distinct rock and roll approach (you gotta hear it...it's on The Mercury sessions) and so by broader definition, Monroe was an early rocker.

By the way Richie, have you heard Dylan's guitar work on Acuff's "Freight Train Blues"? Damn close to Bluegrass!

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 04 Sep 02 - 10:49 AM

I don't think clawhammer or frailing styles would be classified as bluegrass, Dr. Ralph's performances not withstanding. Just as Bob Dylan's occasional bluegrass number doesn't necessarily classify him as a bluegrass musician, Dr. Ralph's occasional departure from bluegrass doesn't disqualify him as one. The reason clawhammer banjo isn't bluegrass isn't because of the tonality or technique, it's because the resulting rhythm and timing of the music is no longer bluegrass. I think Dr. Ralph might agree with my opinion on this. When he used to perform those old clawhammer numbers, it was to add variety to his set and to share with his audience the sort of music he heard growing up. He wasn't trying to say that clawhammer style banjo is bluegrass.

Of course clawhammer/frailing style banjo does, in my opinion, constitute a more complete style than bluegrass banjo which is why it is favored by single performers using the banjo for accompaniment. Bluegrass banjo is designed to work with an ensemble while clawhammer style comes from a time when a banjo and a fiddle were the whole band.

You can see that I've been working pretty hard to avoid posting a formal definition for bluegrass. That isn't because I don't have an opinion or can't think of one, it's because any definition that will fit withing the confines of a single post, or the Mudcat site for that matter, will instantly have enough valid exceptions to bring its validity into serious question. Should such a definition actually become widely accepted, it would certainly serve to cut off any further development of the form.

Perhaps it's more useful to discuss approaches by specific groups or treatment of particular numbers than it is to try to wrap up the entire genre in a neat little package.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Sep 02 - 12:56 PM

Search for the definitive definition somehow made me think of the song "Little Boxes" (on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky. Little boxes, little boxes, little boxes all the same). And of dancing classes in my childhood, where every child had to do exactly the same step to the same beat and with identical arm weaves and dips and the mandatory frozen smile.

"Should such a definition become widely accepted, it would certainly serve to cut off any further development of the form." That seems to be exactly what some are trying to do--- and cut off the roots as well.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 04 Sep 02 - 11:13 PM

It's hard to have a bluegrass genealogy if you can't come up with a general starting point. It's hard to talk about "bluegrass" if there is a general consensus of what it is. I think definitions don't have to be limiting. There are characteristics that can be attributed to 'bluegrass' music that are different than other kinds of music. That doesn't make it restrictive.

In my "bluegrass group" we do black gospel, we do ragtime, we do oldtime. We even write our own songs. We have one song, "Shady Grove" that we play in two keys at the same time (if you want to hear the MP3 of Shady Grove in two keys: BluegrassMessengers@aol.com). We have two and sometimes three (Scruggs style) banjo players- that's the definition of atonal music!

Dicho- you do some great research on the Mudcat. Remember, inside every box there's an infinitive amount of inner space.

Here's what I think we come up with so far:

Bluegrass as a music term can be applied from the 1945 Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys.

Bluegrass is acoustic music played by an ensemble or group at a fast and rhythmic tempo.

When did bluegrass start?

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 05 Sep 02 - 07:53 AM

Just a note on my last post.

The Shady Grove MP3 is not on my website. I'll get it put up there soon.

Best to all,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: kendall
Date: 05 Sep 02 - 08:08 AM

Rick right.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 05 Sep 02 - 10:36 AM

Oops, don't know about that "fast tempo" criterion Richie. One of the pioneer Bluegrass groups (and most famous as well) Reno and Smiley, specialized in Medium and slow tempos. Even their fast tunes were slow next to Monroe or Flatt and Scruggs.

By the way, I dug out a couple of my old Reno and Smiley albums for a quick listen....Damn, they were good! Couple of things really caught my ear, Red Smiley's great bass run in D and Don's "non capoed" banjo work. Good stuff.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 05 Sep 02 - 11:45 AM

When we're in a jam and another banjo player joins us, Frank usually switches to clawhammer. The two styles work well together for alternating or sharing breaks (depending on the players) and it sure sounds like bluegrass! He also always does certain songs clawhammer style, such as Jimmy Martin's "Hold What You Got" and many bluegrass gospel songs such as "Holding Up the Ladder" and "Unclouded Day" and "Take Me In Your Lifeboat."

The bluegrass crowd loves this clawhammer stuff, but it draws flies. One jam over the summer had SIX BANJO PLAYERS in it! (I thought I had died and gone to hell). The clawhammer tends to carry more, fills more spaces in the song, or somedamnthing, and every banjo player within a mile has to show up and join in, I guess . . .

Anyway, my point is that I wouldn't call it not-bluegrass just because it's clawhammer. It's bluegrass in our family, although you don't see much clawhammer on stage (unless it's us).


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 05 Sep 02 - 09:42 PM

Rick-

Someone once told me bluegrass was 'hopped up' folk music. Personally, I think there's too much emphasis on playing fast. But you need fast too. So you think speed is not a characteristic of bluegrass.

I asked one of my students what bluegrass music was. He said, "I don't what it is but I know it if I hear it."

Barbara thinks clawhammer banjo is bluegrass. That would mean we could take the date for the origin of bluegrass back a ways maybe to Boggs, Tanner, Poole, Macon or Carson. Or are they too folk?

When did bluegrass start- with Monroe/Scruggs or before?

I'm beginning to think coming up with a workable definition and origin might be too difficult. But I still think if could be useful.

Anyone want to have a go at it?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 12:20 AM

Bluegrass Definition:

The term bluegrass is a nickname from the "Bluegrass State," Kentucky, that was applied to the music of Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys in the late 1940's. Bluegrass music is an acoustic ensemble music characterized by fast tempos, improvised instrumental solos and close (high) harmony parts. The primary instruments found in bluegrass music are the guitar, the mandolin, the upright bass (or bass), the three-finger style banjo, the dobro and the fiddle. Bluegrass music evolved from music indigenous to the Southern Appalachian Region in the early 1900's including fiddle tunes, folk songs and blues.

Here's my post. I think Old-Time music uses a clawhammer or frailing style banjo.

Feedback?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 01:41 AM

Okay, I'll bite. Some of my differences are meaningful and some, such as Bluegrass vs. Blue Grass are purely pedantic.

The term bluegrass, referring to a particular style of American country music, is derived from the band name of its progenitor, Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys. Proud of being a Kentuckian, Monroe named his band for “The Blue Grass State.” Bluegrass music is acoustic ensemble country music characterized by driving rhythms, separate and distinct parts for each instrument and voice, improvised solos and strident high harmony singing with the tenor often placed a fifth above the lead or melody voice. The primary instruments found in bluegrass music are fiddle, mandolin, 5-string banjo and Dobro (resophonic guitar played with a slide) with guitar and double bass added for a rhythm section. Occasionally, a second guitar is added as a lead instrument. A uniquely bluegrass style of playing has evolved for each of the instruments that is generally distinct from the way that instrument is used in other musical styles. Created in 1945, bluegrass music draws heavily on older forms including blues, jazz and the earlier string band music of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Today, bluegrass music is played in countries all around the world with a faithfulness to the original form that is ofen astonishing.
Or something close to that... NEXT..

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: kendall
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 07:48 AM

Well! Barbara, next time I visit I'll just bring my guitar.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 08:23 AM

Mark,

I wouldn't change a word. Well put.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 09:17 AM

Kendall, you're the exception to many a rule! You can show up any time with whatever you like.

As for the definition: after going to 10 bluegrass festivals over the summer, I can attest that most bands consisted of guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, fiddle. Sometimes there was a resophonic guitar (Dobro). Sometimes it was a foursome with guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass. Typically however, by far, it was the g-b-m-b-f combination with three vocalists doing melody, tenor, baritone, with an occasional bass singer.

Jams, however, are a different thing. Don't recall seeing any clawhammer on stage, but there was plenty of it at our jams. Didn't see any harmonica on stage, but there was occasional harmonica at our jams. We had a bluegrass saxophone once, cello, bones, autoharp, concertina, etc. The music was bluegrass.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Chip A.
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 12:23 PM

That pretty well nails it for me Mark. Well put.

Chip


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 12:47 PM

One thing I would add, is that while a lot of influence is drawn from Southern Old time music, a key difference is that Old time is primarily a dance music whereas Bluegrass is mainly a performance tradition. Petr


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 03:23 PM

Good point, Petr. And an important difference.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 09:08 PM

Great definition, Mark. It's not easy to do. It's hard to have a discussion without knowing what we are discussing.

I am wondering now about the differences between bluegrass and old-time music. Is three finger banjo playing one of the differences?

Are there other differences besides old-time being oriented towards dance music?

I guess this means the genealogy of bluegrass itself can't be traced back too far although some bluegrass music can be traced back.

Comments?


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 10:16 PM

From the IBMA Website.

Bluegrass Music: The Roots

The street balladry of the people who began migrating to America in the early 1600s is considered to be the roots of traditional American music. As the early Jamestown settlers began to spread out into the Carolinas, Tennessee, Kentucky and the Virginias, they composed new songs about day-to-day life experiences in the new land. Since most of these people lived in rural areas, the songs reflected life on the farm or in the hills and this type of music was called "mountain music" or "country music."

The invention of the phonograph and the onset of the radio in the early 1900s brought this old-time music out of the rural Southern mountains to people all over the United States. Good singing became a more important part of country music. Singing stars like Jimmie Rodgers, family bands like the Carter family from Virginia and duet teams like the Monroe Brothers from Kentucky contributed greatly to the advancement of traditional country music.

The Monroe Brothers were one of the most popular duet teams of the 1920s and into the 1930s. Charlie played the guitar, Bill played the mandolin and they sang duets in harmony. When the brothers split up as a team in 1938, both went on to form their own bands. Since Bill was a native of Kentucky, the Bluegrass State, he decided to call his band "Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys," and this band sound birthed a new form of country music.

"Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys" first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in 1939 and soon became one of the most popular touring bands out of Nashville's WSM studios. Bill's new band was different from other traditional country music bands of the time because of its hard driving and powerful sound, utilizing traditional acoustic instruments and featuring highly distinctive vocal harmonies. This music incorporated songs and rhythms from string band, gospel (black and white), work songs and "shouts" of black laborers, country and blues music repertoires. Vocal selections included duet, trio and quartet harmony singing in addition to Bill's powerful "high lonesome" solo lead singing. After experimenting with various instrumental combinations, Bill settled on mandolin, banjo, fiddle, guitar and bass as the format for his band.

While many fans of bluegrass music date the genre back to 1939, when Monroe formed his first Blue Grass Boys band, most believe that the classic bluegrass sound jelled in 1946, shortly after Earl Scruggs, a 21 year old banjo player from North Carolina, joined the band. Scruggs played an innovative three-finger picking style on the banjo that energized enthusiastic audiences, and has since come to be called simply, "Scruggs style" banjo. Equally influential in the classic 1946 line-up of the Blue Grass Boys were Lester Flatt, from Sparta, Tenn. on guitar and lead vocals against Monroe's tenor; Chubby Wise, from Florida, on fiddle; and Howard Watts, also known by his comedian name, "Cedric Rainwater," on acoustic bass.

