Bluegrass 45: 50 years ago this week – Week 10

For those interested in seeing more photos that relate to this week’s article and hear the band perform at the Tex Logan party, go to this web page: http://frobbi.org/akira/1971_BG45_Wk10/

1971-8-19 Thursday—WDON

At 9:30 am Dick knocked on the door and woke us up.  Overslept!!  Everybody got ready in 10 minutes and Dick drove us to WDON in Wheaton, Maryland.  Dick Cerri was the DJ and his show had started at 10 am.  He interviewed us and played “Hamabe,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Fuji Mountain Breakdown.”

Afterwards we went to a nearby mall (note: Wheaton Mall was not closed in but a strip mall back then) and we bought two pairs of pants as a uniform ($5.18 each X 2 = $10.36). I bought an additional brown pair while Dick bought a pair of wild black & white stripe pants.  While we were on the way home WDON played “Fuji Mountain Breakdown” again.

Back at Dick’s house we listened to a live tape of Buzz Busby, Charlie Waller, Scotty Stoneman & Don Stover.  What a combination!!  We cleaned the bus a little, went back to the apartment, ate breakfast at 2 pm and then took a nap.  Dick came back and we had a trio vocal practice… “Little Sparrow,” “Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad.”  At 2 am an alarm went off, one of the apartments was on fire and we had to get up and evacuate.  Nothing serious.

1971-8-20 Friday—Carlton Haney’s festival in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Photo by Akira Otsuka

We left for Gettysburg, Pennsylvanian.  Right before we crossed into Pennsylvania, a Maryland police officer pulled us over along with two other cars, and gave Dick a speeding ticket.   (Note 1: Dick told us later that he appealed at a court and he got out of it.  Note 2: 5-6 years ago I saw a post on Mandolin Café but I can’t find it today.  Anyway this gentleman was on the way to the festival but he was lost so he stopped at a square in the middle of Gettysburg to ask for directions but then he heard a scream “Brewgrass” with a banjo in the background coming out of this bus so he followed the bus and got to the festival ground fine.)

Crazy Horse Campground was where Carlton’s festival was held.  Again, we camped next to Del McCoury!   Carlton’s business partner, John Miller, was kind enough to let BG45 set up a record table right next to the stage.  The stage was on an open trailer but Ken Alexander’s PA system sounded great.

     Daytime Set 5 pm:

  1. Long Lonesome Road (County Jail)
  2. Little Cabin Home on the Hill
  3. Theme Time (a banjo instrumental written by Bill Emerson)
  4. Are You Tired of Me
  5. Weeping Willow
  6. Peach Mountain Ballad ( I believe an original tune written by Japanese fiddler, Shoji Tabuchi)
  7. Sitting on Top of the World
  8. Uncle Penn
  9. Take Five
  10. Take Me Home, Country Roads

(Note: Looking back now, we had an interesting song selection here.  In December of 1969 we recorded a Jazz tune “Take 5”, composed by Paul Desmond and made famous by Dave Brubeck.  Before we recorded it, we had a long discussion if we should include it on the album or not because we didn’t want to offend traditional bluegrass fans but we are proud we included it.  “Take 5” is in 5/4 time signature and we could record and perform it thanks to Josh’s creative thinking and arranging skill.)

Frank Wakefield let me play his Loar mandolin on stage.  He had painted it again and it’s red this time instead of black.

Nighttime Set 8:30 pm

  1. That’s The Time
  2. Place in the Sun
  3. Fuji Mountain Breakdown
  4. Hamabe
  5. Aunt Dinah’s Quilting Party
  6. Black Mountain Rag
  7. How Far to Get to Little Rock
  8. Sakura
  9. Bridge Over Troubled Water
  10. Mocking Banjo

This was our plan, but we messed up the order.

1971-8-21 Saturday—Gettysburg

Photo by Akira Otsuka

Daytime Set 1:30 pm

  1. Devil’s Dream
  2. Place in the Sun
  3. Fuji Mountain Breakdown
  4. Hamabe
  5. Rawhide
  6. That’s The Time
  7. Along the Way
  8. Foggy Mountain Breakdown
  9. Orange Blossom Special

Evening Set

  1. Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms
  2. Mocking Bird
  3. Along the Way
  4. Sakura
  5. Little Cabin Home on the Hill

Started raining and had to stop.

Scheduled songs were:

  1. Dill Pickle Rag
  2. How Far to Get to Little Rock
  3. Bridge Over Troubled Water
  4. Orange Blossom Special

      After a while, it stopped raining and music resumed.  There was no roof over  

      the stage.

