View Full Version : Doesn't anyone listen to the old bands now?

Apr-27-2004, 11:05am
Maybe I have missed it, but I was thinking of the bands that brought me into bluegrass of which I have not seen any or rather many of them mentioned here yet.

Bands like, Charlie Waller and The Country Gentlemen, Red Clay Ramblers, Nashville Bluegrass Band,Eddie Adcock, Bluegrass Cardinals, Smokey Mountain Boys, Jim and Jesse, Clinch Mountain Boys, Dillards, Johnson Mountain Boys and The Lost and Found all of which I used to go to festivals and be mesmerized by.

What are some of the little mentioned Bluegrass bands that you listen too?


John Flynn
Apr-27-2004, 11:22am
Really old: The Skillet Lickers

Not so old, but great and little mentioned: Buzz Busby

Apr-27-2004, 11:24am
Can't remember the full list but I remember being at a festival 20+ years ago and in one day seeing the Seldom Scene (still the original band), the Country Gentlemen plus a CG reunion, Eddie and Martha Adcock, Boone Creek and local SW Va-TN bands Country Comfort and Leon Kiser and the Holston Mountain boys. #There was one other group that I wasn't a fan of but their sets conviently fell at appropriate intervals for me to go eat.

Apr-27-2004, 11:44am
20 years ago and the original Seldom Scene? Unless it was a re-union, couldn't be. I saw them in 1980 in Tenafly, NJ and Phil Rosenthal had been a mmeber for a year or so, replacing John Starling.

Apr-27-2004, 11:52am
AlanN - note that I said 20+. #Since I was attending a community college at the time and I know when I did that, I could narrow it down but not relevent to the thread.

Apr-27-2004, 12:06pm
I listen to alot of the "older stuff". Bluegrass Cardinals, JD Crowe and the New South, Osborne Brothers, Flatt & Scruggs, Bill Monroe, etc....

Truth be told, it's like a friend of mine says: "I listen to, play and enjoy Bluegrass for what it is, not for what it was."

That is not meant to be disrespectful in any way. The music I like from my favorite groups today all owe their vision and respect to the pioneers that got this music going and kept it going all these years.

Bobbie Dier
Apr-27-2004, 2:47pm
I listened to JD Crow, Larry Sparks(MAN can he sing) all of the guys you all named already, Clair Lynch and her band. Seldom Scene, Country Comfort!!I haven't thought of them for a long time.They were based out of Kingsport,Tn.. Was the guys name Whiley Cox that played the mandolin and sang??? This isn't bluegrass but I've always loved Robin and Linda Williams and The Cache Valley Drifters(where did they go??)
I loved it then, I love it now!! New and old bring it on. Uncle Dave Macon, Charlie Osborn, Tommy Jarrell they were all great! I did get to see Jarrell play a few times live at Mt. Airy NC.What a treat.

Apr-27-2004, 3:59pm
imapickn - You got that right, Wiley Cox. #They were based somewhere in the Tri-Cities. #I saw them at the Carter Fold several times plus as the Smokey Mountain Special (most of the same members). #Apparently he and his wife were killed by a drunk driver 10 or 15 years ago. #

When I got the technology to put an LP on CD, that was the first one I did...

Apr-27-2004, 4:28pm
Yeah, Country Comfort was a great band and Wiley could really play and sing too. Robin and Linda Williams still make the rounds and play a lot of venues and are still a great duo.

Tim where was that festival, I saw a line-up like that over 20 years ago at a festival....gosh I can't remember where the town was, but the stage was at the bottom of a sinkhole with the sides used as a natural amphitheater. One of the greates venues I have ever been too. All of the ones you mention were there. I think it was the Seldom Scenes official festival. For some reason I keep thinking of Radford, but that may not be it.

I enjoy listening to todays artists just as much as the next person, but I also love going back and revisiting those groups that ushered me into bluegrass. In no way do I mean to put down todays talent at all. hehehehe....just reliving my youth as I think of those groups I guess.

Johnny, I have just been reintroduced to the Skillet Lickers and am enjoying rediscovering them again. I had also forgotten about Buzz Busby, he was before my time, but I knew that Charlie Waller and Eddie Adcock had played with him before the Country Gentlemen. Thanks for reminding me of him.

And Larry Sparks, how can I forget Larry. Loved that sound too.


Apr-27-2004, 4:30pm
I was just listening to the Red Clay Ramblers' "Twisted Laurel / Merchant's Lunch" CD this morning. It's awesome. there is some great mandolin picking in it. I especially like the picking in "Rabbit in the Pea Patch" (although it could be louder IMHO).