When first Earl Scruggs, and then Lester Flatt left Monroe's band and eventually formed their own group, The Foggy Mountain Boys, they decided to include the resophonic guitar, or Dobro into their band format. The Dobro is often included in bluegrass band formats today as a result. Burkett H. "Uncle Josh" Graves, from Tellico Plains, Tenn., heard Scruggs' three-finger style of picking in 1949 and adapted it to the then, almost obscure slide bar instrument. With Flatt & Scruggs from 1955-1969, Graves introduced his widely emulated, driving, bluesy style on the Dobro.

From 1948-1969, Flatt & Scruggs were a major force in introducing bluegrass music to America through national television, at major universities and coliseums, and at schoolhouse appearances in numerous towns. Scruggs wrote and recorded one of bluegrass music's most famous instrumentals, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," which was used in the soundtrack for the film, Bonnie & Clyde. In 1969 he established an innovative solo career with his three sons as "The Earl Scruggs Revue." Scruggs still records and performs selected dates in groups that usually include his son, Randy on guitar, and his son, Gary on bass.

After parting with Scruggs in 1969, Lester Flatt continued successfully with his own group, "The Nashville Grass," performing steadily until shortly before his death in 1979.

By the 1950s, people began referring to this style of music as "bluegrass music." Bluegrass bands began forming all over the country and Bill Monroe became the acknowledged "Father of Bluegrass Music."

In the 1960s, the concept of the "bluegrass festival" was first introduced, featuring bands that had seemed to be in competition with each other for a relatively limited audience on the same bill at weekend festivals across the country. Carlton Haney, from Reidsville, N.C., is credited with envisioning and producing the first weekend-long bluegrass music festival, held at Fincastle, Va. in 1965.

The increased availability of traditional music recordings, nationwide indoor and outdoor bluegrass festivals and movie, television and commercial soundtracks featuring bluegrass music have aided in bringing this music out of modern day obscurity. "Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs & the Foggy Mountain Boys" achieved national prominence with tour sponsorship by Martha White Flour and for playing the soundtrack for previously mentioned film, Bonnie and Clyde, as well as on a television show called The Beverly Hillbillies. The Deliverance movie soundtrack also featured bluegrass music-in particular, "Dueling Banjos," performed by Eric Weissberg on banjo and Steve Mandel on guitar. In 2001, the multi-million selling soundtrack for the Coen Brothers movie, O Brother, Where Art Thou? attracted wider audiences for bluegrass and traditional country music.

Bill Monroe passed away on September 9, 1996, four days before his 85th birthday. In May 1997, Bill Monroe was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because of the profound influence of his music on the popular music of this country.

Bluegrass music is now performed and enjoyed around the world--the IBMA alone claims members in all 50 states and 30 countries. In addition to the to the classic style born in 1946 that is still performed widely, bluegrass bands today reflect influences from a variety of sources including traditional and fusion jazz, contemporary country music, Celtic music, rock & roll ("newgrass" or progressive bluegrass), old-time music and Southern gospel music--in addition to lyrics translated to various languages.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 01:50 AM

Barbara, Thanks for posting that information from the IBMA site. Good stuff. I'm not sure I entirely agree with the first couple of paragraphs though. They seem to completely discount the influence of African music on all modern American forms. I suspect the IBMA may be more interested in public relations than true scholarship in that article.

Turning again to Cantwell—I really like Cantwell, can you tell?—we see what is perhaps a more scholarly analysis of the beginnings of bluegrass. In his book Bluegrass Breakdown, Cantwell devotes an entire chapter to African Rhythms and the Bluegrass Beat. I don't think this aspect can be overemphasized. He also devotes a chapter to Bluegrass and Jazz. I think anyone seriously interested in learning about the geneology of bluegrass would do well to include Cantwell's book in their library.

(Cantwell: Bluegrass Breakdown, p.105)
     By splitting the beat in two, the Scruggs roll transforms the stiff and mechanical 2/4 measure of hillbilly music into the more spacious and flexible 4/4 measure typical of bluegrass, opening the way for Monroe to express his black-inspired preference for the offbeat. This was in fact precisely the contribution of Jelly Roll Morton's right hand “manipulations” to his music, and in this respect the emergence of bluegrass out of Bill Monroe's string band is strikingly parallel to the emergence of jazz out of ragtime. By more fully exploiting the opportunities of the break, without which, Morton said, there would be no jazz, and by devices such as double time, Morton introduces, in Schuller's words, a “smoother, more swinging syncopation,” loosening the original “square” feeling of ragtime in favor of a more liberal and more elaborate play of improvisation; as Morton himself put it, he “changed the color from red to blue.”34
     In bluegrass we can hear this subtle but critical change quite plainly on record. Monroe's first recordings with Flatt, Scruggs, Wise, and rainwater on September 16, 1946—the band had been together about eight months—are in most respects bluegrass music, especially “Toy Heart” and “Blue Yodel No. 4,” a Jimmie Rodgers song. But rhythmically they are not quite bluegrass. Monroe is hastening the band along in a dapper 2/4 measure which with its alternating strong and weak beats generates the characteristic dance hall bounce of western swing; Wise's swing fiddling contributes mightily to the impression that Monroe's group at this juncture was a hillbilly swing band modified by certain novel elements such as Monrie's lucid tenor voice, his darting mandolin harmony lines, and of course Scruggs's uptown three-finger banjo style. But in 2/4 time Scruggs is noticeably rushed and cannot set forth his full complement of eight notes per measure without allowing short chains of melodically peripheral notes to fall, dynamically, by the wayside. We hear not a continous [sic] roll but a series of swiftly fading bursts of notes marked by dynamically shallow intervals and audible pauses: Scruggs is phrasing his breaks syllabically, as if he were singing.

(Cantwell: Bluegrass Breakdown, pp.106-107)
...It is significant, then, that the first recorded bluegrass song should have been played at medium tempo: parking-lot pickers take note.
     “Will You Be Loving Another Man,” regarded my most bluegrass afficionados [sic] as the first full-blown bluegrass song on record, was the first of four numbers recorded the following day, September 17, the others being gospel songs and a conventional hillbilly heart song in waltz time, “How Will I Explain about You?” Here the hounds of syncopation—an emphatic backbeat and a driving, unflagging banjo roll—have been let loose, flushing the rhythm out of the meter and opening a wide antiphonal frontier behind the lead where Monroe's parallel harmony lines become, by a kind of rhythmic refraction, improvised countermelodies playing around the beat and welling up between lead phrases in patterns built on the call-and-response plan of Afro-American music. The rhythm no longer bounces but floats, like a jazz rhythm, while the musicians drive it forward, like jazz musicians cooperating to fill in all the spaces with licks and runs contrived to sustain a balanced structure of opposing rhythms. A true 4/4 measure, articulated by Rainwater's walking bass, has been established at a gentler lilting tempo; though the pace is still swift, it has become more deliberate, and the temporal space in which it moves far grander and more abundant. Once pursued, the musicians are now the pursuers, and the music is suddenly deeper, richer, more complex and powerful. This rhythm became the blueprint for the classic bluegrass recordings made by the same band one year later, in October 1947: “I'm Going Back to Old Kentucky,” “It's Mighty Dark to Travel,” “Little Cabin Home on the Hill,” “When You Are Lonely,” “I'm Traveling On and On,” “Bluegrass Breakdown,” which anticipates Scruggs's famous “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” “Molly and Tenbrooks,” the first song recorded by another band in the bluegrass style, and “My Rose of Old Kentucky,” simply one of the high-water marks of American music.

(Cantwell: Bluegrass Breakdown, pp.109-110)
     “Synthesized from a variety of sources, bluegrass rhythms are deeply dyed with social and moral implication. The backbeat, for instance, is distinctly Afro-American, and bands which favor it, throwing off the pulse with an easy lilt in an atmosphere of relaxed improvisation, have a hip or swinging quality reminiscent of cabaret jazz. Depending upon the regularity, concentration, and the richness of its subdivisions, the backbeat may lope like ragtime, drive like boogie-woogie, hammer passionately like the blues, or even sweep in gorgeous circles like dancers to the Latin strains of a supper-club swing band.
     “The pulse, on the other hand, retains an impression of the march, or, in 3/4 time, of the waltz. The pulse can carry bluegrass almost anywhere, of course: to country-western song, English ballad, gospel hymn, or mountain folksong. But in Appalachian music the pulse has acquired a very strong emphasis upon the first beat of the measure. Since there is scarcely a mountain string band which does not to some degree favor this accent, it may reflect the square dance and the musician's effort to establish a rhythm for the dancers which echoes in the pounding of their feet; even Monroe will break into a fiddler's shuffle on his mandolin and call out, “Now can't you see them dancers!”—suggesting what, for him, is still the basis of Appalachian string-band music.37
     “An accent upon the first beat of the measure is of course only the aural form of the bar; an emphasis upon it, I suspect, is likely to be particularly strong in any music that is normally aural in practice—as much southern music, sacred and secular, has been. In any case bluegrass not only preserves these emphases but magnifies them, recalling, perhaps, the exhilaration of the dance or the joy and fervor of church singing; they bestow upon the singer a hortatory energy and upon the music generally a surging quality which, if not unique to bluegrass, is certainly one of its distinguishing marks, an almost conventional practice which the bluegrass musician, if he does not do it instinctively, must take care to learn.
34. Schuller, Early Jazz, pp. 134-74. See also Alan Lomax, Mister Jelly Roll: The Fortunes of Jelly Roll Morton, New Orleans Creole and “Inventor of Jazz” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1956).

37. Former Blue Grass Boy Peter Rowan recalls this in an interview with Doug Benson, “Bill Monroe, King of Bluegrass Music,” Radio McGill interviews, 1966-67, printed in Bluegrass Unlimited 2(June 1968). Rowan also recalls Monroe playing his mandolin to the rhythm of horses’ hooves. In my interview with Monroe at Capitol Center, April 1977, Monroe emphasized the necessity for a musician to know the rhythms of the various ballroom dances, mentioning the waltz, the fox trot, and the rhumba.

(Cantwell: Bluegrass Breakdown, p.113)
     “That's why de banjo rings: because the banjo that rings is the banjo that swings. In fact all the bluegrass instruments—guitar, mandolin, bass, even the fiddle in its way—are played to ring: a fact which when we reflect upon it begins to yield up some of the meaning of bluegrass music.
     “Tapping the springs of human vitality itself, African “syncopation” transformed the hillbilly string band into a dynamic social organism, bursting with attractions and rivalries whose very intensity brings musical ferment towards the point of “perfect equalibrium” that calls down the strange hush of swing and reveals a profound and inviolable human unanimity. The mechanical quality of the old hillbilly string band is gone; in its place is a supple and even glamorous instrument whose power now far exceeds what is necessary for it merely to perform its function, and hence becomes a challenge to the musician who, if he can control it, can make of it a medium of expression. The Model “T” has become the Olds 88: “folk music in overdrive.”
I know this post is way too long but I figured those who are following the thread would be interested. If not, I apologize.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 08:15 AM

Not too long, Mark, and most interesting. Thanks.

