Bluegrass 45 1971 US Tour

Week 2:  6/24 – 6/30

1971-6-24 Thursday

Woke up at 8 am – that’s early. Watched “Beverly Hillbillies” rerun. Then DC sightseeing.  First Post office, then the White House, to the top of Washington Monument.  Unfortunately, it was not clear, but we can see the White House and Potomac River right below us.  Had a huge burger.  Last few days Josh has had a big appetite and is swearing that he’s going to eat as much as he can. Tomorrow evening we’ll leave for Massachusetts to attend the Country Gentlemen’s 1st Annual Bluegrass Festival at Indian Ranch in Webster, MA.

1971-6-25 Friday – on the way to Massachusetts

We left Maryland at 8 pm in Ed Ferris’ station wagon.  Then Bill Poffenberger took over from Ed and took us to Breezewood, Pensylvania where Dick’s bus was repaired.  Yes, indeed it’s the bus from Country Gentlemen’s Play It Like It Is LP cover.  This album was recorded in 1968 and released the following year.  FYI, this is the last album John Duffey recorded with the Gents before he left in March of 1969.  We forgot a few items (blankets, LPs, etc) so we met Sheila (Dick’s wife) and then Massachusetts bound.  Mike Seeger was having a party tonight in New Freedom, PA but no time to spare.

1971-6-26 Saturday – Webster, Massachusetts

At 8 am we crossed the George Washington Bridge. When we stopped at a service area, we ran into Bill Harrell.  After he found out we were heading to the same destination, he kidnapped me to his camper.  In the back of the camper, Don Reno, Buck Ryan and Jerry McCoury were sleeping.  I guess Bill needed company even though I couldn’t speak English too well.  The first question he asked me was if I wanted a beer and he got me one and he opened one for himself.  It was early in the morning and the beer was too cold, so it took me a long time to finish.  

Country Gentlemen’s first festival:

We arrived at Indian Ranch in Webster before noon.  There’s a lake in the park and people were swimming.  We set up our tent, then we heard our show time is 1:30 so we hurried up, but a false alarm.  Instead, we rehearsed. The size of the audience was much smaller than Bean Blossom.  We wondered if the Bean Blossom is the biggest.  We were on at 5 pm.

  1. Raise a Ruckus
  2. Place in the Sun
  3. Bluegrass Breakdown
  4. Katy Cline
  5. Cherry Blossom
  6. How Far to Get to Little Rock

Broke fiddle string and banjo string and we were terrible.

At night while Charlie Waller and Jimmy Gaudreau were hanging around, Eddie Adcock joined and jammed for a long time. Dick went to take a nap around the time we started our second set and didn’t get up till midnight.  Jimmy Gaudreau was kind enough to invite me to their jam and I even took quite a few breaks.

1971-6-27 Sunday  sunny – Webster, MA

COLD!  COLD!  It’s cold — We are more north than Bean Blossom and it’s COLD!  Charlie Waller’s family fed us breakfast. We started rehearsing.  Believe or not, Don Reno showed Sab how to play a banjo break on “Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms”.  We played our first set around 4 pm, after Jimmy Martin but before Country Gentlemen!!

  1. Raise a Ruckus
  2. Listen to the Mocking Bird
  3. My Home’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains
  4. Fuji Mountain Breakdown
  5. Red Rocking Chair

We thought we had more time but the MC (Red Shipley) gave us a “one more” sign so we finished our set with “Bridge Over the Troubled Water”.  Dick met us in the back room and asked “What happened?”  Well, Red was actually trying to get Liao’s attention to see if we wanted a drink by raising his index finger, but Liao thought that was a one more sign.  Oh, well.

Evening set:

  1. Raise  Ruckus
  2. Listen to the Mocking Bird
  3. Little Annie
  4. Fuji Mountain Breakdown
  5. Red Rocking Chair
  6. Bridge over the Troubled Water
  7. Rawhide
  8. Song of the Seashore
  9. Proud Mary
  10. Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms
  11. Encore: Orange Blossom Special
  12. Encore 2: Foggy Mountain Breakdown

We got 2 encores!  Wow!

Again, I joined Jimmy Gaudreau in a jam session.  While Charlie was eating a late dinner, we jammed with his family.

1971-6-28 Monday – Mike Seeger party

Dick woke us up and we left Webster at 10 am. We ran into members of Bluegrass State and took a break at a rest area. We arrived at Mike Seeger’s home in New Freedom, PA around 7 pm.  His children look just like him.  Hamilton County Bluegrass Band from New Zealand that we met at the Bean Blossom was there also. Then we jammed.  Mike let me play his Lloyd Loar, but its frets and tuning pegs are worn out.  Dick Staber (Del McCoury’s mandolin player), Tracy Schwartz (New Lost City Ramblers) and his wife came in.  Dick went to sleep at midnight, then we woke him up at 3 am with great difficulty.  We left New Freedom at 4 am and got home at 6 am.  Liao got a toothache.

1971-6-29 Tuesday – day off

We went to sleepat 6 am and slept until noon, except Liao who went to a dentist.  Early in the afternoon Jimmy Gaudreau, his wife and Cliff Waldron stopped by.  Liao stayed in bed all day.  Dick took Toshio to a studio for a Ralph Stanley recording session.  When the rest of us were listening to our live tape from Webster, Ed Ferris dropped by.  We slept in the Gentlemen’s bus & Pete Kuykendall’s camper.

1971-6-30 Wednesday – Shamrock, Washington, DC

In the afternoon, we carried Cliff’s generator from his camper into Dick’s garage, cleaned the garage and washed the bus.  We took a “Country Gentlemen” sign off the bus.  Liao stayed in bed all day so we decided we’d play the Shamrock without him.  Dick went to studio for Ralph’s session again and this time he took Josh.  We thought we started at the Shamrock at 8:30 but Dick & Josh didn’t come back till around 8 pm.  We hurried to the Shamrock in Georgetown in DC.


We played four 45-minute sets with 30-minute break in between.  The Shamrock holds about 150 people, dark, and lighting is in poor taste.  A sign outside says “Direct from Tokyo, Japan, the Bluegrass 45. The most honorable Brueglass Entertainment”!!  During our first break, Eddie Adcock came in with his girlfriend.  He brought in banjo, guitar, electric guitar and unidentified instrument (maybe a fiddle?), and he let Sab play his Fender banjo.  He even replaced Sab and played banjo the whole 4th set.  “Banjo Signal,” a love song in the key of D that he said he recorded with the Gents, “To the Rescue,”“Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” etc.  Such a loud banjo.  He has had a few drinks, but his picking is still perfect.  Even Sab, who is a big Scruggs fan, was praising Eddie.

After we got back home, started raining a bit.  The first rain for us in the States.

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