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mandopete
Mar-31-2004, 10:37am
I am seeking song suggestions for songs that represent the "high lonesome" sound in bluegrass. #Please let me know if any titles by any artist that you feel demonstrate this particular sound.

Thanks!

John Flynn
Mar-31-2004, 10:41am
high = sung through the nose

lonesome = what you are once your family leaves you for practicing singing bluegrass around the house

http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Seriously, there are many examples, but Bill Monroe is the defining sound of bluegrass. That is where I would start.

duuuude
Mar-31-2004, 1:22pm
I been high & lonesome my whole life it seems, but that's beside the point.
http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif

IMWO, that sound is carried through best in "True Life Blues", go to jazz-on-line.com and click on "Pick from 5,000 titles" then search on Bill Monroe, you'll get to hear a great version from around 1946.

Michael H Geimer
Mar-31-2004, 1:56pm
Yea, I'll second True Life Blues.

Also, what about In the Pines - spooky, haunting, high, and lonesome.

evanreilly
Mar-31-2004, 2:02pm
Well, of xcourse the starting point is Bill Monroe's album The High Lonesome Sound. Ralph Rinzler's detailed notes give a starting point for understanding Monroe and the music he made.

Release Date: 8/1966
Formats: LP
Studio/Live: Studio
Label: Decca
Catalogue Number: DL7 4780
Guest Musicians/Artists: Jimmy Martin (guitar, vocal), Rudy Lyle (banjo), Joel Price (bass), Vassar Clements (fiddle), Red Taylor (fiddle), Carter Stanley (guitar, vocal), Howard Watts (bass), Gordon Terry (fiddle), Sonny Osborne (banjo), Ernie Newton (bass), Charlie Cline (fiddle), Edd Mayfield (guitar), Jim Smoak (banjo), Joe Stuart (guitar), Joe Drumright (banjo), Bessie Lee Mauldin (bass), Benny Williams (fiddle)
Track Listing:


My Little Georgia Rose
Letter From My Darling
Memories Of Mother And Dad
Highway Of Sorrow
On The Old Kentucky Shore
On And On
My Dying Bed
Memories Of You
White House Blues
Sugar Coated Love
I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome
When The Golden Leaves Begin To Fall

Michael H Geimer
Mar-31-2004, 2:18pm
Highway of Sorrow is such a great tune. I really like TOB's versions a lot.

Tom C
Mar-31-2004, 2:19pm
For all those you have to capo between the legs.

GBG
Mar-31-2004, 2:39pm
When you can get the dogs to howlin you know you're got that "high lonesome sound". Del Mc can do it every time.

duuuude
Mar-31-2004, 2:43pm
For a great "High & Lonesome" harmony, give a listen to Lost Highway sometime, they nail it.

cutbait2
Mar-31-2004, 4:59pm
high lonesome = was charecteristic of southern string music singing prior to BG

high and lonesome = result of practicing muleskinner blues too often

mandopete
Mar-31-2004, 5:44pm
I'm looking for song titles and performers. #I know Bill Monroe is most often associated with the term, but I believe that there are other practioners of this style. #How about Del McCoury, Jimmy Martin, Peter Rowan, there must be others that fall into this category on certain tunes.

What I want to do is to assemble a list of 10 good examples of the high lonesome sound. #So far looks like:

Bill Monroe - Can't You Hear Me Callin'
Tim O'Brien - Highway Of Sorrow
Del McCoury - ?
Jimmy Martin - ?

Garrett
Mar-31-2004, 8:08pm
Del McCoury -- High on a Mountain
Buzz Busby -- Lost/Lonesome Wind (Don't get higher or more lonesome)
Bill and Mac -- Can't You Hear Me Callin'
Dr. Ralph and Carter -- Anything, but how about "Roan County" or "The Flood"
Carter -- Come All you Tenderhearted (Not as high as Ralph, but the Lonesomest I've ever heard other than Buzz and Bill)
Reno and Smiley -- I Know You're Married
Bill and Lester-- The Old Crossroad
Bill and Jimmy -- I'm Blue and Lonesome

And the Ultimate

Brother Bill -- Get Down on Your Knees and Pray

Jonathan Reinhardt
Mar-31-2004, 10:15pm
Ralph Stanley (and bros.) High, lonesome, and beyond.

Pete Martin
Apr-01-2004, 11:59am
Monroes original Blue Night with the hair raising solos by Richard Greene, Lamar Greer and one of those out there Bill solos. My favorite.

