Bluegrass 45: “50 years ago this week” Week 9

1971-8-12 Thursday—Day Off

Dick came over at 12 noon and we drove to Annapolis and brought the bus back.  Dick, Josh and I went to an auto store and bought gasket & air gauge.  While driving back, Dick told us that Jimmy Gaudreau is leaving the Gentlemen to form a new group with Eddie Adcock.  We jokingly said it would be very cool if John Duffey would come back.  When we got back to Dick’s house, he played us new master tapes of Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs album—good stuff.

1971-8-13 Friday—BG 45 LP is Out

Dick brings big news – our LP is ready to be picked up.  Dick, Josh, Liao and I drove up to Philadelphia.  First, we had a lunch at Roy Rogers, then to Disc Makers and loaded 23 boxes (25 LPs in a box = 575 copies).  Also, they gave us a record pressing tour—neat to see a chunk of vinyl becomes an LP.  They’re actually pressing it like a waffle machine.  Philadelphia is an old city by Delaware River and the section we saw was pretty run-down.

We arrived back in Hyattsville around 7 pm and listen to our brand new album—Rebel SLP1502 “Bluegrass 45.” We released a self-financed and produced LP while in Japan but this is from Rebel Records!  On the back cover, it lists other recent releases, which are Country Gentlemen “One Wide River to Cross” (Charlie Waller, Bill Emerson, Jimmy Gaudreau & Bill Yates), Curly Ray Cline “Chicken Reel”, Ralph Stanley “Cry From The Cross” (with Roy Lee Centers, Curly Ray Cline, Jack Cook, Ricky Skaggs & Keith Whitley) and Cliff Waldron & the New Shades of Grass “Traveling Light” (Ben Eldridge, Mike & Dave Auldridge, Bill Poffenberger & Ed Ferris).  How cool is that!!  

 Dick Freeland shot our individual photos on the back cover but they look like mug-shots.   Liao is facing little to his right to hide his swollen face from a tooth operation.  The front cover photo was taken by Tsutomu Otsuka (no relationship) at our home base “Lost City” coffee shop in Kobe.  The owner, Mr. Kenji Nozaki, can be seen behind the counter and he is the one who negotiated our US tour with Dick Freeland.  Thank you, Kenji-san and Tsutomu-san.

We went back to our apartment, had Okonomiyaki dinner Sab made and then packed for a weekend trip.

1971-8-14 Saturday—Tex Ritter Show at Camp Springs, NC

I got up at 7 am, breakfast, left Hyattsville at 8:10 am.  Stopped at WKCW (Big K radio) in Warrenton and they played 3 songs—our first air play!!  “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Black Mountain Rag” & “Fuji Mountain Breakdown.”

We arrived at Danville bus depot at 2:26 pm.  Toshio & Mr. Yamamoto arrived from Galax at 2:34 pm.  Pretty good timing, I thought.  Toshio told us there were 30,000 people at the Galax Old Fiddlers Convention and he got on the stage with a banjo and received $2.00.  We arrived at Carlton Haney’s Bluegrass Park in Camp Springs, NC at 3:30 pm.  We talked to Carlton’s daughter, Bonnie, her cousin, Shelvie, and Carlton’s business partner, John Miller’s daughter.

Our first stage was at 7 pm.  

  1. That’s The Time
  2. Turkey in the Straw
  3. Hamabe
  4. Red Rocking Chair
  5. Sakura
  6. Take Me Home, Country Roads
  7. Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms
  8. Foggy Mountain Breakdown

 We broke too many strings, so our performance was terrible and Dick was not happy.  We thought it was a Tex Ritter Show but it turned out Carl Butler & Little Jimmy Dickens.  We started selling our LPs once we finished our first set.  

Second set

  1. Place in the Sun
  2. Salty Dog Blues
  3. Foggy Mountain Breakdown
  4. Little Cabin on the Hill
  5. How Far to Little Rock
  6. Uncle Penn
  7. Calling You
  8. Proud Mary
  9. Bridge Over the Troubled Water
  10. Mocking Banjo

Our second set was much better.

