Bluegrass Breakdown (Music)
Sun May 5th 2013 12.00pm–2.00pm
Time zone: central
Bill Monroe “Bluegrass Breakdown”
from Bill Monroe & BG Boys "56-59" CD Album (Smithsonian Folkways) —Show theme and bed track. In today's show, I'm taking the first hour to illustrate the origin of the bluegrass sound in Bill Monroe's band as a type of acoustic rural string band music, and the six elements I think define the genre.
Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys “True Life Blues”
from All The Classic Releases 1937 - 1949 (JSP Records 2003) —In this cut from 1945 we hear most of the six elements for bluegrass: high lonesome vocal, fiddle, mandolin, string bass, guitar, but the banjo does not have the blazing 3-finger roll picking we usually expect in bluegrass.
Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys “Will You Be Loving Another Man?”
from All The Classic Releases 1937 - 1949 (JSP Records 2003) —Earl Scruggs then joined Bill's band, and now the six elements are all in place. In this cut from 1946 and the next from 1947, Earl's bat-out-of-hell three finger roll picking just rings like a bell.
Flatt & Scruggs “Doin' My Time”
from Flatt & Scruggs - The Complete Mercury Recordings (Mercury Records) —Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs left Bill's band, and then formed their own band. Lester and Earl co-led the band, allowing Earl's brilliant banjo technique to take front and center status. They started recording for Mercury in 1948.
Flatt & Scruggs “Pike County breakdown”
from Flatt & Scruggs - The Complete Mercury Recordings (Mercury Records) —Since I doubt that Bill Monroe would have ever allowed a banjo picker to become the lead instrumental driving force in Bill's band, I think it was good that Lester and Earl formed their own band. The banjo then became a lead and driving instrument.
Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs “Some old day”
from Foggy Mountain Jamboree (Sony BMG Entertainment) —So, can more elements be added to the basic six which make the bluegrass sound? They surely can be added, and here we hear what the great dobro player Josh Graves added to Flatt & Scruggs' band.
The Stanley Brothers and The Clinch Mountain Boys “A Lonesome Night”
from The Complete Mercury Recordings (Mercury Records/UMG Recordings) —If a fiddle is essential for the bluegrass sound, can you use two fiddles? I see no reason why not, and here the Stanleys had Chubby Wise and Ralph Mayo contribute stellar twin fiddle work.
The Stanley Brothers and The Clinch Mountain Boys “Daybreak in Dixie”
from The Complete Mercury Recordings (Mercury Records/UMG Recordings) —And in this cut, Benny Martin and Howard Forrester provide the twin fiddle excellence. This cut concludes this presentation cenetered on the elements of the bluegrass sound.
The Harmans “Timeless and true love, with Allison Krauss”
from Timeless and True (The Harmans 2008) L —The Harmans are hosting a bluegrass festival at the Alton Illinois Amphitheater on Saturday June 8, which is a benefit show for Meals On Wheels. Marty Stuart (!) is the featured guest. Ticket info at seniorservicesplus.org or ph 618 465-3298 ext 146.
The Dowden Sisters “When The Roses Bloom Again”
from Traditional Folk Songs Vol. 1 (self-release) —I first heard the Dowden Sisters perhaps ten years ago on Gene Roberts' show, and I thought I was hearing the voices of angels. I finally found their only two CDs, and am SO glad I can put them on the air!
Reno & Smiley with Bill Harrell & The Tenneesee Cut-Ups “Flowers are like people”
from Together Again (Rebel)
Reno & Smiley with Bill Harrell & The Tenneesee Cut-Ups “Riverdale flash”
from Together Again (Rebel)