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View Full Version : Don't Give your Heart to a Rambler



Fretbear
Nov-14-2017, 9:55pm
162296

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/0252082761/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

allenhopkins
Nov-20-2017, 12:56pm
The Amazon description is a bit forbidding. Apparently, from the writer's point of view, Martin was as "volatile" and abusive as his interviews and public utterances might indicate. Books like Smith's Bill Monroe biography include their subject's personal failings, but also their accomplishments and (in Monroe's case, maybe not in Martin's) their genius.

This one may be a little too "up close and personal" for me, though I might take a flier at it. Even the title is cautionary; I guess the best way to appreciate Martin is to listen to his recordings.

Willie Poole
Nov-21-2017, 10:19pm
I agree with Allen, J.M.`s music is great but as a person he left a lot to be desired, I know some of the pickers that have played with him and I just don`t understand how they could take his crap and still keep showing up to play, Much the same with Don Reno...IMHO

Willie

willkamm
Nov-23-2017, 12:08am
Don't know really much about Martin. Saw him live at a club in Harford County, MD one time. Good show. First date my wife and I had. About 40 years ago. I do know, when I read a description, with the words, explosive, volatile, conflicted, along with emotional and physical abuse, I think, alcohol was often involved. Just a semi-educated guess. Too bad. I read Hank Williams was ostracized for the same things.

allenhopkins
Nov-23-2017, 9:43pm
Williams's problem was that he showed up drunk at shows, and couldn't perform; got him kicked off the Opry, I believe. I've heard that Martin had a liking for the bottle, but not that he messed up his performances. Mostly the talk is that he was an SOB, and the interviews with him late in his career have quoted a whole list of his expressed grievances, with the Opry for never letting him join, with band members and promoters and so forth.

As Willie states above, Sunny Mountain Boys alumni have some stories to tell. Martin was fond of telling them that they could never measure up to J D Crowe and Paul Williams, his former banjo and mandolin players; he'd criticize them to others, make them buy their own matching clothes when other band leaders would pay for "uniforms," and generally treat them like unsatisfactory employees.

I'm sure his girlfriend-slash-agent has some stories to tell; question is, do we want to read them or not?

Willie Poole
Nov-24-2017, 12:36pm
I was playing on a festival in Calloway Md. one year and Martin`s band was suppose to follow us and we found that he was indeed laid out drunk in his bands motor home so we had to do two sets, actually we didn`t do all of the second set because his band members came out and took the second half of that set, with out Jimmy, I guess they figured they would not get paid it they didn`t at least make an attempt to do the show...I have seen him bring tears to a young banjo player`s eyes by cutting him down on the stage, just no call for that in my opinion...BUT I love his recordings...

Willie

Timbofood
Nov-24-2017, 2:16pm
Since he’s not around to defend his actions (or deny them) I don’t see any point in speaking ill of the dead. His old band members and those who knew him cansay what they please, I agree with Allen, I don’t think I really need to read about his demons.
I’m sure there are plenty out there who will.

willkamm
Nov-24-2017, 7:09pm
For me, he just doesn't have the same prominence as Doc Watson, Hank Williams or Bill Monroe, for me to be much interested.

jaycat
Nov-24-2017, 9:15pm
Since he’s not around to defend his actions (or deny them) I don’t see any point in speaking ill of the dead. His old band members and those who knew him cansay what they please, I agree with Allen, I don’t think I really need to read about his demons.
I’m sure there are plenty out there who will.

Well said Tim, and may I add, in the spirit of the holiday season as well.

Willie Poole
Nov-24-2017, 9:59pm
Allen stated that Jimmy had some bouts with the bottle but it didn`t mess up his performances, well I just reported ones case that I knew of where it did interfere with his performance....I am sure that most of us pickers that did play the festival circuits knew what J.M. was really like....All of what is being said here is in his biography, nothing new....Jimmy martin`s music has always been some of my favorite and he did a lot for bluegrass...As they say, "The good things out weigh the bad"...And I suppose that is the case with Martin...

Willie

willkamm
Nov-25-2017, 9:25am
I'm curious where the moniker "King of Bluegrass" came from? I get the "Father of Bluegrass" given to Bill Monroe. Self explanatory. Not sure exactly what made Jimmy Martin "The King"?

Mandoplumb
Nov-25-2017, 10:01am
I'm curious where the moniker "King of Bluegrass" came from? I get the "Father of Bluegrass" given to Bill Monroe. Self explanatory. Not sure exactly what made Jimmy Martin "The King"?

Just guessing but probably given to him by Mr. Jimmy Martin.

allenhopkins
Nov-25-2017, 10:46am
Interesting when you consider what Martin might have been. I have early recordings that he made with the Osborne Brothers, and that was an amazing combination that could have made a real mark in bluegrass music. And some of Martin's recordings as Bill Monroe's lead singer and guitarist are really strong as well. No doubt one of the most talented singers in the genre, and a driving rhythm guitarist who could propel his bands at top speed.

His Decca recordings with the Sunny Mountain Boys, especially Good 'N' Country (1960) and Country Music Time (1962) are about as good as it gets, musically. And his participation in the iconic Will the Circle Be Unbroken project -- when Monroe declined to play on it -- expanded his audience and his visibility.

The "word" is that he was in a way his own worst enemy, with a talent for alienating those who admired his music and could have helped his career. There's no doubt, from the interviews he gave near the end of his life, that he ended up bitter, convinced he'd been denied the success and recognition he deserved. No doubt he considered himself the "King of Bluegrass," but you can't find too many fans who'd agree with that coronation.

willkamm
Nov-26-2017, 9:47pm
Just guessing but probably given to him by Mr. Jimmy Martin.

Self given nicknames never work out.

Rex Hart
Nov-28-2017, 11:56am
I think the recordings Jimmy made with Mr. Monroe was the high point of Bill's career. That is truly where the high lonesome sound came into being (imho). We are all broken in one way or the other, Jimmy's brokeness was just more apparent.