Garrett
Apr-01-2004, 12:42pm
That band with Richard Greene and Lamar Grier was just wild. That reminds me of another of the highest and lonesomest:

Brother Bill and Brother Pete on "Wayfaring Stranger" on the Smithsonian live cd. Talk about raising hair on the back of your neck!

Mike Bunting
Apr-01-2004, 6:53pm
Amen, Garrett

mandopete
Apr-02-2004, 10:56am
Del McCoury -- High on a Mountain
Buzz Busby -- Lost/Lonesome Wind (Don't get higher or more lonesome)
Bill and Mac -- Can't You Hear Me Callin'
Dr. Ralph and Carter -- Anything, but how about "Roan County" or "The Flood"
Carter -- Come All you Tenderhearted (Not as high as Ralph, but the Lonesomest I've ever heard other than Buzz and Bill)
Reno and Smiley -- I Know You're Married
Bill and Lester-- The Old Crossroad
Bill and Jimmy -- I'm Blue and Lonesome

And the Ultimate

Brother Bill -- Get Down on Your Knees and Pray
Garrett,

I like your list, this is exactly what I was looking for. #But I do have one question - does a "gospel" tune like The Old Crossroad qualify as "high lonesome"? #My thought is that the high lonesome sound is not only a relative high pitch in the singer's voice, but a lonesome subject matter as well. #Any others have thoughts about this?

Moose
Apr-02-2004, 11:19am
Jimmy MArtin has been quoted as saying "HE" created the "high lonesome" sound when he worked with Monroe. He got Bill(?) to "take it up a notch(i.e. to a "higher key") whereby Bill would do his now famous "toes-up" on THOSE numbers. Of course The King has been known for his "magniloquence"( I got THAT from my desk dictionary!)- No flames please.. l love THAT music.., Monroe.., and obviously Jimmy Martin. There's IS a big consensus of opinion anong those in-the-know that MArtin(excepting Mssr. Flatt!), was Big Mon's finest lead singer..!!?? - Regards, Moose. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/blues.gif

danmills
Apr-02-2004, 12:03pm
I heard Ricky Skaggs interviewed on NPR a while back saying that the placement of the tenor vocal harmony above the lead is what defined the "High Lonesome" sound. Or something like that. I forget the details, and I don't know enough about harmony vocals or the history of who was doing what when to make any more sense out of this.

Moose
Apr-02-2004, 12:34pm
Don't mean to sidetrack this "thread' but as an afterthought to my above post.., has anyone got any "updates" on The King's medical problem(s) of late. Latest was, he was being treated for bladder cancer. May God bless Jimmy Martin(IMHO..)- Regardless of one's personal opinion(s).., I'm certain most will agree.., his contributions and status to Bluegrass Music need never be questioned. Moose. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Don Grieser
Apr-02-2004, 12:40pm
I used Peter Rowan and the Nashville Bluegrass Band doing "That High Lonesome Sound" for years as the opening theme for my "High Lonesome" bluegrass radio show on KGLP Gallup Public Radio. BTW, the album "New Moon Rising" is one of the sleeper classics of bluegrass music. Peter Rowan at his best and great Compton mandolin breaks throughout.

evanreilly
Apr-02-2004, 1:30pm
Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard; them ladies is 'High Lonesome' and thensome....

Garrett
Apr-02-2004, 8:21pm
I was going to add Hazel and Alice as well. Which song though?

The question about Gospel and High Lonesome is good and I'm not sure.I usually associate High Lonesome with one or two voices. When it's three or more I cease to think of it as HL.

Garrett
Apr-03-2004, 10:18am
Actually if I remember correctly the "High Lonesome" came into usage because of John Cohen's documentary about Roscoe Holcomb and the record, "The High Lonesome Sound". It isn't bluegrass, but it is without doubt the highest, lonesomest music you will ever hear. So much so that most people can't take it for very long!

evanreilly
Apr-03-2004, 8:25pm
Aaron is correct that the original description was given to Roscoe Holcomb's sound by John Cohen of the NLCR. Subsequent to that, mostly from the writings about Bill Monroe by Ralph Rinzler, did the term become closely associated with Monroe's music.
If you can find it, read the extensive liner notes, written by Rinzler, to Monroe's Decca Album I referenced above.
Rinzler was a great musicologist, writer, mandolinist; he also managed Monroe for several years. He may, and I am not sure of this, played bass for the BGB for a term.
Anyway, Rinzler knew whereof he speaks when he wrote about Monroe's music.