1971-8-22 Sunday—Carlton Haney Gettysburg Festival

Photo by Akira Otsuka

We sung a gospel song with Fred Bartenstein.

Daytime set not noted

Nighttime set

  1. That’s the Time
  2. Place in the Sun
  3. Fuji Mountain Breakdown
  4. Hamabe
  5. Aunt Dinah’s Quilting Party
  6. Black Mountain Rag
  7. How Far to Get to Little Rock
  8. Sakura
  9. Bridge over Troubled Water
  10. Mocking Banjo

We watched  Jimmy Martin, Country Gentlemen, Doyle Lawson & JD Crowe.  After all the shows were done, we tore down our tent.  We watched Doyle Lawson rehearse with Charlie Waller and Bill Yates…  “Dark as a Dungeon,” “Letter to Tom,” “Tran 45”….  I got many autographs on a Country Gentlemen Songbook that Mrs. Kirby gave me last week.  We got invited to Tex Logan’s party this week.

Big musical chairs are happening in bluegrass:  Doyle Lawson is moving to the Country Gentlemen from JD Crowe, Jimmy Gaudreau is forming a new group with Eddie Adcock, Tony Rice moving from Bluegrass Alliance to JD Crowe.  We left Gettysburg before midnight, arriving at our apartment in Hyattsville around 1 am.

1971-8-23 Monday—Day off

I got up around noon.  We went to Dick’s house around 2:30 pm, added water and cleaned the bus, set up the tent in the backyard to dry out.  Got home, had dinner and practiced Kiso-Bushi.

1971-8-24 Tuesday—Tex Logan party in Madison, NJ

Photo by Akira Otsuka

We got to Dick’s around 1 pm and left to go to Madison, NJ to attend Tex Logan’s party.  With Dick, 5 members of BG45 and Mr. Yamamoto, we had four people in the backseat of 1967 Oldsmobile 442.  We got lost in New Jersey but managed to get to Tex’s house before 7 pm.  Dick’s Oldsmobile had some problems.

Every year Tex Logan hosted a party and opened his house.  They set up a sound system in the basement and many guests took turns performing.  Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys (Kenny Baker, Joe Stuart, Jack Hicks), Jimmy Martin and Sunny Mountain Boys (Ray Martin, Alan Munde), Eric Weisberg, Steve Mandell, Bill Keith, Jim Rooney, David Grisman and many more picked all night long!!

Dick disappeared around 8 pm….somebody thought he went to get his car fixed while somebody else said he was tired and went to take a nap somewhere.  Later on we found out he was sleeping in his car but luckily we didn’t know it and an amazing thing happened to me.

Soon after Dick disappeared, Tex came over and asked if we were ready to pick.  We had to explain all our instruments were locked in a trunk of Dick’s car.  He had the only key and we had no idea where he went.  Tex said “No problem.  We’ll get you instruments.”   Well, believe or not Tex brought me Mr. Monroe’s THE F5 Lloyd Loar mandolin—luckily Ron Petronko of Montreal took beautiful photos there so I can prove I was not dreaming!!  I have to admit that mandolin was the hardest mandolin I ever played.  Somehow a space between the first string (E) and second string (A) was narrower than the 2 E strings.

In one of Petronko’s photos, you see Tex standing behind us and in the other one, you see Mr. Monroe and Mr. Jimmy Martin by the door and Mr. Steve Mandell sitting on the floor.  During our third set, Mr. Monroe was sitting in a chair right in front of us and he looked pleased.  Josh obviously wanted to show off our bluegrass knowledge and asked if there was any request.  Well, since Mr. Monroe was sitting right there, nobody spoke up.  Mr. Monroe thought about it for few seconds and asked “Can you boys do “Rawhide”?  I love my brother Josh, but I was ready to choke him to death right there.  Of course, we knew “Rawhide” and played it fine.  They gave Sab a chance to play banjo with Mr. Monroe.  I have audio tapes of our first two sets (see the link above) but unfortunately don’t have this third set or a set Sab played with Mr. Monroe.

1971-8-25 Wednesday —Back to Maryland

The sun came up.  While Dick took the car to a shop, I went to sleep.  A little while later a phone rang loudly.  I tried to put my hand on a night stand to get up and answer the phone.  Unfortunately, there was no nightstand and I fell on the floor.  They told us Mr. Monroe slept a little, cleaned up the party mess and left.  He is a tough man.  We left around 11 am but I forgot to get autographs from Eric Weisberg, David Grisman, Bill Keith…

Back at the apartment we went swimming.  Later took the car back to Dick’s and they had a birthday party for Dick’s mom.  Ate a lot, picked some, had whisky sour & champagne and I was drunk.  We got back to the apartment at 1:30 am.

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