We brought 12 boxes of LPs and sold 29 copies.  It was $4.00 each so total of $116.00.  Not too bad for a one-day country show.

1971-8-15 Sunday—Visit Mr Carlton Haney

I got up at 10:30 am, I made 16 hamburgers for breakfast!  Mr. Fred Bartenstein came over and I bought a copy of Muleskinner News.  He showed us old photos.  We left Camp Springs at 12:30 pm and arrived at Mr. Haney’s home in 30 minutes.  He played a new recording by Del McCoury, which was done in Bradly Studio in Nashville, and it sounded great.  He also played Bluegrass 45’s Berryville show & Bill Monroe Bluegrass Story from 1970 at Camp Springs….GOOD stuff.  Then we went out to a steak dinner in Danville.  We left at 8 pm and we got back to Hyattsville around 1 am.

1971-8-16 Monday—County Fair

I got up at 11 am but not much to eat in the fridge.  Around 2 pm we went shopping at Prince George Plaza.  I was looking for white jeans but couldn’t find any I liked.  We stopped at Giant Food for groceries and got home at 6 pm.  Dick was there waiting for us to return and we left the apartment at 6:30 pm.  Reading the diary now, it doesn’t seem like we knew we had a gig that night??  Also, it doesn’t mention where this County Fair was…Other acts were Lester Flatt & Country Gentlemen.

1st set

  1. Raise a Ruckus
  2. That’s the Time
  3. Mocking Bird
  4. Bridge Over the Troubled Water

2nd set

  1. Raise a Ruckus
  2. Orange Blossom Special
  3. Place in the Sun
  4. Sakura
  5. Take Me Home, Country Roads
  6. Mocking Banjo

     I talked to Haskel McCormick & Roland White a little.  We sold 26 copies of our LPs, X $4 = $104.   We left the fair at midnight and got home little past 1 am.

1971-8-17 Tuesday—Visit Kirby family in Richmond

I got up at 10 am, had breakfast and did laundry.  The Kirby family (mom & 2 daughters, Betty & Janet) from Richmond, Virginia came to pick us up in a big station wagon, 3 Kirbys, 5 of BG45 plus Mr. Yamamoto.  They showed us a clipping of Richmond newspaper with a BG45 article.  (Note: the younger daughter, Janet, can be seen carrying Charlie Waller’s guitar in “Bluegrass Country Soul” movie.  Today she is a wonderful Blues singer in Richmond.)

We arrived in Richmond early evening.  First, we tried to locate Mr. Yamamoto’s friend but no success.  Once we got to Kirby’s home, we picked from 9 pm till 3 am.  They also gave me a Country Gentlemen song book.  They asked me to drive to somewhere at midnight and I made a dent on their car. 

1971-8-18 Wednesday—back to Maryland, Country Warehouse gig & Gary Henderson interview

I got up at 10, breakfast and started picking again but I was little tired.  We got back to Hyattsville around 3 pm and Dick came by to make sure we were back OK.

 We drove up to Country Warehouse in Gaithersburg with three Kirbys and Dick’s son, Ronnie.  We performed in front of a record shop along with the Country Gentlemen.  The show was sponsored by WDON.  In our bus during a break, I sung “Along the Way” and Charlie Waller and Bill Yates put harmony, then Charlie and I sung “Sunny Side of Life.”  Very cool!  

We got back to Dick’s home around 8 pm.  Gary Henderson and a lady came over and they interviewed us, but everybody was joking around and took a long time before we could start.  One of the topics we talked was good record pressing in Japan—Gary is a Bluegrass DJ on WAMU station in DC and he cares about sound quality.  Afterwards we went out to eat a sandwich at midnight and finally back to the apartment.  Went to bed at 2 am but we’re supposed to leave at 9 tomorrow morning.  Good night.

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