Jonathan Reinhardt
Apr-04-2004, 1:10am
Garrett, you may have grabbed it by the roots. Roscoe H. is not your everyperson's model these days, but some years ago was a major influence for many. There are others not as famous.
But what we have here is the convergence/split of old and new. With a very few in the middle still. Definitely the sound originated in the Appalachian tradition - and as we envision here, a unique development of the European immigrants living in the new world. It can be traced back deep into differing sections of Europe and European folk musics. But somewhere along the line, this music became more than localized phenomenon (probably in the early 20th century and due to radio/recording) and began to typify a certain region of the United States.
Most of us now think of Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe (and his many great vocalists!), as leading the way for Peter Rowan,Del McCourey, Mike Seegar, John Herald, and, yes, even Dan Tyminski from time to time. There are so many others with great skill at these heart-wrenching tenor vocals that showcase this style to great effect. To say they are spiritual is a bit vague, and probably not overly correct. Although some have amazing lyrical beauty, some are just plainly pathological. Yes, Gospel, Shape Note, and other religious music overlapped with the music of the many HL performers, but that's another complex story. In the modern sense, high and lonesome has now become that back of the neck hair raising sound that grabs you whether you want it to or not.
A recent commercialization that was not all that tacky was Stanley's 'O Death' in "Oh, Brother". Kind of trancended the filmed sequence.

We baritones don't always aspire to these particular heights, and tend to explore other avenues. #

rasa

AmosMoses
Apr-05-2004, 9:52pm
The harmonies on Hot Rize's 'Footsteps so Near' epitomizes the high lonesome sound for me.

flatthead
Apr-05-2004, 11:34pm
This is a great thread......

I also know that Jimmy says he created the "High Lonesome Sound" when he was with Bill. Whether or not that's true is speculative, but it is pretty clear that they kicked a lot of tunes up into higher keys (or as Jimmy says "keyed em on up there") when Jimmy joined the band.

I'm also glad to see Buzz Busby mentioned. "The Lonesome Wind" is about as lonesome as it gets, there mister.........

Also, as to Jimmy being Bill's best lead singer, I think it's kind of subjective. Although I have my preferences, I'd rather spend my energy and time listening to all of that old stuff, especially the Flatt/Monroe and the Martin/Monroe duets.

OK, here's the problem: It is now 12:30 AM. I have to be at work in exactly 5 hours. BUT, I'm so jacked up about this, I'm sure that I'll sit down and listen to all of that Monroe stuff from 1945 through 1954 tonight.

Wish me luck on "The Chain Gang" tomorrow...........:)

More coffee Jim?

mandopete
Apr-06-2004, 9:20am
Thanks for the suggestions folks, I'm headed into the radio station to see how many of these I can find.

We've been talking a lot about Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin and such, but how about any of the current bluegrass performers (besides Del McCoury)? #I just heard a recording by David Davis and Warrior River Boys, that sounded pretty high and lonesome to me.

So far my take on this sound is a high pitch for the singer (seems like the key of B quite often) with the falsetto voice as a feature and possibly a tenor vocal above that. #I still think the subject matter should reflect lonliness or a lost love sort of thing. #I think that might separate the material from gospel songs that have a similar vocal style, such as "Get Down On Your Knees and Pray".

Keep 'em commin'

http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/coffee.gif

Moose
Apr-06-2004, 11:31am
Hey flathead!!... thanks for the support & "agreement! - Yes, it IS a subjective matter for discussion. "Evan R.", our resident Monroe authority is of the opinion that ED Mayfield was the finest - if not best - "lead" singer for Monroe (hey Evan..,I know you're out there!??) - That material from the Martin, Mayfield, Del Mc. era is priceless - anybody that don't get "goosebumps" listening to THAT ..., is surely DEAD!! - There are also many who would say Peter Rowan and that "Boston/folk/college era" group of "Bluegrass Boys' contributed much. They certainly created a much broader "listener base"(i.e. "younger") for Mssr. Monroe. Regards and keep a' pickin... MOOSE. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

evanreilly
Apr-06-2004, 6:52pm
Monroe liked Edd Myfield's vocal blend with his tenor maybe more than anyone else. In additon, Monroe admired Edd Mayfield because Mayfield was a real Texas coyboy & could ride a horse probably better than Monroe himself could. And anyone who could do anything 'manly' better than Monroe could was sure to win a bit of admiration from Monroe.
I have to mention that the Monroe - Frank Buchanan blend was also pretty good!!!
To answer a reference to Hazel & Alice as epitomizing 'High & Lonesome', I dug out their CD the other day; their version of Monroe's "The One I Love is Gone" may be all you need to hear.