Interesting that no one has mentioned Arnold Schultz, the black blues guitarist who was a neighbor and friend of Bill Monroe's who supposedly had a huge influence on Bill's music. Don't know much beyond that he existed.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 11:08 AM

Barbara, I get so excited when you say Arnold Schultz. <g>

I think Schultz was at least as important an influence on Monroe as was his uncle, Pendleton Vandiver. A great deal of what is in bluegrass music is clearly African-American in origin and Monroe himself said he considered himself primarily a blues singer.

Although never recorded, Arnold Schultz has had more influence on American music than most people whose recordings we still have. Not only was Shultz an important influence for Monroe but he was also a key influence in the musical development of Mose Rager, Ike Everly, Merle Travis and Chet Atkins. When you consider the number of composers and musicians influenced by those gentlemen, it's no exageration to say that Schultz's impact is at least as great as, say, Robert Johnston or Jimmie Rodgers.

Maybe Schultz should be in one of the “halls of fame.”

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 11:24 AM

Robert Johnston was evidently a distant cousin of Robert Johnson, the great delta bluesman.

Sorry for the typo.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 11:10 PM

Mark-

Thanks for your Cantwell post.

Another interesting aspect of bluegrass is trading solos, a standard practice among jazz musicians.

There is not only a strong influence from blues (as I mentioned "blues"as a source of bluegrass in my definition) and jazz but earlier from minstrel music. From the 1830's until the early 1900's the syncopated rhythms of minstrel music which were based on (or an imitation of) the music of African Americans paved the way for the development of blues and jazz forms.

There are also many minstrel songs in the bluegrass/ old-time repertoire.

Richie-


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 08 Sep 02 - 03:37 PM

Richie, you're welcome. You talk about mentioning blues in your definition. I hope everyone realized that my definition essentially was your definition. I viewed the definition thing a collaborative exercise so I just took the strawman or “first liar's” definition you posted and tweaked it to add my own slant. I figured someone else would come along and tweak that one in turn.

The fact that it still hasn't included every nuance of what makes music bluegrass or not just reinforces my original contention that we won't ever get to the point of having a complete, all-encompasing definition.

As I think Barbara pointed out, whether music is accepted as bluegrass depends in part on the context in which it's offered. The criteria for the concert stage may be far more restrictive than criteria for a campground session or neighborhood saloon.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Art Thieme
Date: 08 Sep 02 - 11:39 PM

This is my first post to this good thread I believe, and I just want to drop one more name into the mix. This guy is even more of a MISSING LINK to Earl Scruggs style of banjo picking than the more primitive styles of Obray Ramsey and Bascom Lunsford. After a quick perusal of all of the posts in this thread, nowhere could I find any mention whatsoever of this obvious (to me anyhow) influence on Mr. Earl. That individual is SNUFFY JENKINS !!!!!

Any comments?

If I indeed missed mention of him here, I stand chagrined.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 09 Sep 02 - 03:20 AM

No need to stand chagrined, Art. Jenkins was the man. I seem to remember hearing Jenkins with Pappy Sherrill at the UofC Folk Festival a very long time ago. What Jankins played wasn't exactly Scruggs style but it was right up in there.

It seems to me I've read that Monroe first heard Jenkins play when he and Charlie were on tour. I can't put my hands on any academic source for that information right now so the story may be apocryphal.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 09 Sep 02 - 11:23 AM

There is another important component to the definition of bluegrass that has not been mentioned yet, and in many ways it defines the genre today.

Bluegrass is much more than just about music. Bluegrass is really a lifestyle. It's about hundreds of annual music festivals around the U.S. and other countries, about jam sessions in people's living rooms and back yards, internet discussion lists, folksy local newsletters and national magazines like "Bluegrass Unlimited," taking up an instrument as an adult, camping out on a mountainside farm with 10,000 other "pickers," participating in a music for all ages, and bonding with a circle of similar-minded family-oriented "bluegrassers."

Some of the best music of all is the field-picking at the campsites. If you go to a festival, you will find jam sessions everywhere, at all hours around the clock. And you will hear instrumentalists, vocalists and harmony as good as or better than that on stage. Quite often, stage performers join in the field-picking after their show. Bluegrass performers are accessible off-stage, unlike performers of many other kinds of music. They sit at their booths selling recordings and talking to the fans after a performance. Many of them pick all night in the field, unless their bus whisks them off to the next concert stop.

It's a music genres where young, old, and everyone in between are evident and welcome. The old-timers welcome new listeners and pickers, eager to draw youth into the culture of this music they love, to keep the music alive and growing. It's a genre where young people dazzle listeners with flash and energy, while also respecting and learning from the musicianship and traditions of the older musicians. Groups like Nickel Creek and Yonder Mountain String Band perform on the same stage as Ralph Stanley and Del McCoury. Families attend the festivals with babies and grandparents. Teens form their own "sessions" and play music all night, as do their pickin' parents!

Many folks go to listen and eventually end up participating. It's very much a participative sport, and often people are surprised to find themselves taking up one of the traditional bluegrass instruments as an adult. It's the kind of acoustic music where beginners can easily join in, yet virtuosos abound.

Folks who meet at a bluegrass festival become like family. They return each year to meet and greet people from all over the country, and friendships flourish along with the music. We have good friends in all the northeastern states and Canadian Maritime Provinces, people we met camping at bluegrass festivals. It's a joyful reunion each year when we see them again during the summer and share a few days of music. We're like a roving band of musical nomads, forming our little RV cities in a different state each weekend, setting up the grills, tuning up the instruments, renewing the ties that bind us to each other and the music, and finding new friends and new songs.

There are bluegrassers (like us) who take their vacation time in long weekends, hoarding the precious days so they can go to a festival every weekend during the warm months. There are others who plan a vacation around a special, distant festival, such as Jekyll Island New Year's Bluegrass Festival in Georgia or Telluride in June in Colorado.

It's more than just music; it's a lifestyle.

Sorry for being so wordy. I take my bluegrass seriously.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 09 Sep 02 - 12:23 PM

Great thoughts, Barbara. No discussion of genealogy would be complete without looking at the present generation and anticipating future generations.

I rarely make it to the big eastern festivals any more but when I attend the local festivals, it's always to pick with friends, not to see the booked bands. I've actually attended festivals without going to the stage area to hear any band. That's why I said that a definition of bluegrass might depend on the context in which it's being enjoyed. One problem with the campground pickers, though, is that some of the sessions can a little too loose (-Lautrec) for my taste. I try to avoid the groups with too many guitars and no common notion of what being in tune means.

It's hard to understimate the “bluegrass festival lifestyle” when talking about the development of the music since c. 1970. Newcomers may have the impression that early bluegrass was widely populer and is now enjoying an unexpected resurgance; and judging from media attention that seems to be the case. The fact is, though, that bluegrass has steadily increased in popularity pretty much from its inception and that increasing popularity is due in large part to the bluegrass festivals.

It's largely the festival goers who buy the recordings, the magazines, the instruments, the strings, capos, etc. that keep the music alive and growing today. Consider that, for the most part, you can't hear bluegrass on the radio, you can't see it on television, you don't find bluegrass CDs at the big mall music shops, the big concert venues don't feature bluegrass, most local music stores sell pianos and electric guitars, to a large extent, the festivals really are the bluegrass scene. In that context at least, Barbara, you're doing a great deal more to keep the music growing than I. Thanks.

Friends of mine whose sole livelihood comes from bluegrass (yes there are some) have to work every possible angle all the time to maintain a middle class lifestyle. In addition to festivals, they have work every arts council angle, parking lot opening, public school opportunity and teaching venue. Come to think of it, it's a lot like being a professional folksinger. It has to be its own reward.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Art Thieme
Date: 09 Sep 02 - 12:51 PM

Mark, It's always good to cyber-talk with old friends.

I too saw Snuffy Jenkins with Pappy Sherrill back in those times. There was an LP I bought that has disapeared now... In those ol days at the U. of Chicago Folk Fest there was ALWAYS a folklorist or two to put the lineage in perspective for us who were soaking up those festivals and their music like the huge super-sucking pneumatic devices that can clear a barge on the Mississippi River of corn in a few minutes time. Archie Green comes to mind now after all these years. The New Lost City Ramblers, Mike, John Tom and Tracy, besides being great musicians and the original turner-oners of us city kids to Old Timey music, they were also among the ones at those early festivals who could link Roscoe Holcomb's high lonesome sound to Bill Monroe's for us uneducated enthusiasts.

Anyhow, we were told in no uncertain terms by Archie Green or whoever that Earl Scruggs said openly that he had took hold of Snuffy Jenkins' style and ran with it----smoothed it out---made it flow like a jet-propelled waterfall of notes over some high cliff.

Someone else once said that frets on a banjo were nothing but speed bumps. Well, they sure never stopped or even slowed down Mr. Earl Scruggs !!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 09 Sep 02 - 01:14 PM

Just some comments on recent posts:

Barbara- That was very well written post on what "bluegrass" means today. I'd expect to read that in a magazine.

Mark- liked your "too loose (-Lautrec)" pun, only banjo jokes should be allowed!!!

Art- Snuffy Jenkins and others helped develop the "3-Finger Style" which Earl Scruggs perfected. I still think that it's the 3-Finger style that is one of the important distinctions between Old-Time and Bluegrass. If that is the essential element defining bluegrass then it could be argued that Snuffy Jenkins and Obray Ramsey (there's a great article about him I believe in: Banjo Unlimited) were early (pre Monroe) bluegrassers.

Comments on the 3-Finger style anyone?

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Art Thieme
Date: 09 Sep 02 - 01:38 PM

Don Reno was the first to play a banjo breaks with many fewer grace notes and rolls----mostly melody notes one after the other.

This style was refined by Bill Keith-----called "Brad Keith" when he was in Monroe's band because B.M. wouldn't have TWO Bills in his band. He WAS Bill----and that was that. Keith's style allowed him to do fiddle tunes note-for-note on a banjo. It blew us away when Bill Keith's "Sailor's Hornpipe" showed up on an LP of Bill Monroe's band, This was a HUGE innovation----and folks were surprised at the seeming openness of Bill Monroe who was most times seen as a rigid keeper of the bluegrass flame. But a flame will go where the fuel is located.

Art Thieme

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 09 Sep 02 - 02:44 PM

Right, Art, I remember when the Keith style flame swept up all the bluegrass banjo players who could manage the technique, and Keith was doing it at a time when Monroe would put the whole band in a station wagon, tie the bass on top, and drive from Nashville to California for a one night stand. They went through some very hard times with nothing much but desire to live on. Ralph Rinzler with his promotion and scholarship along with Carlton Haney who produced the first bluegrass festival in 1965 really saved Monroe's career and bluegrass music along with it. It took Bill a little while to realize that's what they were doing but he eventually got the idea.

And don't forget Bob Black. Bob is one of the world's foremost fiddle tune banjo players and joined Bill's band at a time in the seventies when Bill was having a hard time finding and keeping really good banjo players. Bob and Bill had a mutual admiration that ended only at Bill's passing.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 09 Sep 02 - 04:07 PM

Barbara's post above included the comment...

