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Red Allen, Frank Wakefield & Kentuckyans

15 May 03 - 09:53 AM (#953071)
Subject: Red Allen, Frank Wakefield & Kentuckyans
From: Rick Fielding

Oh Lordy, what a wonderful band! I've just been listening to the "Folkways Years" album from Smithsonian-Folkways and I can hardly believe how innovative it 1963!

Pete Kuykendall's banjo playing is SOOOO under-rated, and of course you also have the Billy Keith sides where he was practically re-inventing the banjo.

You know I think it was just one of those magical combinations (like when Jimmy Martin met the Osbournes, or Monroe hired Scruggs) of talent and completely unusual personalities. Wakefield was clean clear and original and Red was at his absolute peak as a singer....he improvised many of his tenor harmonies, and put lots of surprising notes in. His guitar parts were superb...and audible..which was good 'cuz Tom Morgan's bass can barely be heard. It isn't needed though. Red simply nails the rhythm.

This is simply Bluegrass at it's best, and all the innovations are coming around the edges so it's still solidly traditional.......and I've only described the first HALF of it! The second half with Red's sons is also great....with lots of original material.

I'll bet you can get it from CAMSCO, it's a marvelous album.

Any other Red Allen fans.....I saw him in Columbus once, where he managed to infuriate several other performers by staying on stage to long!



15 May 03 - 10:35 AM (#953095)
Subject: RE: Red Allen, Frank Wakefield & Kentuckyans
From: GUEST,Gern

I'm a fan. Red Allen used to play in the Lexington (KY) area; superior bluegrass vocalist. Wakefield covers a lot of fingerboard and is just crazy enough to choose some surprising notes. I agree that this was a shining moment in bluegrass.

15 May 03 - 11:00 AM (#953117)
Subject: RE: Red Allen, Frank Wakefield & Kentuckyans
From: Mark Clark

I'm with ya, Rick. That was an amazing band. On top of all the great musicianship, I've always loved Red Allen's singing. I haven't heard those tracks in many years. I have a lot of Red's later work but, for some reason, I don't have those. Guess I'll have to give Dick a call. I even liked the later stuff he did with David Grisman and Jerry Garcia. Many purists would say that Garcia wasn't exactly playing bluegrass with the group but I still enjoy those recordings.

Does Pete Kuykendall (aka Pete Roberts) record or perform anymore? I figured he's too busy publishing Bluegrass Unlimited.

      - Mark

15 May 03 - 05:56 PM (#953379)
Subject: RE: Red Allen, Frank Wakefield & Kentuckyans
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson

Totally agree-- had that record once (with Nancy Grilikhe's wonderful cover) and now I don't. . . gotta get it again! I have a cassette called "the kitchen tapes" which is simply Red and Frank in the kitchen, no banjo, making wonderful music. Red was a wonderful musician-- got to see him live with Porter Church playing banjo and Grisman on mandolin. . . wow! (maybe 1966?)

15 May 03 - 06:42 PM (#953398)
Subject: RE: Red Allen, Frank Wakefield & Kentuckyans
From: Stewie

Pete, the 'Kitchen Tapes' set has been available on CD for quite a while now in Acoustic Disc label's Acoustic Archive Series: Red Allen and Frank Wakefield 'The Kitchen Tapes' ACD-11. The original recordings were made in April 1963.


15 May 03 - 07:01 PM (#953407)
Subject: RE: Red Allen, Frank Wakefield & Kentuckyans
From: Rick Fielding

I saw Red and Jimmy Martin, both possibly drinking, having a little (un)friendly bet backstage at the Budweiser Festival in Columbus. They were competing to see who could play the most encores.....and it showed on stage, cuz' they pushed it past all limits.

The Osbournes were livid, cuz' they were on next. The Country Gentlemen (who were inviting Eddie Adcock back for a gig) were livid AND BLUNT. Adcock wanted to punch Martin in the nose!

Apparently that stuff happened all the time with Allen and Martin.

Great music though.


15 May 03 - 07:23 PM (#953419)
Subject: RE: Red Allen, Frank Wakefield & Kentuckyans
From: masato sakurai

Info on the CD (Red Allen: The Folkways Years 1964 - 1983) with some sound clips (Click here).


16 May 03 - 09:41 AM (#953721)
Subject: RE: Red Allen, Frank Wakefield & Kentuckyans
From: Jim the Bart

Believe it or not, I found the CD at a "used record" store for $5.99 just recently. I was amazed at my luck. It is great to listen to the bands that were extending the canon in the "middle period" - after Monroe and pre-Dirt Band. Bands like the Dillards and the Osbourne Brothers - and Red Allen - broaden the scope of the music.

I had a chance to open a show for the Osbournes in Chicago back in the early 70's, which was an eye-opener. Me and the boys had been listening to a lot of Flatt & Scruggs and Bill Monroe and thought we knew (as well as young chumps from Chicago could) what Bluegrass was supposed to sound like. We knew when we heard something different in the Osbournes, but we couldn't really put our finger on it. They were bringing the sound a lot closer to what Country Music (the best of it anyway) would become in a few years. I get the same feeling when I listen to Red Allen. There is something in his singing, at least in my mind, that sets him apart from the Jimmy Martin/Lester Flatt school and reminds me why I began to like Country Music in the first place.

Anyway, it's great stuff and well worth finding even if you have to pay full price.


16 May 03 - 10:27 AM (#953752)
Subject: RE: Red Allen, Frank Wakefield & Kentuckyans
From: Rick Fielding

This is great. I despair of anyone on Mudcat (other than the usual suspects) listening to anything but the Dixie Chicks, and then new names start popping up here. Jeez I hope this goes to fifty posts.

Quote from Dave Grisman:

You haven't payed your dues til you've broken into a hotel room that was booked for one, and slept on a mattress with Red Allen!


16 May 03 - 12:39 PM (#953850)
Subject: RE: Red Allen, Frank Wakefield & Kentuckyans
From: Vixen

Hi Rick!

I'm learning to play Wakefield's New Camptown Races on rhythm guitar to back up Reynaud on the mandolin. *He* plays it in Bb...*I* use a capo at the 3rd fret.

Holy Moly what a tune! I hear it once and it's stuck in my head for DAYS! (sort of like what happened with OOK PIK).

Can't wait to see you and Heather again.


16 May 03 - 09:47 PM (#954154)
Subject: RE: Red Allen, Frank Wakefield & Kentuckyans
From: rangeroger

Got to see Red Allen at Strawberry just before he died. He was with David Grisman and it was also the first time I had seen Grisman do a Bluegrass only set. Absolute dynamite stuff.

They came off the Strawberry stage and directly into the studio to do the "Bluegrass Reunion" CD which Garcia sat in on.


17 May 03 - 09:34 AM (#954318)
Subject: RE: Red Allen, Frank Wakefield & Kentuckyans
From: Rolfyboy6

I have the Folkways LP which is part of this CD it seems and it is great stuff. I've worn the grooves. Recommended, especially to those just getting into Bluegrass, 'cause it's so lively and straightforward. And the playing is so good.