flatthead
Apr-07-2004, 12:10pm
This really is a great thread…

About Edd Mayfield: #I concur that he was most definitely one of the best that Bill ever had. #As Evan (certainly one of the “Monroe-esque” cats I’ve ever met) said, Edd was a real Texas tough-assed cowboy, which suited Bill fine. # He played on most or all of the “I Saw The Light” record in the 50’s.

I got a chance to be around Bill Monroe for a few hours several years ago, and I asked him about Edd Mayfield. #At first he didn’t say anything, he just kind of looked at the floor. #This went on for maybe a minute or two (which, by the way, seemed like a lifetime to me). #After this minute or two of silence, I started to get up and leave the room. #Right as I stood up, he looked at me and said “Edd was a fine a Bluegrass Boy, and a mighty powerful man, too”. #Then Bill told me the story *in detail* of the last days of Edd’s life. # He talked for hour at least, maybe more. #It was kind of like a floodgate opened. #I remember he stressed that when the band pulled into Bluefield, West Virginia, Bill went and found a hotel “with a bed, you know….and air conditioning” expressly for Edd, to keep him comfortable. #As I recall, he then said he got a doctor to look at Edd, after which Edd was immediately admitted to the hospital. #I think he only lived a few more days after that.

Among the many things that struck me about that conversation was that quote: #“….with a bed you know…and air conditioning”. #The way he said it gave (to me, at least) a huge insight about just exactly how tough those guys had it on the road, back then. #A bed was a luxury, and air conditioning was a fantasy for those guys.

That kind of makes the “Which is better, a Calton or a Pegasus case?” argument seem just a tad thin, doesn’t it?

More Please…..

Best Regards to all

Jim Rollins

Moose
Apr-07-2004, 12:18pm
Flatthead: Thanks for sharing that. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

EasyEd
Apr-07-2004, 3:02pm
Hey All,

High lonesome sound? Why has nobody mentioned the band Open Road.
Their lead singer Bradford Lee Folk flat gets it done. Go to:

http://www.openroadbluegrass.com/sound.html

an give a listen to Cold Wind or Hard Times if you have any doubt.

Take Care! -Ed-

mandopete
Apr-07-2004, 6:19pm
Ditto what Moose said! I had always heard that Monroe had a special place in his heart for Edd Mayfield and this story confirms it.

Thanks for sharing!

Don Grieser
Apr-08-2004, 9:13am
If I remember right, Edd Mayfield wrote "I'm a Knockin' on Your Door" which is both high and lonesome. Did he ever record it with Monroe? I only know versions of it covered by Peter Rowan.

evanreilly
Apr-08-2004, 9:41am
I believe the song was actually written by Merle 'Red' Taylor. #There is a live recording of Edd doing the song with Monroe (Beanblossom 1954??) and that tape is where Grisman learned the tune.
A self-correction: I was thinnking about "I ain't Broke..."

Michael H Geimer
Apr-08-2004, 11:40am
" I think that might separate the material from gospel songs that have a similar vocal style, such as "Get Down On Your Knees and Pray".

Pete, it's something to consider that the the predominant religious (Christian) outlook viewed life as a path of suffering and loneliness with the promise of salvation to come.

So, I don't see the same problem that you do about the gospel songs. Though I'm not a relious person myself, I plainly hear the pain, faith, and hope within those old gospel songs like "Get Down on Your Knees and Pray"

- Benig

duuuude
Apr-08-2004, 12:20pm
I quit countin' all the tunes I've learned to love, then found out later they were considered gospel, and here I just thought they were great music, with or without a label. But then I tend to judge music on how it makes me feel rather than just the notes played, and the bluesier gospel stuff just gives me that good bluesy feelin', sad but happy to be that way.
http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif

evanreilly
Apr-08-2004, 12:28pm
Although it is risky to make any absolute statement about waht constitutes 'blue grass music', I'll say it is impossible to remove the religious/gospel component from Monroe's music and exclude that from consideration.
Monroe recorded maybe four gospel albums. They contain some of the greatest examples of his music, that is Blue Grass music.
One of the not-previously-mentioned singers with Monroe was Carter Stanley. Go listen to "You're Drifting Away" for an example of the best in Monroe's Blue Grass music. Their other vocal collaboration was on "Sugar Coated Love"; try topping that one also!!!

mandopete
Apr-08-2004, 12:39pm
Pete, it's something to consider that the the predominant religious (Christian) outlook viewed life as a path of suffering and loneliness with the promise of salvation to come.