...The invention of the phonograph and the onset of the radio in the early 1900s brought this old-time music out of the rural Southern mountains to people all over the United States.

interesting and ironic that while these media helped spread the music to a greater audience, at the same time it had a negative effect. Music collectors that returned to the appalachians found that only 10 years after radio and the gramophone became more common, people were singing less, and forgetting traditional tunes.

(I think it is not unlike the resurgence of Irish Traditional music in Ireland following Michael Colemans recordings in the USA..) While it became more popular, there was some loss of the regional styles as more people wanted to play In Michael COlemans Sligo Style) petr


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 09 Sep 02 - 11:11 PM

Thanks for some of the info about the banjo. The Obray Ramsey article I read was in the Banjo Newsletter.

Mark was speaking about the role of different instruments in a bluegrass group and I was wondering about the development of the guitar as a solo instrument. Do you think Doc Watson was an innovator of flatpick solos? Who are some of the early bluegrass style guitarist?

Also I put my the version my group plays of "Shady Grove" (in two keys simultaneously- G and Em) on my website. We are an amateur group but we have fun playing. Click here I've also started putting some bluegrass and related lyrics on my site. Hope y'all can use them.

I'd like some comments on whether (three-finger style) banjo playing defines old-time and bluegrass.

Richie-


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 10 Sep 02 - 09:05 AM

Richie, thanks for your comment about my post. Maybe I should polish it up and send it in to B.U. although I bet most readers of that magazine already know everything I wrote!

Mark, I really enjoy your eloquently written stories. And I know what you mean about too many guitars. I remember one recent session where there were 5 guitars and a bass. I switched off to fiddle, but the other four just sat there clutching their guitars while their mandolins sat there gathering dust. Do some people LIKE the sound of 5 guitars and a bass?


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 10 Sep 02 - 12:00 PM

Hi Richie, a student of Banjo, I jumped in here when the discussion seems to be at a slow point and I read your comments about early Bluegrass Banjo.

I tried to find as much as I could about picking in the early styles - too old to be trying the fancy Scruggs method - and found that a great deal of popular modernish songs can be done this way.

What I got was the rule that one should not employ 'crosspicking' like I do on Guitar; instead one is supposed keep the thumb on the 5th string most of the time. IOW the thumb can play off beats which it would never ever do in cross picking.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 10 Sep 02 - 12:33 PM

Sorefingers- Would that be three-finger style? Frailing style or Clawhammer style? Mountain style? I've taught banjo for years but I'm not sure what you are playing.

Perhaps this would be a good time to discuss, types of picking and how they are identified. I'll throw out some ideas. These are used for bluegrass and related types of music:

Mountain style: with fingers and sometimes fingerpicks. Picked with thumb playing melody of melodic riffs.

Frailing or Clawhammer style: Melody is played with middle finger (sometimes index) with thumb providing rhythm and hitting the 5th string.

Three Finger style: Scruggs style

Melodic Three Finger style: Scruggs style using cross-string scales and scales (for fast melodies like fiddle tunes) instead of arpeggios.

No one has established on this thread whether the type of banjo playing indicates birth of bluegrass music. Here's to Rick's early post. Do we agree with this?

Rick Fielding; "if you believe (as I do) that what "we" call Bluegrass started that day that Earl Scruggs joined Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Chubby Wise, and Cedric Rainwater on the stage of the "Opry", you have to deal with the origins of 3 finger banjo."


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Sep 02 - 01:51 PM

POINT 1) And Doc Watson and Ralph Stanley doing theirs with two fingers !!

POINT 2) Bill Keith may have refined what early New York frvival picker (horror of horrors) BILLY FAIER started with his LP called THE ART OF THE FIVE STRING BANJO on Riverside Records. "Devil's Dream" and maybe "Sailor's Hornpipe" were on that one. They and other ethnic tunes (not yet called "World Music") were included on that terribly influential yet usually overlooked album.
And then Bill Keith joined Jim Kweskin's jug band---doing things like John Hurt's "Richland Woman Blues" on a muted 5-string banjo so it would pass as a guitar to some.

Ah, what a tangled web we weave...

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 10 Sep 02 - 03:58 PM

I mean a steel pick attached to each of the Index and Middle finger ends as well a plastic on the thumb, I mean picking the same way as Guitar picking but NOT crossing the thumb which one MUST do in order to play Bluegrass as I see it - errr tabbed that is, since I cannot do it at all.

My tunes includes Cripple Creek but my thumb never leaves the (little) 5th string :0)


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 10 Sep 02 - 11:02 PM

I think it was Ralph Stanley's guitar player (whose name escapes me) who is credited with developing the cross picking guitar style.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 11 Sep 02 - 09:50 AM

The cross-picking guitar innovator with the Stanley Brothers was George Shuffler, who also plays bass.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Art Thieme
Date: 11 Sep 02 - 11:20 AM

Who came first----Sheffler on guitar or Jesse McReynolds (Jim & Jesse) doin' crosspicking on mandolin?

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 11 Sep 02 - 12:34 PM

Thanks, Barbara. These threads always bring to mind a lot of things I haven't thought of for a while.

I remember Rick saying, in another thread, that Shuffler and Bill Napier disagreed over which of them first crosspicked on a Stanley Brother recording.

Art, I found some material on Billy Faier on Kingston Trio-related site. There are other sites as well but I didn't find anything discussing his technique for playing fiddle tunes. What was the effect of his technique on those tunes?

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Art Thieme
Date: 11 Sep 02 - 02:11 PM

Mark,

It was pretty much a cross between the classical banjo (with gut strings) from the earlier last century and what Pete Seeger did in Goofing Off Suite plus a rythmic feel that those tunes have naturally from the Celtic tradition from which they sprang. Note for note--like Keith but without a band and the heavy drive that a band might impart. Keith really made it very impressive I've always thought. But I hated to see the Scruggs-tuners go in favor of those strange Keith-tuners. ;-)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 11:39 AM

Mark,

I met Bob Black in Iowa City (or Stone City) back in the 70s I think. He was great then. I think it was the night Keith Dempster's farm burnt down so he couldn't put me up. In Illinois for some reason we've not kept up on Iowa Bob's doings. What records might you recommend to someone in these latter times?

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 14 Sep 02 - 01:59 PM

Ah yes, Kieth Dempster's farm. Kieth is the owner of a popular restaurant and folk club in Iowa City. Kieth still provides a venue for all kinds of well known musicians who are passing through the area.

Bob and his wife Kristie play all over and have just released their own CD, Iowa Songscape. Bob also plays as a member of other groups and has toured as a member of many popular bands including Rhonda Vincent.

For detailed information on Bob & Kristie Black click the link and check out their Web site. Bob has appeared on more than twenty different albums either as a featured performer or as a sideman. He recorded with Monroe in the seventies as a Blue Grass Boy and recorded his first solo album, Ladies on the Steamboat. Recordings can be ordered through his Web site or through commercial channels including Camsco and Sandy Paton.

The Banjoy Web site also features tablature for the five-string banjo that Bob has personally prepared. Banjo players should find this a growing resource.

Here are a few links to MP3 files Bob & Kristie have on their site. There are more tracks there but these are just a few I thought might be interesting to folks in this thread.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 15 Sep 02 - 12:46 PM

I've been reading Kinney Rorrer's book- Rambling Blues: The Life and Songs of Charlie Poole. Here's a quote about three-finger banjo which Charlie played:

"Poole's three-finger roll had now evolved to a higher level pointing to the development of of bluegrass music, with its fast twin fiddle breaks and banjo breaks. The fact that Poole was playing the melody rather than his usual ragged back-up made these performances the most revolutionary yet."

Rorrer is referring to Poole's May 1929 sessions for Columbia.

It appears Poole had been influenced by the "classical style" banjo players of the late 1800's and early 1900's.

Could this mean that Charlie Poole is in fact an originator of bluegrass music? This would assume that the three-finger style is a partial definition of bluegrass music as it would be named during the Monroe/Scruggs era.

What do you think?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: TinDor
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 10:05 AM

Interesting thread. The geneology of Bluegrass is basically...

West African syncopation/Banjo & Banjo Frailing styles meets Anglo-Celtic derived fiddling = Old Time Music

Old Time Music is the precursor to Bluegrass. Bluegrass instrumentally speaking is just Jazzed up Old Time music. You can Bebop-like phrasing (whereas Bob Wills used Swing Jazz in his "WEstern Swing" style) in Bluegrass and should also mention there is a Ragtime element in the Scruggs Banjo style. I remember reading that if you slow down the Scruggs style it sounds along the lines of a Joplin rag.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Janie
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 10:41 AM

What a great discussion. Thanks, TinDor for refreshing this thread. It's a gem.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 11:46 AM

yes,to my understanding Charlie was an originator of bluegass music.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Amos
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 06:03 PM

An avid banjo friend of mine has the following collection which shows the timeline as far as recordings goes pretty well. Notice how few the recordings were before 1955, and how explosive in number between 1962-1976.

