Mudcat Café message #1269546 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #73111   Message #1269546
Posted By: Jerry Rasmussen
11-Sep-04 - 06:19 PM
Thread Name: Is bluegrass an attitude?
Subject: RE: Is bluegrass an attitude?
Hey, Ron:

We're both right about old-time music. You're much closer to right if you talk about people who are playing old-time music at jam sessions these days, and I'm much closer to right if I'm talking about the wealth of recorded old-time music that is the source.

Here are some songs recorded by what I would call old time musicians..
Many of them were recorded before bluegrass even existed, so it's missleading considering them bluegrass musicians.

Grayson & Whitter (recorded between 1928-30)
   Handsome Molly
   Going Down The Lee Highway
   Ommie Wise
   Rose Conley
   Train 45
   Short Life Of Trouble
   Tom Dooley
   He Is Coming To Us Dead

Dixon Brothers:

   Weave Room Blues
   Sales Tax On The Women
   Greenback Dollar
   Weaver's Life
   How Can A Broke Man Be Happy
   Down With The Old Canoe (a great song about the Titanic)

And then, there's:

Carolina Tar Heels - Peg And Awl
    "    "    "    Got The Farm Land Blues
Kelly Harrell & The Virginia String Band - My Name Is John Johanna
The Bentley Boys - Down On Penny's Farm
The Stoneman Family - Moutaineer's Courtship
"    "       "       Spanish Merchant's Daughter

And then, there's Uncle Dave Macon and Clarence Ashley with too many songs to list.

This is music that Bill Monroe, The Stanley Brothers and Flatt and Scruggs listened to when they were growing up. Some of it, they fueled up and did bluegrass arrangements of, but most hasn't been carried on by bluegrass bands. If they've been carried on at all, it's been by individual performers, or old-time bands.

Back to late night festival jam sessions. They are what they are, and if you're not playing, they can be a painful experience. There's nothing less joyful than hearing thirty musicians all out of tune with each other plowing their way through Soldier's Joy eighty times. I'll step out for a beer with you, Ron. I can't "jam" so I don't enjoy that. A counterpart, in some ways is the late night singing sessions where, because everyone wants to sing along, you end up being forced into a repertoire of songs with choruses(for obvious reasons) and mostly songs that most people know. Being a singer, I can enjoy those sessions a lot more, but they eventually become limiting, because the choice of songs is of necessity somewhat limited.

I enoy a good mix of instrumentals, songs with choruses, blues, individual singers doing songs without choruses, and even unaccompanied singing.