So, I don't see the same problem that you do about the gospel songs. Though I'm not a relious person myself, I plainly hear the pain, faith, and hope within those old gospel songs like "Get Down on Your Knees and Pray"
Interesting observation and quite frankly, I had never looked at it from that perspective.

I was thinking about the notion of "lonliness" in the context of a romantic point of view, but one could also look at it from a philosophical or religious context as well.

I was just listening to Monroe sing "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" and the line about "travelling alone" struck me that it might describe the lonely path of religious conviction.

I am still curious about the "high" component - do most people feel this equates to falsetto voice or are there tonal (perhap nasal) considerations as well?

Evan - I sure don't want to go down the "what is bluegrass?" path, I'm more interested in looking at this one particular aspect of bluegrass music. #Much like a "fiddle tune" or "gospel quartet", I think the high lonesome sound is merely a part of the overall composition of bluegrass and I'm really looking for specific song examples that people feel describe the sound.

Michael H Geimer
Apr-08-2004, 1:31pm
"I know dark clouds will hang 'round me,
I know my way is rough and steep
Yet beauteous fields lie just before me
Where God's redeemed their virgils keep
I'm going there to see my mother
She said she'd meet me when I come
I'm only going over Jordan
I'm only going over home"

I have a lot of respect for religious conviction. I think those lyrics above speak to something deep inside us all. I've always looked at the 'lonesome' adjective as describing the longing for those who have passed over, our mothers, siblings, spouses and children ... rather than the lonelienss of a 'mere' broken heart.

So ... I guess I'm back on page (1), agreeing with Garrett.

"And the Ultimate
Brother Bill -- Get Down on Your Knees and Pray"

- Benig

EasyEd
Apr-08-2004, 5:05pm
Hey All,

I must confess that I've never though of high lonesome in terms of religion. Interesting perspective. I guess I always assumed you were lonesome if you weren't! The idea of being alone as in separated from those who have passed over fits though. Listen to Ralph Stanley doin the fields have turned brown for example. To me high lonesome in bluegrass has usually mean't a high tenor like voice with nasal characteristics singing songs about loneliness (many causes) or loss or a man's lone struggles with nature. Often though the voice predominates - singers like Mon, Del, Bradford Lee all have that relatively unique high lonesome voice.

Take Care! -Ed-

mandopete
Apr-08-2004, 5:57pm
Where God's redeemed their virgils keep....
I don't want to get too far off base, but I always thought that line was:

Where Gods we deem, their vigils keep

I always thought it was a strange line and it made me think the lyric was more Pagan than it apparently is..........

Benig - thanks for your thought provoking and insightful input. #This is what I like about the Mandolin Cafe!

Michael H Geimer
Apr-08-2004, 6:12pm
" Benig - thanks ... "

Thank you!

" ... but I always thought that line was: "

[shrug] I just did a command-C off an Internet lyric site ... I honestly can't really make heads or tails out of either line up above. I don't sing the song, but if I did, I would have to figure out something there that I could understand as I have a hard time singing a line I wouldn't speak.

This is also, just the sort of discussion I look for here at The Cafe. Great thread Pete!

- Benig

P.S. Thanks Pete for the compare and constrast right below here. *Now* I get it.

mandopete
Apr-08-2004, 6:41pm
I honestly can't really make heads or tails out of either line up above.
Where God's redeemed, their vigils keep

Folks up in heaven watching over us. #I assume they are keeping a vigil until we get there (assuming that we're going there in first place, eh?)

Where Gods we deem, their vigils keep

Many gods (think Romans and Greeks) that we choose might be watching over us. #I know that's a bit of a stretch, but I always liked that notion and I continue to sing it that way as it suits my ideas about religion in general.