> A Texas Jam Session
> Al Jones , Frank Necessary and The Spruce Mountain Boys - (1976) - Self
> Titled
> Al Wood & The Smokey Ridge Boys - (1973) - Sing A Bluegrass Song
> Al Wood & The Smokey Ridge Boys - (1982) - Kentucky Country Home
> Alan Munde - (1976) - Poor Richard's Almanac
> Alan Munde - (1980) - Banjo Kid Picks Again
> Allen Shelton - (1977) - Original Banjo Man
> Allen Shelton - (1985) - 5 String Dobro & Banjo
> Bailey Brothers, The - (1980) - Just As The Sun Went Down
> Banjo Dan & The Mid-Nite Plowboys - (1977) - High Tme
> Barrier Brothers, The - (1962) - Golden Bluegrass Hits
> Barrier Brothers, The - (1962) - More Golden Bluegrass Hits
> Bass Mountain Boys, The - (1990) - A Beautiful Life
> Bass Mountain Boys, The - (1991) - with Chubby Wise - Fiddlin' With Tradition
> Bass Mountain Boys, The - (1992) - Carolina Calling Me
> Bass Mountain Boys, The - (1994) - Love Of A Woman
> Benny Martin - (1975) - Tennessee Jubilee
> Benny Martin - (1977) - Turkey In The Grass
> Big Timber Bluegrass - (1981) - Country Convoy
> Big Timber Bluegrass - (1981) - Fiddle And The Five
> Bill Blaylock - (1973) - Don't Cry - New Bluegrass For All The People
> Bill Clifton - (1957-1958) - & The Dixie Mountain Boys - Blue Ridge Mountain
> Blues
> Bill Clifton - (1959) - Mountain Folk Songs (Starday SLP 111)
> Bill Clifton - (1962) - & His Dixie Mountain Boys - The Bluegrass Sound Of
> Bill Clifton
> Bill Clifton - (1964) - Code Of The Mountain (Starday SLP 271)
> Bill Clifton - (1975) - Come By The Hills
> Bill Clifton - (1977) - Clifton And Company
> Bill Duncan - (1961) - & The Harmony Mountain Boys - A Scene Near My Country
> Home (King 825)
> Bill Emerson - (1964) - Banjo Pickin' N' Hot Fiddlin' Vol 2
> Bill Emerson - (1968) - & Cliff Waldron - New Shades Of Grass
> Bill Emerson - (1991) - Reunion (Webco WEB-CD 0140)
> Bill Emerson And Cliff Waldron - (1970) - Bluegrass Country
> Bill Harrell - (1963) - & The Virginians - The Wonderful World Of Bluegrass
> Music
> Bill Keith & Jim Collier - (1979) - Bill Keith & Jim Collier
> Bill Keith & Jim Rooney - (1962-09-02) - Chilmark Concert, Martha's Vineyard,
> MA
> Bill Keith & Jim Rooney - (1962-xx-xx) - WHRB Tom Rush's Balladeers Show,
> Cambridge, MA
> Bill Keith & Jim Rooney - (1963) - Livin' On The Mountain
> Bill Keith - (1984) - Banjoistics
> Bill Keith - Something Auld, Something Newgrass, Something Borrowed, Something
> Bluegrass
> Bill Knopf - (1977) - Bill Knopf On Banjo
> Bill Lowe - (1977) - Kentucky Farewell
> Bill Monroe & Charlie Monroe - (1969) - Bill Monroe & Charlie Monroe
> Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys - (1976) - The Weary Traveler (MCA MCA 2173)
> Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys - (1957) - Knee Deep In Bluegrass
> Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys - (1960) - Mr. Blue Grass
> Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys - (1964) - Bill Monroe's Best
> Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys - (1964) - I'll Meet You In Church Sunday
> Morning
> Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys - (1964) - Sings Country Songs
> Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys - (1965) - The Original Bluegrass Sound
> Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys - (1967) - Bill Monroe's Uncle Pen
> Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys - (1970) - Kentucky Blue Grass
> Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys - (1972) - Bill Monroe's Uncle Pen
> Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys - (1988) - Southern Flavor
> Bill Monroe - (1977) - Bluegrass Memories
> Bill Monroe - (1950-1969) - The Country Music Hall Of Fame
> Bill Monroe - (1958) - I Saw The Light
> Bill Monroe - (1961) - & His Blue Grass Boys - Bluegrass Ramble
> Bill Monroe - (1961) - The Great Bill Monroe
> Bill Monroe - (1976-05-04) - Live Radio, Nuggets Studio, Nashville, TN
> Bill Monroe - (1985) - Bill Monroe & Stars Of The Bluegrass Hall Of Fame
> Billy Perry - (1976) - Bluegrass Jam
> Bill_Monroe_1936 - 1994
> Black Diamond Bluegrass Band, The - (1983) - Secret Of The Waterfall
> Blaine Sprouse - (1979) - Blaine Sprouse
> Blaine Sprouse - (1981) - Summertime
> Blom Brothers, The - (1978) - Blom Brothers, The With the Bluegrass Swedes
> Blue Denim - (1976) - Volume 2
> Blue Highway - Through The Window Of A Train - 2007
> Blue Ridge Partners, The - (1978) - The Blue Ridge Partners
> Blue Ridge Partners, The - (1981) - How Would You Like Being Lonesome
> Bluegrass 45 - (1971) - Bluegrass 45
> Bluegrass 45 - (1971) - Caravan
> Bluegrass 45 - (1973) - In The Morning
> Bluegrass Album Band, The - (1981-10-25) - Great American Music Hall, San
> Francisco, CA
> Bluegrass Album Band, The - (1989-12-26) - The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA
> Bluegrass Blend - (1979) - Ramblin' Fever
> Bluegrass Cardinals, The - (1977) - Welcome To Virginia
> Bluegrass Cardinals, The - (1978) - Livin' In The Good Old Days
> Bluegrass Cardinals, The - (1979) - Cardinal Soul
> Bluegrass Cardinals, The - (1980) - Live & On Stage, With Special Guests
> Bluegrass Cardinals, The - (1983) - Cardinal Class
> Bluegrass Cardinals, The - (1984) - Home Is Where The Heart Is
> Bluegrass Cats, The - (1973) - On Camera
> Bluegrass Gentlemen, The - (1962) - The Bluegrass Gentlemen
> Bluegrass Hillbillies, The - (1963) - Pickin' n' Grinnin'
> Bluegrass Kun-Tree, The - (1981) - Stretching Out
> Bluegrass Meditations, The - (1982) - Precious Memories
> Bluegrass Playboys, The - (1963) - World Of Bluegrass
> Bluegrass Tarheels, The - (1972) - Tarheel Country
> Bob Ensign & The Stump Jumpers - (1967) - Pickin' Grinnin' 'N' Sigin'
> Bob Johnson & The Lonesome Travelers - (1962) - 12 Shades Of Bluegrass
> Bobby Atkins & The Countrymen - (1977) - A Tribute To Charlie Monroe
> Bobby Atkins & The Countrymen - (1987) - Songs For Mama
> Bobby Atkins, Frank Poindexter And Tony Rice - (1968) - 68 Session
> Bobby Smith & Josh Graves - (1976) - Meetin' At The Crossroads
> Boot Hill - (1977) - Steel Rails
> Boys From Indiana, The - (1974) - Atlanta Is Burning
> Boys From Indiana, The - (1975) - Bluegrass Music Is Out Of Sight
> Boys From Indiana, The - (1976) - One More Bluegrass Show
> Boys From Indiana, The - (1977) - Memories And Dreams
> Boys From Indiana, The - (1981) - Show Me My Home
> Boys From Indiana, The - (1981) - The Best Of
> Brother Oswald & Charlie Collins - (1976) - Oz And Charlie
> Brother Oswald - (1972) - Brother Oswald
> Brothers N' Bluegrass, The - (1980) - Red Hot Bluegrass
> Buck Owens - (1971) - Ruby & Other Bluegrass Specials
> Buck Ryan & Smitty Irvin - (1965) - Ballads And Bluegrass
> Buck Ryan - (1976) - Draggin' The Bow
> Buck's Stove And Range Company - (1979) - North On The Highway
> Butch Robins - (1978) - Fragments Of My Imagicnation
> Butch Robins - (1980) - The Fifth Child
> Buzz Busby & Leon Morris - (1974) - Honkytonk Bluegrass
> Buzz Busby - (1981) - A Pioneer Of Traditional Bluegrass
> Buzz Busby - The Bluegrass Sounds of Buzz Busby, Yesterday and Today
> Byron Berline, Sam Bush, & Mark O'Connor - (1976) - In Concert
> Carl Jackson - (1971) - Bluegrass Festival
> Carl Jackson - (1973) - Banjo Player
> Carl Jackson - (1980) - Banjo Man, A Tribute To Earl Scruggs
> Carl Jackson - (1982) - Song Of The South
> Carl Story & the Brewster Brothers - (1967) - Sing The Gospel Songs You Ask
> For
> Carl Story - (1963) - Mighty Close To Heaven
> Carl Story - (1965) - & His Rambling Mountaineers - Sacred Songs Of Life & The
> Hereafter
> Carl Story - (1969) - Light At The River
> Carroll Best String Band, The - (1982) - Pure Mountain Melodys
> Carroll County Ramblers, The - (1973) - Down To The Nitty Gritty
> Charlie Cline - (1976) - More Dobro
> Charlie Monroe & His Kentucky Partners - (1946-1951) - Charlie Monroe & His
> Kentucky Partners
> Charlie Moore & His Dixie Partners - (1972) - Gospel Time
> Charlie Moore - (1963) - & Bill Napier - Folk 'n Hill
> Charlie Moore - (1966) - & Bill Napier - Lonesome Truck Drivers
> Charlie Moore - (1972) - & The Dixie Partners - Sings Good Bluegrass
> Charlie Moore - (1972) - The Original Rebel Soldier
> Charlie Moore - (1973) - & The Dixie Partners - A Tribute To Clyde Moody
> Charlie Moore - (1975) - & Bill Napier - Collectors Edition
> Chick Corea and Bela Fleck - (2007) - The Enchantment
> Chubby Anthony & Big Timber - (1979) - Love And Life
> Chubby Anthony & Big Timber - (1980) - The Best Of Bluegrass - Big Timber
> Bluegrass
> Clearwater - (1975) - Willow Of Time
> Cliff Carlisle - Cliff Carlisle Volume 1
> Cliff Carlisle - Cliff Carlisle Volume 2
> Cliff Waldron & The New Shades Of Grass - One More Step - LP Rebel
> Cliff Waldron & The New Shades Of Grass - Rebel SLP 1539 (1974)
> Cliff Waldron - (1970) - & The New Shades Of Grass - Right On
> Cliff Waldron - (1971) - & The New Shades Of Grass - Traveling Light
> Cliff Waldron - (1972) - & The New Shades Of Grass - One More Mile
> Cliff Waldron - (1973) - Bluegrass Time
> Cliff Waldron - (1976) - Gospel
> Cliff Waldron - (1978) - God Walks The Dark Hills
> Clinton King & The Virginia Mountaineers - (1976) - Blue Ridge Bluegrass
> Clyde Bowling & The Southern Bluegrass - (1986) - Butcher Hollow Boy
> Connie & Babe And The Backwoods Boys - (1952-1960) - Early Days Of Bluegrass
> Vol. 10
> Connie & Babe And The Backwoods Boys - (1973) - Basic Bluegrass
> Connie & Babe And The Backwoods Boys - (1975) - Backwoods Bluegrass
> Country Cooking With The Fiction Brothers - (1975) - Country Cooking With The
> Fiction Brothers
> Country Cut-Ups, The - (1967) - Go To College
> Country Gazette Don't Give Up Your Day Job
> Country Gazette - Traitor In Our Midst
> Country Gentlemen, The - (1962) - Bluegrass At Carnegie Hall
> Country Gentlemen, The - (1963) - Bluegrass Country (aka Bluegrass Hootenanny)
> Country Gentlemen, The - (1963) - Folk Session Inside
> Country Gentlemen, The - (1963-11-26) - The Shamrock, Washington, D.C
> Country Gentlemen, The - (1965) - Songs of the Pioneers
> Country Gentlemen, The - (1966) - Bringing Mary Home
> Country Gentlemen, The - (1966) - The Traveler & Other Favorites
> Country Gentlemen, The - (1966-09-xx) - Live from The Stage Of The Roanoke
> Bluegrass Festival
> Country Gentlemen, The - (1969) - New Look New Sound
> Country Gentlemen, The - (1969) - Play It Like It Is
> Country Gentlemen- On The Road (and More)_256kbps
> Country Gentlemen_Sugar Hill Collection_320kbps
> Country Grass, The - (1974) - Livin' Free
> Country Ham - (1977) - Country Ham (Vetco LP 512)
> Country Ham - (1979) - Where The Mountain Laurel Blooms (Vetco LP 515)
