Friends, neighbors, let's drop in on ol' Don Reno, Red Smiley and the Tennessee Cut Ups for a heapin' helpin' of some of that good old time country/bluegrass goodness, shall we? What say we kick it off with their fine rendition of Love Please Come Home? Mmm-MMM, so satisfying! You know, the boys had their own lil' ol' TV show, too, brought to you by the fine folks over at your local Kroger grocery store, and I'll just bet you'd like to watch the pilot episode, now, wouldn't you? Well, here's Part one, and there's... [more inside]
He won't win any accolades for subtlety or refinement, perhaps, but he was a beloved entertainer who stomped his feet and threw himself wholeheartedly (and very, very energetically) into every tune he ever performed, from the early days of country radio to the Grand Ole Opry to television's Hee Haw series. I'm talking about Louis Marshall "Grandpa" Jones. Today's his birthday, so why not drop in on some of the Grandpa performances on offer at ye olde YouTubes, such as Good Old Mountain Dew, Night Train To Memphis, Are You From Dixie or The Kickin' Mule. When he wasn't hamming it up for the camera, though, his vocal performances were often much more varied and accomplished. Check out, for example, his delivery and vivacious yodeling on T For Texas. And here he turns in a solid, honest version of the great Merle Travis classic, Dark As a Dungeon [more inside]
In 1969 banjo virtuoso and bluegrass innovator Earl Scruggs parted ways with his longtime musical partner Lester Flatt and the band they led to great popularity and acclaim, The Foggy Mountain Boys. Scruggs wanted to push his musical gifts as far as they could go. In 1970 he was the subject of a PBS documentary where he played with artists such as Bob Dylan, Doc Watson, The Morris Brothers, The Byrds, Charlie Daniels, Bill Monroe, Joan Baez, various friends and family members, and even records a track accompanying a Moog. You can watch the whole thing online: Earl Scruggs, His Family and Friends.
In the late 90s EMI's Songbook Series released an album, "Where Were You When The Fun Stopped" with tracks chosen by author Hunter S. Thompson along with detailed liner notes. Since you can't get the cool notes or photos, why not enjoy Hunter's country and folk flavored taste at your July 4th revelry of choice? Ballad of Thunder Road - Robert Mitchum : I Smell A Rat -
Howlin' Wolf Big Momma Thornton : Spirit In The Sky - Norman Greenbaum : The Hula-Hula Boys - Warren Zevon : Maggie May - Rod Stewart : The Wild Side of Life / It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels - Hank Thompson feat. Kitty Wells & Tanya Tucker : Will The Circle Be Unbroken - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band : Mr Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan : Walk On The Wild Side - Lou Reed : If I Had A Boat - Lyle Lovett : Stars On The Water - Rodney Crowell : Carmelita - Flaco Jiminez feat. Dwight Yoakam : Why Don't We Get Drunk - Jimmy Buffett : American Pie - Don McClean : White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane : The Weight - The Band : Melissa - The Allman Brothers Band : Battle Hymn of the Republic - Herbie Mann (cover) [more inside]
Still reeling from losing that hour of sleep Saturday night? Check out this catchy old country tune from old-time banjo-playing sensation Louis Marshall "Grandpa" Jones in which Grandpa rants about Daylight Savings Time. [more inside]
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. He plays the banjo, but he isn't just some hick. He enjoys Chicks, jamming with friends, wide open spaces and fights.
For lovers of old-time, mountain banjo styles and songs, Roscoe Holcomb and Dock Boggs are revered figures. To many, however, plucker and singer David Akeman remains uncelebrated or unknown, even by his stage name of Stringbean. Is it because he was for a time actually famous as a country music showbiz staple, and therefore lacks folk cred? Or maybe the purists just can't get with those low-hanging pants the man was known for, his original hillbilly homeboy styling? Or was it cause on any given tune his left hand would likely be off the neck of the banjo more than on it? Whatever the reason, it's time folks took a new look at Stringbean. After all, the lines between folk and commercial styles have always been blurry in American music. Let's hear it for Stringbeeeeeeeaaan! [more inside]