Moose
Apr-09-2004, 10:53am
FYI... "Get Down on Your Knees and Pray": Recorded July 6, 1951, (8:30 a.m.-12:00 a.m.) ; personnel: Carter Stanley, lead ; Bill Monroe, tenor ; Rudy Lyle, bass ; Gordon Terry, baritone. "Wayfaring Stranger" : recorded March 31, 1958 ; personnel : Bill Monroe ; Edd Mayfield ; Kenny Baker ; Cully Holt.(Source: Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys; an illustrated discography, compiled...by Neil Rosenberg. c1974. The Country Music Foundation Press.). http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Frankmc
Apr-09-2004, 11:51am
I think the high lonesome sound is high. But I get that same high lonesome feeling listening to other Bluegrass bands that do not have that timbre,, for instance Lost Highway.
Why is that?

duuuude
Apr-09-2004, 12:24pm
IMWO, Lost Highway does it for me with their harmonies. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif

mandopete
Apr-09-2004, 12:24pm
I think the high lonesome sound is high. But I get that same high lonesome feeling listening to other Bluegrass bands that do not have that timbre,, for instance Lost Highway.
Why is that?
So is it possible that there may a "low lonesome" sound? #I guess the key elements are the relative pitch of the song (for the singer's voice and harmony vocals) and subject matter. #Can you cite an example by Lost Highway that you feel illustrates your point?

For example, what if a baritone singer was to attempt this sound? #I can't think of an example off the top of my head, but I'm going to look around and see if I can find one.

Michael H Geimer
Apr-09-2004, 12:30pm
" For example what a baritone singer was to attempt this sound? #I can't think of an example off the top of my head, but I'm going to look around and see if I can find one. "

Doc Watson might fit that description on occasion, but he doesn't always do those tight harmony arrangements.

mandomick
Apr-11-2004, 2:23pm
I just saw Doc Watson 2 nights ago in a small theater in Harrisburg, PA. IMO some of the best 2 hrs. of "high lonesome" I've ever heard. At 81 yrs old this man is truely awe inspiring.

Also, I think some of John Hartford's stuff fits the bill here too.

evanreilly
Apr-11-2004, 8:57pm
As I should hope everyone really knows, in addition to his immense personal contributions to the preservation and continuance of old-time music, John Hartford was a friend of Bill Monroe. John recorded "The Cross-eyed Child" as his tribute piece to Monroe. The song contains several monologs of Hartford giving historical insights into the young Monroe, which contributed to the later shape of Monroe's music. He talks about the young Monroe listening to the returning World War I veterans returning home and walking down the local railroad tracks and laying back & giving their backwoods hollers and how the young Monroe would do that also, pitching his hollers as high as he could, and how that formed the basis of Monroe's singing style.

mandopete
Apr-12-2004, 9:47am
Yes, I think that combined with listening to Jimmie Rodgers probably gave Monroe quite a bit of inspiration in the area of singing (and yodeling!).

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the tune "I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome". With the line about the lonesome sound of a train going by, I would think this to be a definitive high-lonesome song.

evanreilly
Apr-12-2004, 11:05am
Monroe recorded 12 of Jimmie Rodgers' songs. At one point, Decca wanted to release an album or Rodgers' material recorded by Monroe. Unfortunately, Decca never released most of the recordings.
Rodgers was clearly an influence on Monroe. Somewhere I have a picture of Bill (& maybe Charlie & Birch) at Jimmie's grave in Meridian.

mandopete
Apr-21-2004, 9:42pm
Okay, for those who might care about this sort of thing, here's the list of tunes I decided on:

Bill Monroe & Jimmy Martin - I'm Blue, I'm Lonsome
The Stanley Brothers - Another Night
Tim O'Brien - Highway Of Sorrow
Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard - TB Blues
Vern Williams - Cabin On A Mountain
Bill Monroe & Del McCoury - True Life Blues
Bill Monroe - Lonesome Moonlight Waltz
Open Road - Cold Wind
Del McCoury - Bluest Man In Town
David Davis - The Lonesome Sound Of The Wippoorwill
Bill Monroe & Mac Wiseman - Can't You Hear Me Callin'

......and if you want to hear them you can tune in at 12:00PM (Pacific) on Sunday, April 25 via the KBCS website (http://kbcs.fm) and check out Bluegrass Ramble

Yonkle
Apr-22-2004, 12:51am
Monroe "Body and Soul" "Wayfaring Stranger"

Vincent
Apr-22-2004, 1:34am
Memories of Mother and Dad, by Monroe. Or White Dove by the Stanley Bros. Songs about your parents dying- that's pretty high and lonesome.

mandopete
Apr-22-2004, 8:17am
So, does anyone notice something unusal about my list?