> Country Ham - (1980) - My Old Paint Mare (Vetco LP 517)
> Country Ham - (1980) - The Old Country Church (Vetco LP 519)
> Coup De Grass - (1977) - Rhythm and Bluegrass
> Crowe Brothers, The & Raymond Fairchild - (1981) - Sing 'Always True'
> Crowe Brothers, The - I Knew It Wasn't You (The Telephone Song)
> Curly Ray Cline - (1969) - The Old Kentucky Fox Hunter & His Lonesome Pine
> Fiddle
> Curly Ray Cline - (1972) - My Little Home In West Virginia
> Curly Seckler - (1971) - Sings Again
> Curly Seckler - (1979) - No Doubt About It
> Curly Seckler - (1980) - & The Nashville Grass - Take A Little Time
> Dan Crary
> Dan Crary - (1979) - Sweet Southern Girl
> Dan Huckabee - (1976) - Why Is This Man Smiling
> Dan Huckabee - (1980) - Acoustic Steel
> Darby & Tarlton - Jimmy Tarlton & Tom Darby
> Dave Evans & River Bend - (1979) - Dave Evans & River Bend
> Dave Evans & River Bend - (1980) - Call Me Long Gone
> Dave Evans - (1983) - Poor Rambler
> Dave Grisman - (2000) - The Pizza Tapes
> Dave Vernon & The Dixie Rebels - (1984) - Dixieland For Me
> Dave Woolum & The Laurel County Partners - (196-) - The Greatest Reunion Of
> All
> Dave Woolum & The Laurel County Partners - (1968) - The Greatest Reunion Of
> All
> Dave Woolum & The Laurel County Partners - (1978) - Done Gone & Done It
> Dee Gunter - Dee Gunter
> Del McCoury - (1968) - Sings Bluegrass
> Del McCoury - (1971) - Collector's Special
> Del McCoury - Moneyland (2008)_175k
> Denis LePage & Station Road - (1979) - Denis LePage & Station Road
> Dillards, The - Back Porch Bluegrass
> Dillards, The - Import - Back Porch Bluegrass
> Dillards, The - (1963-11-11) - The Mecca, Buena Park, CA
> Dillards, The - (1979) - Mountain Rock
> Dillards, The - (1980) - Homecoming And Family Reunion
> Dillards, The - Live, Almost
> Dixie Gentlemen, The & Tut Tailor - (1966) - Blues And Bluegrass
> Dixie Gentlemen, The - (1963) - Country Style Of The Dixie Gentlemen
> Don Reno, Bill Harrell & The Tennessee Cut-Ups - (1967) - Bluegrass Favorites
> (Jalyn JLP 108)
> Don Reno & Bill Harrell - (1976) & The Tennessee Cut-Ups - The Don Reno Story
> Don Reno & Bill Harrell & The Tennessee Cut-Ups - (1967) - Yellow Pages (Derby
> Town SR 101)
> Don Reno & Red Smiley - (1952-1956) - Emotions
> Don Reno & Red Smiley - (1954-1956) - Good Old Country Ballads
> Don Reno & Red Smiley - (1957) - Bluegrass Hits
> Don Reno & Red Smiley - (1962) - The True Meaning Of Christmas
> Don Reno & Red Smiley - (1971) - Letter Edged In Black
> Don Reno - (1970) - Don Reno (Sardis 5012)
> Don Reno - (1965) - Mr 'Five String' Don Reno & His Tennessee Cutups Play
> Bluegrass
> Don Reno - (1988) - Family & Friends
> Don Reno and Benny Martin - (1967) - Bluegrass Gospel Favorites
> Doug Dillard & Byron Berline - (1970-1971) - Practice Sessions
> Doug Green - (1972) - Liza Jane & Sally Anne
> Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver - (1979-05-19) - The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA
> Doyle Lawson - (1977) - Tennessee Dreams
> Doyle Lawson - 2009 - Lonely Street
> Dr. Corns Bluegrass Remedy - (1974) - It'll Tickle Your Innards
> Dry Branch Fire Squad, The - (1977) - Born To Be Lonesome
> Dry Branch Fire Squad, The - (1977) - Spiritual Songs From Dry Branch
> Dudley Hill - (1976) - From A Northern Family
> Earl Heywood
> Earl Scruggs & The Earl Scruggs Revue - (1972) - I Saw The Light With Some
> Help From My Friends
> Earl Scruggs Revue
> Earl Scruggs Revue - 2005 - Anniversary Special Vol 2
> Earl Scruggs Revue, The - (1972) - Live At Kansas State
> Earl Scruggs Revue, The - (1974) - Rockin' Cross The Country
> Earl Scruggs Top Of The World
> Earl Taylor & Jim McCall with The Stoney Mountain Boys - (1967) - 20 Bluegrass
> Favorites
> Earl Taylor & The Stoney Mountain Boys - (1969) - The Bluegrass Touch
> Earl Taylor And His Blue Grass Mountaineers - (1965) - Blue Grass Taylor-Made
> Earl Taylor And His Stoney Mountain Boys - (1959) - Folk Songs From The Blue
> Grass
> East Virginia - (1977) - Sing Of Witches And Whippoorwills
> East Virginia - (1978) - The Winds Of East Virginia
> East Virginia - (1979) - New Sounds, New Seasons
> East Virginia - (1980) - Pathways Of Tradition
> Ed Hamilton & Bluegrass - (1978) - Letter To Mama
> Eddie Adcock & Don Reno - (1968) - Sensational Twin Banjos (Rebel SLP 1482)
> Eddie Shelton - (1976) - Expedition
> Eric Weissberg & Marshall Brickman - (1963) - New Dimensions In Banjo &
> Bluegrass
> Ernest V. Stoneman - (1927-1928) - Ernest V. Stoneman & His Dixie Mountaineers
> Estil C. Ball - Sounds Of The South (Compilation)
> Fiction Brothers, The - (1979) - Things Are Coming My Way
> Folk Banjo Styles - 1962 vinyl
> Foot Hill Boys - (1972) - Bluegrass In The Carolina Mountains mp3
> Frank Necessary & The Wheeling Grass - (1980) - Wheeling
> Frank Wakefield - (1972) - Frank Wakefield
> Garland Shuping And Wild Country - (1976) - Garlend Shuping And Wild Country
> Gene Parker - (1980) - Struttin' To Ferrum
> Geoff Stelling's Hard Times Bluegrass Band - (1978) - Hard Driving
> Gilbert Caranhac & Bluegrass Connection - Dobro Instrumentals
> Goins Brothers, The - (1975) - The Goins Brothers
> Goins Brothers, The - (1980) - Wandering Soul
> Green Valley Ramblers, The - (1974) - Bluegrass Dawn
> Greenbriar Boys, The - (1962-07-30) - Nathan's Restaurant, Oceanside, NY
> Greg Cahill - (1980) - Lone Star
> Hal Wylie, Roger Sprung & The Progressive Bluegrassers - (197) - Bluegrass
> Gold Vol 2
> Hal Wylie, Roger Sprung & The Progressive Bluegrassers - (197x) - Pickin On
> The Sunny Side
> Hayseed Dixie (2009) - A Golden Shower Of Hits
> HAYSEED DIXIE - A Hillbilly Tribute To Mountain Love-2002
> HAYSEED DIXIE - A Hot Piece Of Grass-2005
> Hayseed Dixie - hiddinx
> Hayseed Dixie - Let There Be Rockgrass
> HAYSEED DIXIE- Weapons Of Grass Destruction-2007
> Heights of Grass - (1978) - Louisiana Saturday Night
> Heights of Grass - (1982) - Live At The Flatrock
> Herb Smoke - (1973) - Mountain Fiddler
> Hocking Valley Boys, The - (1978) - At It Again
> Homer & The Barnstormers - (1963) - Bluegrass Banjos On Fire
> Hotmud Family, The - (1974) - Stone Mountain Wobble
> Hotmud Family, The - (1978) - Years In The Making (Vetco LP 513)
> Hotmud Family, The - (1979) - LIVE, As We Know It (Flying Fish FF 087)
> Howard Yearwood - (1979) - Saddleback
> Hubert Davis & The Season Travelers - (1976) - It's Bluegrass Time Again
> IIIrd Tyme Out
> IIIrd Tyme Out - 2004 - The Best Durn Ride
> IIIrd_Tyme-Out - Erase The Miles
> IIIrd_Tyme_Out (2008) - Footprints
> IIIrd_Tyme_Out - Across The Miles
> IIIrd_Tyme_Out - Back to the MAC
> IIIrd_Tyme_Out - Grandpa's Mandolin
> IIIrd_Tyme_Out - Letter to Home
> IIIrd_Tyme_Out - Living on the Other Side
> IIIrd_Tyme_Out - Puttin' New Roots Down
> IIIrd_Tyme_Out - Round III at the Mac
> IIIrd_Tyme_Out_Russle_Moore
> J. D. Crowe & The New South - (1979-04-18) - Kosei Nenkin Sho Hall, Tokyo,
> Japan
> J. D. Crowe - (1971) - & The Kentucky Mountain Boys - Ramblin' Boy
> J. D. Crowe - (1973) - & The Kentucky Mountain Boys - Bluegrass Holiday
> J. D. Crowe - (1973) - & The New South - Bluegrass Evolution
> J. D. Crowe - (1975) - & The New South - Holiday In Japan
> J.E. Mainer & His Mountaineers - More Old Time Mountain Music
> Jake Landers & Tom McKinney - (1971) - Present Original Songs And New Banjo
> Sounds Of The 70's
> Jim & Jesse - (1962) - & The Virginia Boys - WBAM Radio Shows
> Jim & Jesse - (1963) - Bluegrass Classics
> Jim & Jesse - (1963) - Bluegrass Special
> Jim & Jesse - (1964) - The Old Country Church
> Jim & Jesse - (1965) - & The Virginia Boys - Berry Pickin' in the Country
> Jim & Jesse - (1972) - Mandolin Workshop
> Jim & Jesse - (1975) - and the Virginia Boys - Live in Japan
> Jim & Jesse - (1975) - Jesus Is The Key To The Kingdom
> Jim & Jesse - (1976) - Songs About Our Country
> Jim & Jesse - (1980) - Presents Jesse's Guitar Pickin' Showcase
> Jim & Jesse And The Virginia Boys - (1968) - All-time Great Country
> Instrumentals
> Jimmy Arnold - (1974) - Strictly Arnold
> Jimmy Arnold - (1977) - Guitar
> Jimmy Arnold - (1982) - Rainbow Ride
> Jimmy Gaudreau - (1974) - Country Store
> Jimmy Gaudreau - (1978) - The Gaudreau Mandolin Album
> Jimmy Martin - (1960) - & The Sunny Mountain Boys - Good 'N Country
> Jimmy Martin - (1962) - & His Sunny Mountain Boys - Country Music Time
> Jimmy Martin - (1964) - & The Sunny Mountain Boys - Sing Widow Maker
> Jimmy Martin - (1965) - & The Sunny Mountain Boys - Sunny Side Of The Mountain
> Jimmy Martin - (1967) - & His Sunny Mountain Boys - Big And Country
> Instrumentals
> Jimmy Martin - (1968) - & The Sunny Mountain Boys - Tennessee
> Jimmy Martin - (1969) - & The Sunny Mountain Boys - Free Born Man
> Jimmy Martin - (1972) - & The Sunny Mountain Boys - I'd Like To Be Sixteen
> Again
> Jimmy Martin - (1974) - & The Sunny Mountain Boys - Fly Me To Frisco
> Jimmy Martin - (1978) - Greatest Bluegrass Hits
> Joe Stuart - (1975) - Sittin' On Top Of The World
> Joe Val & The New England Bluegrass Boys - (1975) - Joe Val & The New England
> Bluegrass Boys
> Joe Val & The New England Bluegrass Boys - (1978) - Bound To Ride
> Joe Val & The New England Bluegrass Boys - (1981) - Sparkling Brown Eyes
> Joe Val & The New England Bluegrass Boys - (1983) - Cold Wind
> John cowan - Always Take Me Back
> John Cowan - John Cowan
> John Cowan - New Tattoo
> John Farley - (1978) - Flat Top Guitar
> John Fogerty (1973) - The Blue Ridge Rangers
> John Hartford - Aereo-Plain (1971)
> John Hartford - Morning Bugle (1972)
> John Hartford - Nobody Knows What You Do (1976)
> John Hartford - Radio John (1971)
> Jones Brothers, The - (1981) - & The Log Cabin Boys - Lester
> Kenny Baker and Joe Greene - (1967) - High Country (County 714)
> Kenny Baker - (1968) - Portrait Of A Bluegrass Fiddler
> Kenny Baker - (1970) - Baker's Dozen
> Kenny Baker - (1972) - & Josh Graves - Something Different
> Kenny Baker - (1972) - Kenny Baker Country
> Kenny Baker - (1973) - & Josh Graves - Bucktime!
> Kenny Baker - (1973) - Dry & Dusty
> Kenny Baker - (1974) - Grassy Fiddle Blues (County 750)
> Kenny Baker - (1979) - Farmyard Swing (County 775)
> Kenny Baker - (1984) - Highlights
> Kentucky Gentlemen, The - (1977) - Kentucky Heritage
> Kentucky Mountain Boys - Best Of Blue Grass Favorites
> Knoxville Grass - (1977) - Knoxville Grass
> Knoxville Grass - (1978) - Darby's Castle
> Knoxville Grass - (1979) - Evolution
> Knoxville Grass - (1981) - Painted Lady
> Larry McNeely - Rhapsody for Banjo
> Larry Rice - (1975) - Mr Poverty
> Larry Richardson And Happy Smith - (1957-08-04) - Warren Green Hotel,
> Warrenton, Va
> Larry Richardson, Red Barker & the Blue Ridge Boys - (1965) - Blue Ridge
