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... the angels in heaven stopped singing for a moment
August 16, 2005 10:43 AM   Subscribe

Vassar Clements, dead at 77.
posted by cedar (25 comments total)

 
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posted by Suck Poppet at 10:53 AM on August 16, 2005


I saw hundreds of people take each others hands and dance
for joy when he was playing, at an outdoor venue in the
very late seventies. I've never seen anything like it before
or since.
posted by the Real Dan at 10:53 AM on August 16, 2005


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posted by jonmc at 10:54 AM on August 16, 2005


Which is to say, I loved his sound and fiddling is certainly poorer with his absence.
posted by Suck Poppet at 10:54 AM on August 16, 2005


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posted by nyterrant at 10:56 AM on August 16, 2005


Very sad.

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posted by greasy_skillet at 11:00 AM on August 16, 2005


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posted by mrs.pants at 11:00 AM on August 16, 2005


Sorry to hear this. Vassar was one of my favorite performers during the 70's. I saw him perform several times in small venues in Tennessee.

After a show in 1976, I went backstage to shake his hand, and I asked him if he had worked with Garcia lately. He laughed and said, "I ain't seen that bird in a while."

Some of his best work is on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Will the Circle be Unbroken." He had a sound like nobody else's.
posted by wadefranklin at 11:10 AM on August 16, 2005


(Now listening to Hillbilly Jazz on the MP3 player)
posted by wadefranklin at 11:22 AM on August 16, 2005


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posted by LeeJay at 11:41 AM on August 16, 2005


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posted by fixedgear at 11:52 AM on August 16, 2005


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posted by trip and a half at 1:10 PM on August 16, 2005


Very sad...he was one of dwindling numbers among us with stong ties to first generation bluegrass (he played with Bill Monroe) There are only a handful left...Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Doc Watson, Jesse McReynolds to name a few.
posted by tdstone at 1:48 PM on August 16, 2005


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posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:53 PM on August 16, 2005


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posted by eriko at 2:52 PM on August 16, 2005


Very sad, cedar, but for those of us who have never heard of this person, your job here is to educate, not simply announce.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 4:18 PM on August 16, 2005


I have been fortunate to see Vasser several times in the last few years at Magfest and Springfest on the Suwannee River. He always played with many acts during the fest and you might see him 4 or more times over the course of the weekend. And the thing is, you never got enough.

The last time I saw him was last fall at a club in Tallahassee at a benefit for Larry Rice, Tony Rice's brother. Vasser always had his pipe (in Old and In The Way Vasser's nickname was "Clamp" for the pipe always clamped in his teeth). At the Rice benefit they had a big room reserved for smokers and I heard Vasser was in there smoking so I went in hoping to maybe meet him. Inside it was literally a choking pea soup fog of nicotine smoke. Vasser was in there talking and I could have introduced myself, but he was busy with some others and I didn't want to interrupt him. I was happy enough to be in the same room with him.

That damn pipe is what finally killed him, sadly.
posted by wsg at 4:29 PM on August 16, 2005


Kenji Ngatomi and the Tennnessee Five, Duets, Track 9: Faded Love. Total coincidence -- I had just dropped this CD featuring Vassar Clements in the tray and was holding the case in my hand as I loaded MeFi and saw this thread.

He came to Kyoto one or a few times to play at a little bar owned by a local dentist, Kenji Nagatomi, who has had a country & western band for almost 50 years now and plays at the Opry every year (click "Kenny's Label" and see "Duets" to see the faily impressive list of people who play and sing with a Kyoto dentist).
posted by planetkyoto at 5:02 PM on August 16, 2005


he sure had a great sound ... always loved that break he did on midnight moonlight ...
posted by pyramid termite at 10:13 PM on August 16, 2005


This is really sad. I mean, he was old and whatever, but it always upsets me when great artists - especially those who really carve out new ground for themselves - die.

I've always loved his appearance as himself in Nashville, when Karen Black introduces him in "Rolling Stone" with, "Now here's the best - here's Vassar."

All that said, August 16 is a very classy choice for a musician's death. The King left us on this day in 1977.
posted by Dr. Wu at 10:26 PM on August 16, 2005


Are you with me, Dr. Wu?
posted by wsg at 12:07 AM on August 17, 2005


Yes.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:36 AM on August 17, 2005


Some of his best work is on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Will the Circle be Unbroken.
Man, I loved that three record set. An excellent musician.

happy trails
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posted by nofundy at 7:36 AM on August 17, 2005


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posted by Lynsey at 11:07 AM on August 17, 2005


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posted by OmieWise at 8:19 AM on August 19, 2005


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