Moose
Apr-23-2004, 9:39am
mandopete: DITTO!! - Just wonderin' how many times - on this Board - this question has been asked. Yes, it is a valid inquiry. Perhaps it's from a "nebie"...eh?? .. hee hee.. Carry on. EL MOOSO. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif

mandopete
Apr-23-2004, 10:38am
mandopete: DITTO!! - Just wonderin' how many times - on this Board - this question has been asked. Yes, it is a valid inquiry. Perhaps it's from a "nebie"...eh?? .. hee hee.. Carry on. EL MOOSO. # http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif
Not sure what this response means....no, the odd thing is that the tune Lonesome Moonlight Waltz is an instrumental tune. #I really think Monroe captured the notion of a high-lonesome sound in the melody on this one! #I also think that Lonesome Fiddle Blues might be appropriate for this list as well.

Moose
Apr-23-2004, 10:48am
Well, let's start another "thread'...: "Who's the BEST mandolin player ever...!? (I ain't got much work at my desk here today..) http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/blues.gif

LeftCoastMark
Apr-23-2004, 5:01pm
Me. Work on my desk, however, I'm not going to miss this segue....

mandopete
Apr-23-2004, 5:06pm
I'm not going to miss this segue....
Not sure how that is gonna work........

Okay, Chris Thile ?

ourgang
Apr-23-2004, 6:09pm
Since he's my hero, it would have to be William Smith Monroe, since he developed all the mando licks that all players use today and all the cross-tunings that he came up with. He set the stage for all the mando players that have or ever will come up. All the classic Bluegrass songs that he wrote on the mando, and, had it not been for Monroe, the mandolin probably would have gone the way of the harpsicord, zither, etc. and this may have been the "ViolaCafe".[B] http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

evanreilly
Apr-23-2004, 8:54pm
Well, Bill described himself as a "...farmer who played mandolin & sang tenor..."; an interesting self-description. Wonder how his farming skills were; he ploughed with mules as long as he was able to farm, of course!!!

Garrett
Apr-25-2004, 2:10pm
Many of the band members who became Bill's farm laborers were a little less thrilled than Bill about his farming.

Moose
Apr-26-2004, 9:15am
"...we make money the old-fashioned way ; we EARN it". heee... hee.. Carry on boys.. Moose. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif

mando-tech
Apr-28-2015, 1:35pm
I heard Ricky Skaggs interviewed on NPR a while back saying that the placement of the tenor vocal harmony above the lead is what defined the "High Lonesome" sound. Or something like that. I forget the details, and I don't know enough about harmony vocals or the history of who was doing what when to make any more sense out of this.

My ? is,: isn't the tenor harmony ALWAYS above the lead ? That means that songs like Rose Of Old Kentucky and My Little Georgia Rose are both examples of the "high lonesome sound",..however,...-they were solos for Bill because their melodies are so high in the register that no one can sing tenor to them !

chuck3
Apr-28-2015, 2:20pm
My ? is,: isn't the tenor harmony ALWAYS above the lead ? That means that songs like Rose Of Old Kentucky and My Little Georgia Rose are both examples of the "high lonesome sound",..however,...-they were solos for Bill because their melodies are so high in the register that no one can sing tenor to them !

I don't know. But you've done us a service by reviving this interesting thread after 11 years of dormancy!

rfloyd
Apr-28-2015, 2:32pm
This may be off the subject, but when I met my now wife four years ago she had no knowledge of Bluegrass, being from Brazil, although she had great appreciation for lots of different styles of music. So, after a few dates we got in the car, and a Del McCoury CD was on. I said, there, that's what bluegrass sounds like. After listening for a couple of minutes I asked her what she thought.
Her words were " I like it, it seems really well played, but do they have to sing like that?" Of course, the answer is "Yes"!

grassrootphilosopher
Apr-28-2015, 3:01pm
My ? is,: isn't the tenor harmony ALWAYS above the lead ? That means that songs like Rose Of Old Kentucky and My Little Georgia Rose are both examples of the "high lonesome sound",..however,...-they were solos for Bill because their melodies are so high in the register that no one can sing tenor to them !

No. Listen to the Osborne Brothers and you´ll have high lead.