> Bluegrass
> Leon Morris & Associates - (1979) - Places And Friends I Once Knew
> Leroy Mack - (1978) - Houndog Ramble
> Leslie Keith - (1974) - Black Mountain Blues
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs & The Foggy Mountain Boys - (1961-12-03) - Mount
> Vernon, VA
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - (1961-04-07) - Iron City, TN
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - (1957) - Foggy Mountain Jamboree
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - (1961) - Foggy Mountain Banjo
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - (1962) - Folk Songs Of Our Land
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - (1963) - Hard Travelin'
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - (1967) - Hear The Whistles Blow
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - (1967) - Sacred Songs
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - (1968) - Story of Bonnie and Clyde
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - A Boy Named Sue - LP Columbia C 33244
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - Earl Scruggs- His Family and Friends-Nashville
> Airplane
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - Greatest Hits - LP Columbia CS 9370
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - The Complete Mercury Sessions
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - The Versatile - CL 2354
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs 1
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs 2
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs 3
> Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs 4
> Lester Flatt & Mac Wiseman - (1971) - Lester 'N' Mac
> Lester Flatt - (1971) - Lester Flatt On Victor
> Lester Flatt - (1972) - & Mac Wiseman - On the South Bound
> Lester Flatt - (1972) - Kentucky Ridgerunner
> Lester Flatt - (1973) - & Mac Wiseman - Over The Hill To The Poorhouse
> Lester Flatt - (1974) - Before You Go
> Lilly Brothers, The - (1964) - Bluegrass Breakdown
> Lilly Brothers, The - (1964) - Country Songs (Vinyl)
> list.txt
> Little Roy Lewis - (1972) - Gospel Banjo
> Little Roy Lewis - (1977) - Entertainer
> Little Roy Lewis - (1981) - Super Pickin'
> Little Roy Lewis - (1984) - The Heart Of Dixie
> Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, The - (1961) - 14 Mountain Songs Featuring 5-String
> Banjo
> Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, The - (1974) - The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers
> Lookout Mountain Boys, The - (1959) - Ride to the Moon
> Lookout Mountain Boys, The - (1972) - Lookout Mountain Grass
> Lost & Found, The - (197-) - The First Time Around
> Lost & Found, The - (1976) - The Second Time Around
> Lost & Found, The - (1978) - Third Time Around
> Lost and Found, The - (1982) - Endless Highway
> Lou Reid & Carolina
> Lou Reid & Carolina - (2005) Time
> Lou Reid & Carolina - Blue Heartache
> Lou Reid & Carolina - Carolina, I'm Coming Home
> Lou Reid - Terry Baucom & Carolina - Carolina Blue
> Lou Reid - Terry Baucom & Carolina -Carolina Moon
> Lou Reid - When It Rains
> Lowell Varney - (1972) - Banjo Pickin' Boy From West Virginia
> Lowell Varney - (1973) - & The West Virginia Boys - Goin' Back To West
> Virginia
> Lowell Varney - (1974) - Instrumental Sounds Of The Banjo Pickin' Boy From
> West Virginia
> Mac Wiseman - (1962) - Bluegrass Favorites
> Mac Wiseman - (1966) - Bluegrass
> Mail Pouch Express - (1979) - Timepiece
> Mark O'Connor - (1975) - National Junior Fiddle Champion
> Mark O'Connor - (1975) - Pickin' In The Wind (Vinyl)
> McPeak Brothers, The - (1977) - The McPeak Brothers
> McPeak Brothers, The - (1978) - Bend In The River
> McPeak Brothers, The - (1983) - Makin' Tracks
> Mountain Grass - (1978) - West Virginia My Home
> Muleskinner Live -- Original Television Soundtrack
> Nashville Grass w Lester Flatt - (1979) - Fantastic Pickin'
> Neophonic String Band - (1977) - Neophonic String Band
> New Deal String Band - (1966) - Down In The Willow
> New Tradition, The - (1973) - New Tradition Live
> New_Grass_Revival
> New_Lost_City_Ramblers_The - Disc 1
> New_Lost_City_Ramblers_The - Disc 2
> Osborne Brothers 1956-1968 Bear Family Vol 1
> Osborne Brothers 1956-1968 Bear Family Vol 2
> Osborne Brothers 1956-1968 Bear Family Vol 3
> Osborne Brothers 1956-1968 Bear Family Vol 4
> Osborne Brothers, The - (1956-1958) - and Red Allen
> Osborne Brothers, The - (1963) - Cuttin' Grass Osborne Brothers Style (MGM SE
> 4149)
> Osborne Brothers, The - (1965) - Voices In Bluegrass
> Osborne Brothers, The - (1968) - Yesterday, Today & The Osborne Brothers (DL
> 74993)
> Osborne Brothers, The - (1970) - Ru-Beeeee
> Oscar Brand - The Drinking Man's Songbook
> Pat Burton - (1974) - We've Been Waiting For This
> Patent Pending - (1985) - Troubles & Trials
> Peter Wernick & Country Cooking - (1973) - Bluegrass Banjo
> Pickin' On Creedence Clearwater Revival (1999)
> Pine Hill Ramblers, The - (1972) - Further Up The River
> Pinnacle Boys, The - (1975) - The Pinnacle Boys
> Pony Express - (1972) - Pony Express
> Red Allen & The Kentuckians - (1954-1969) - Classic Recordings
> Red Allen - (1973) - & The Allen Brothers - Allengrass
> Red Allen - (1973) - & The Allen Brothers - My Old Kentucky Home
> Red Allen - (1975) - & The Allen Brothers - Red Allen's Favorites
> Red and Murphy & Co - (1978) - Fast Picks and Hot Licks
> Red Rector & Fred Smith - (1969) - Songs From The Heart Of The Country
> Red Rector - (1973) - Ballads And Instrumentals
> Red Rector - (1978) - Red Rector & Friends
> Red Taylor - (1978) - Bluegrass Fiddle Taylor Made
> Red, White & Blue (Grass) - (1974) - Pickin' Up!
> Reno and Smilely 4CD set
> RFD Boys, The - (1972) - RFD Boys No. 1
> Richard Greene - Ramblin [224 vbr]
> Rick Allred & Kenneth Berrier - (1980) - Flat Burnin'
> Roanoke - (1977) - Roanoke
> Ron Mesing - (1978) - No Minors Allowed
> Roustabouts, The - (1980) - Gone Ape
> Roustabouts, The - (1980) - 2001 A Bluegrass Odyssey
> Roustabouts, The - (1982) - Bluegrass Alive
> Roustabouts, The - (1983) - Bruce & Bagels
> Roy Acuff & His Smoky Mountain Boys - (1949) - Old Time Barn Dance (Square
> Dances Without Calls)
> Roy Clark & Buck Trent
> Roy Clark & Buck Trent - (1975) - A Pair Of Fives (Banjos, That Is)
> Roy Cobb & The Coachmen - (1984) - The Blue Side Of Bluegrass
> Roy McGinnis & The Sunnysiders - (1973) - Beautiful Hills Of Kentucky
> Roy McMillan and the High Mountain Boys - (1973) - Up in the High Country
> Rual Yarbrough - (1968) - 5-String Banjo
> Rual Yarbrough - (1972) - & The Dixiemen - Featuring James Bryan On Fiddle
> Rual Yarbrough - (1976) - Just Me
> Rual Yarbrough - (1978) - & The Dixiemen - Bluegrass From Dixieland
> Sam Bush & Alan Munde - (1977) - Together Again For The First Time
> Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, The - (1964) - Bluegrass Favorites (Crown CLP
> 5346)
> Shenandoah Cut-Ups, The - (1971) - Bluegrass Autumn
> Shenandoah Cut-Ups, The - (1972-07-10) - Culpeper BGF, Culpeper, VA (SPPS)
> Shenandoah Cut-Ups, The - (1973) - The Shenandoah Cut Ups
> Shenandoah Cut-Ups, The - (1973-07-05,08) - 7th Annual BGF, Watermelon Park,
> Berryville, VA
> Shenandoah Cut-Ups, The - (1974) - Traditional Bluegrass
> Shenandoah Cut-Ups, The - (1975) - Tribute To The Louvin Brothers
> Shenandoah Cut-Ups, The - (1980) - Keep It Bluegrass
> Skillet Lickers, The - (1927-1931) - Old Time Tunes
> Sonny Osborne - (1952-1953) - The Early Recordings Of Sonny Osborne - Vol 1
> Sonny Osborne - (1952-1953) - The Early Recordings Of Sonny Osborne - Vol 2
> Sonny Osborne - (1952-1953) - The Early Recordings Of Sonny Osborne - Vol 3
> Sonny Terry - Chain Gang Blues (Everest FS 206)
> Spectrum - (1981) - Live In Japan
> Spectrum - (1981) - Opening Roll
> Spectrum - (1982) - It's Too Hot For Words
> Stanley Brothers, The - (1963) - On The Air
> Stanley Brothers, The - (1963-12-xx) - John's Used Cars XMas Party, WBMD,
> Baltimore, MD
> Stanley Brothers, The - (1964) - Long Journey Home
> Stanley Brothers, The - (1964-11-xx) - That Little Old Country Church House
> Stanley Brothers, The - (1964-11-xx) - The Stanley Brothers Of Virginia Vol. 4
> Stanley Brothers, The - (1966) - John's Gospel Quartet
> Stanley Brothers, The - Stanley Series, Vol. 2 #3 - (1956-08-07) - Shipps
> Park, Morrisville, VA
> Stanley Brothers, The - Stanley Series, Vol. 2 #4 - (1962-08-30) - Ash Grove,
> Los Angeles, CA
> Stanley Brothers, The - Stanley Series, Vol. 3 #3 - (1958-05-04) - Sunset
> Park, West Grove, PA
> Stanly Brothers
> Steve Martin - (2009) - The Crow
> Summer Wages - (1983) - Summer Wages
> Summer Wages - (1987) - Can't Stop Now
> Sunshine Bluegrass Boys, The - (1975) - Ripped Off
> Sykes Boys, The - (1980) - Dixie Bound
> Ted Lundy & Bob Paisley & The Southern Mountain Boys - (1976) - Slipping Away
> Ted Lundy & Bob Paisley & The Southern Mountain Boys - (1978) - Lovesick &
> Sorrow
> Ted Lundy & The Southern Mountain Boys - (1972) - Ted Lundy & the Southern
> Mountain Boys
> Ted Lundy - (1973) - & Bob Paisley & the Southern Mountain Boys - The Old
> Swinging Bridge
> Tennessee River Boys, The - (1963) - Good Old Mountain Music
> The Barrier Brothers - (1957-1958) - Pickin' And Singin'
> The Pinnacle Boys - (1975) - Award Winning Pinnacle Boys
> Tom McKinney - (1979) - There Is A Time
> Tom Paley - (1976) - Hard Luck Papa
> Tony Rice
> Tut Taylor - (1975) - The Old Post Office
> Tut Taylor - (1976) - Dobrolic Plectral Society
> U.S. Senator Robert Byrd - (1978) - Mountain Fiddler
> Upland Express - (1976) - Country Boy's Dream
> V. A. - (1960) - Blue Ridge Mountain Music, Southern Folk Heritage Series
> V. A. - Mountain Folks Song Concert Bluegrass Style
> Valley Ramblers, The - (1967) - Strictly Bluegrass
> Vern & Ray - (1970-04-26) - Demos
> Vern & Ray - (1974) - Sounds From The Ozarks
> Vern Williams & Ray Parks - (1966-01-28) - The Cabale, Berkeley,CA
> Vernon Derrick - (1972) - Grass Country
> Vic Jordan - (1973) - Pickaway
> Vic Jordan - (1978) - Banjo Nashville
> Virgil Shouse - (1977) - Bluegrass Fiddle Jam
> Walter Hensley - (1964) - The 5 String Banjo Today
> Walter Hensley - (1969) - Pickin' On New Grass
> Walter Hensley - (1974) - 3 Days From Home
> Wayne Stewart & Friends - (1979) - Aspen Skyline
> Wendy Miller & Mike Lilly - (1973) - Solid Grass
> Wendy Miller & Mike Lilly - (1975) - Country Grass
> Whetstone Run - (1978) - Bluegrass
> Whetstone Run - (1981) - Time Sure Flies
> Whetstone Run - (1984) - No Use Frettin'
> White Lightnin' - (1970) - Fresh Air
> York County Boys, The - (1959) - Bluegrass Jamboree
>

==============


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Janie
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 09:46 PM

I may have stumbled across another good resource. http://books.google.com/books?id=g2jSdOR8aUkC&pg=RA1-PA139&lpg=RA1-PA139&dq=Richard+Cox+and+the+Harvesters&source=bl&ots=aZt-SL0jdb&sig=7H7En#v=onepage&q=Richard%20Cox%20and%20the%20Harvesters&f=false.

Reading this thread sent me searching for information on Flatt & Scruggs and the Stanley Brothers television shows on WSAZ in Huntington WV in the early '50's - some of my earliest memories of music on television. The search led me to this book, which has a wealth of information on the radio and television broadcast history of Country, Old Time and Bluegrass music and musicians.

From a reviewer at the Barnes & Noble site:

I then went in search of "Saturday Night Jamboree", which was also a mainstay at our house when I was a little girl. There is only one extant tape (on youtube) of the show that had at least a ten year run, and that was 1960, so fairly late. Even so, when listened to the mix of music their relation to one another was apparent.

I"m so pleased that this thread popped up again. Except for today's posts, it was all from before my time on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Janie
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 09:48 PM

Oops. Let's try to make that link again.

Mountainer Jamboree: Country Music in West Virginia


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Janie
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 09:49 PM

And while I'm at the keyboard, how about an inane

"100"


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 10:34 PM

Nice list, Amos. But a lot of those albums are reissues so the dates are the dates of the reissue, not the recording. For instance, Bill and Charlie Monroe never recorded together after 1938 and many of Bill's pre-bluegrass recordings have been reissued as well. Remember, Monroe had named his band "The Blue Grass Boys" long before he'd established the music that others labeled bluegrass.

We all know that creative musicians have "big ears" and can absorb a great many influences. But saying that Charlie Poole influenced bluegrass because he was earlier doesn't really establish causation.

It's nice to see new faces in this thread. It's been going for over nine years and contains a lot of good information.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Janie
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 11:11 PM

Multitasking ineffectively. Just saw I did not successfully copy and paste user review at Barnes & Noble.

Posted February 14, 2001, 5:00 PM EST: This is a great source book on the early period of Appalachian country radio music. As a resident of the area during the time period involved, I remember the place country music on radio had in our society, and Professor Tribe has managed to capture the essence of the business at that time. The period and the music is little known and even less understood. Tribe has done a great service to historians and musicologists. (anonymous reviewer)


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: TinDor
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 03:26 AM

Some interesting videos that hell understand what Old Time is and how it relates and differs from Bluegrass. First, in thw words of Bill Bpnroe on what made up Bluegrass..


"It's got a hard drive to it. It's Scotch bagpipes and old-time fiddlin'. It's Methodist and Holiness and Baptist. It's blues and jazz and it has a high lonesome sound. It's plain music that tells a story. It's played from my heart to your heart, and it will touch you." - Bill Monroe

Kentucky's State Bluegrass Song: "Blue Moon of Kentucky"


ON a more technical definition on what differentiated Bluegrass from Old Time music...

"Monroe is most famous for creating bluegrass music (although it was not labeled as such until many years later). Despite the notion that bluegrass is a traditional style, Monroe mixed elements of old-time string bands with the blues, rural spiritual singing, and jazz solos. He abandoned the breakdowns and "hootin' and hollerin'" that characterized rural string band music for carefully rehearsed numbers that incorporated virtuoso solos by each player. Monroe also pushed the mandolin to the foreground where the fiddle usually dominated country string-bands."

Bill Monroe: Creating a Tradition


Videos...

Appalachian Music Part B --> Gives some insight on came to be known as Old Time Music


From a Bill MOnroe/Bluegrass Docu

Bill Monroe on Bluegrass Music Pt A -->Gives some insight into the old British Isles derived ballads/fiddle music brought to Appalachia. Also mentiones the music from the Baptist Church


Bill Monroe on Bluegrass Music Pt B --> Basically describing what we now know as Old Time Music. WEst African derived syncopations/ Banjo & Banjo frailing styles/Blusey Fiddle meets British Isles derived melodys/fiddle music. Monroe also mentions his Blues influece and one of his teachers, Arnold Shultz

Bill Monroe on Bluegrass Music Pt C --> talks about the transition from the old frailing styles to the Earl Scruggs style that contained the rolling syncopated Ragtimey picking


Bill Monroe on Bluegrass Music Pt D -->talks about Bluegrass having the Jazz-like solo breakdowns which didn't exist in Old Time music


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Stringsinger
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 11:16 AM

Bluegrass is linear and not too danceable. Old style string band music was for the purpose of dancing. Bluegrass doesn't have the harmonic complexity of jazz or the phrasing
in the solos. When it leaves the roots whereby it started, it becomes mechanical and an undue emphasis on physical virtuosity is at the expense of the music.

It's a relatively "new kid on the block".


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: TinDor
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 02:01 PM

Bluegrass obviously isn't as complex as Jazz harmony or phrasing wise but it does contain Bebopish-like licks. I do think Bluegrass can be dance to though.


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: deadfrett
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 11:44 AM

Perhaps it started with the invention of the banjo capo, so pickers could play above the 2nd fret. Monroe used an accordian and frailing style banjo(Stringbean) prior to Scruggs and still called it bluegrass. Cajun bluegrass? Dave


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 02:30 PM

Though I generally avoid it, I'll have to disagree with Frank here--Bluegrass is great music for clogging--


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Janie
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 03:00 PM

I agree Ted. Though I will say that the music seems to get faster as I get older:>)


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: mandotim
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 03:55 PM

As a mandolin player, the sound that defines bluegrass for me is the dry, rhythmic 'chop' of the mandolin, generally on the off-beat. It's that, coupled with the bass line that allows bluegrass to have a driving rhythm without using percussion. Monroe (I think)was the first to use the mandolin in this way, and almost accidentally discovered an instrument (his famous Gibson F5 signed by Lloyd Loar) that could produce that dry, woody sound. Add to that his obvious blues influences, the melodies with roots in Appalachian and Scots/Irish dance music, and you end up with something different to what had come before.
YMMV, of course!


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 06:52 PM

deadfrett said “Monroe used an accordian and frailing style banjo(Stringbean) prior to Scruggs and still called it bluegrass.”
True, Monroe recorded with an accordion and with clawhammer banjo. He also experimented with piano and electric guitar. But he didn't call it bluegrass and neither do scholars. Not everything Monroe played was bluegrass. He called his band The Blue Grass Boys but, according to scholars, the first ever bluegrass recording was made on Sept. 17, 1946. Will You Be Loving Another Man was the first recorded tune to have all the elements of what we call bluegrass.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Genealogy of Bluegrass
From: BobKnight
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 12:48 PM

Bill Keith, along with Jim Rooney, played Aberdeen country music club in 1974. They didn't have a bass player with them and I ended up playing with them that night. Bill asked if I would play with them at Glenrothes in Fife, the next night. I agreed, and we had another great night.

Now this is the "kick my own arse," bit. At the end of the Glenrothes gig, Bill asked if I would like to carry on and play the rest of the tour with them. Dates in England, Europe - I think Holland and Germany. I reluctantly turned him down as I had a new girlfriend, now my wife of 33 years, and had just started Art College.

It wasn't until I met an American friend in Aberdeen a few weeks later, Jim Hay, originally from San Francisco, that I was made aware of how big a deal Bill Keith was. TO me he was just a very nice banjo player from America. I sometimes wonder if my life would have taken an entirely different turn if I'd known who he was. :)


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