Listen to the early Stanley Brothers (I think it´s their Columbia recordings) and you´ll often have high baritone. That is the baritone harmony vocals above the tenor vocals that are above the lead vocals (Listen to "Hey, Hey, Hey" by the Stanley Brothers).

Where you put the tenor vocals does not necessarily make them lonesome. If you want "high" and lonesome, you´ll have to put the vocals in the upper registers first of all, not necessarily the tenor vocals.

Also you´ll have to make shure, that your vocals are not lush. You don´t want to be crooning. (Tommy Duncan with Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys is a prime example of crooning, also think of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry etc):


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLzCWYbcAfU

You don´t want to make you´r harmony vocals sweet. Sweet harmony vocals were done by the McReynolds brothers.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Phh1fvTFb8

grassrootphilosopher
Apr-28-2015, 3:02pm
Lonesome harmony vocals come from rubbing the harmony vocals against the lead vocals, like using flattened thirds in a major context. It´s like playing a 7th chord (think D7 before going back to G). That builds up tension.

This tension along with the high vocals make it "high lonesome".

Top drawer examples are Bill Monroe´s "Letter From My Darling", "Travelling Down This Lonesome Road"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kcs2QGtEPLk
"Can´t You Hear Me Calling"
listen to this (Monroe and Duffey on "Can´t You Hear Me Calling", both died in 1996)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re09v4JI_cM
or "Sugar Coated Love" (here in the "notorious" version):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrIQodR6E_E

You´ll see that all the above mentioned principles apply.

The above mentioned "Hey, Hey, Hey" is high/lonesome with a high baritone (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BW2D6UID2k&list=PLZnjtxJeowY64dIyh9MuQEoWoS8EaKfBA&index=15).

Gary Hedrick
May-10-2015, 12:03pm
Listen to Daley and Vincent singing Hills of Carolin' . The duet parts are a definition to me.

My "real" definition will always be listening to my grandmother singing hymns while she stood at the kitchen sink doing the dishes.

There was a plaintive...haunting sound to her voice....the pain of poverty...too much work and too little hope. She sounded like a female version of Bill Monroe in many ways.

It will always stick with me though she has been dead for almost 50 years.

JeffD
May-10-2015, 8:52pm
Listen to Daley and Vincent singing Hills of Carolin' . The duet parts are a definition to me.

My "real" definition will always be listening to my grandmother singing hymns while she stood at the kitchen sink doing the dishes.

There was a plaintive...haunting sound to her voice....the pain of poverty...too much work and too little hope. She sounded like a female version of Bill Monroe in many ways.

It will always stick with me though she has been dead for almost 50 years.

Beautifully said. Great memory.

JeffD
May-10-2015, 8:55pm
This is part what I think of. Among other things.

farmerjones
May-11-2015, 11:16am
My "real" definition will always be listening to my grandmother singing hymns while she stood at the kitchen sink doing the dishes.

There was a plaintive...haunting sound to her voice....the pain of poverty...too much work and too little hope. She sounded like a female version of Bill Monroe in many ways.

It will always stick with me though she has been dead for almost 50 years.

And why is it, even just reading this, my imagination can create something that's far more emotionally shattering than the real thing. Powerful stuff

k0k0peli
May-14-2015, 2:58pm
If I may intrude -- besides hearing my West Virginia grandparents since birth (we're Carters), my string-picking mania began about 55 years ago listening to, playing, and later building mountain dulcimers. To me, "high lonesome" means modal melodies, harmonies, drones, and dissonances. Put modal harmonies in falsetto over a nasal melody and you've got it!

mando-tech
Nov-19-2018, 3:42pm
I heard Ricky Skaggs interviewed on NPR a while back saying that the placement of the tenor vocal harmony above the lead is what defined the "High Lonesome" sound. Or something like that. I forget the details, and I don't know enough about harmony vocals or the history of who was doing what when to make any more sense out of this.

....FYI -in a conventional vocal arrangement , the "tenor vocal" is ALWAYS above the lead !,...-the baritone is always below !

Mark Gunter
Nov-19-2018, 7:37pm
Good to see you back again resurrecting old threads, mando-tech! You do realize that danmills (the guy you're responding to) wrote that statement 8 years before you joined here? That would be 14 years ago as of now ...

Mind you, I'm not complaining, happy to see these old threads and to read your replies, but it's a bit odd to see you responding to what folk wrote over a decade ago. At least danmills is still here, seems his last response to a thread here was only two days ago, so maybe he'll see your response.