Apr-27-2004, 4:39pm
Oddly enough, I find myself listening to more and more Jimmy Martin these days.

Apr-27-2004, 4:51pm
harwilli55 - That festival was at the Wise County (VA) fairgrounds. #I think it was a fund raiser for the Shriners (can't be absolutely sure). #For a couple of years in the mid-to-late 70's they apparently had a promoter who's tastes in BG matched mine pretty close...

And for trivia, that was the location where they filmed that rainy concert scene in "Coal Miner's Daughter". #I remember a call for people to come out and see the free show as long as you wore appropriate period clothing.

Scotti Adams
Apr-27-2004, 6:08pm
East Virginia was a good one..I think they have come back on the scene as of lately...Boys From Indiana..you couldnt help but smile when they came on stage..great song writers in that band....just to name a couple..

Apr-27-2004, 8:20pm
I been on a steady diet of live Mon from '46 thru 70's... and some Del & The Dixie Pals from '69 (live). Wow. True blue. The real deal. Just plain good, period.

Bobbie Dier
Apr-27-2004, 8:30pm
I have been to the Wise County Bluegrass festival . That was in the late 70's I think it was 78. We probably crossed paths somewhere. That was a LONG time ago.

Apr-28-2004, 7:13am
imapickn - I think I attended that one in '77 and '78. #By '79 I was in the army and out of commuting distance. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Apr-28-2004, 9:42am
mandopete:... Jimmy Martin! - now THERE'S the "real-deal" - When he's good.., he's the best! ; when he's "bad"..., well.. - this has been debated much, but there are those(of us!) who believe Martin was the best lead singer with Monroe - with the exception of the "classic" band of Flatt, Scruggs, Chubby Wise. - As a side-note, I understand Jimmy is taking chemo for bladder cancer. Does anyone out there have an "update" on "The King"..?? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Pete Martin
Apr-28-2004, 11:44am
I listen to the old bands almost exclusively (and by "old" I don't mean Hot Rise :-). Monroe, Jimmy, Stanleys, Larry Sparks, and one of my very favorites The Bray Brothers. I got a recording of a live concert of the Brays from Harley Bray. It is in the early 60's and is as good as any bluegrass band as I've ever heard. Maybe sometime Harley will issue it on CD.

Can't beat Jimmy Martin. Also since I recently bought a D18, I've been listening a ton to the Kentucky Colonels. The Tut Taylor recordings available on the web of the Colonels and Clarance White are terrific. The "Live in Sweden" Rounder Album form Clarance, Roland, Eric and Alan Munde is one of the best. Clarance is on fire and Roland is playing very well.

Apr-29-2004, 10:20am
I love that album, that was one of my beginning albums too Pete. The Kentucky Colonels are great bluegrass!!!

I am not sure that I remember the Bray Brothers though. Tell me more about them.


Pete Martin
Apr-29-2004, 11:45am
The Brays Brothers worked out of Illinois in the late 50s and early 60s. To my ears, they were one of the first "new grass" type bands, incorporating newer material at times while still playing in the tradition. To me the Country Gentlemen sounded a lot like the Brays. There are currently 2 Rounder CDs of their music.

Links with samples are here:
http://www.amazon.com/exec....=glance (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00004GOYM/102-5768162-8361710?v=glance)

http://www.amazon.com/exec....s=music (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000002CN/qid=1083260015/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/102-5768162-8361710?v=glance&s=music)

Mandolinist Nate Bray was probably the best mandolin player most mandolinists have never heard. Easily as good as any first generation player, he was clean and fluid at any speed and was one of the first to incorporate more modern types of sounds into Monroe style bluegrass mandolin. The tone he got was amazing. I have played his instrument, and late 50s Gibson F5 and it is very ordinary as far as sound. When I hear those records, it floors me how he got such tone out of this instrument! He tragically died in his late 20's due to Hodgkins disease, I believe. If not, I think he would be a household name among mandolin players.

In the near future I will write an article on Nate with a transcription for Mandolin Magazine.

Banjo player Harley Bray was top notch, and still is. I am lucky as I get to play with him and wife Shera regularly (we recently did a CD you can find at my web site below) and he is so good.

Red Cravens sang great tenor and leads, playing guitar. Underrated musician in my book. Francis Bray completed the band, played bass and sang. John Hartford and Jimmy Raines fiddled at times with the band.

If any of you are interested in the roots of bluegrass, this band was one of the pioneer bands and a must have in your CD collection.

Mark Normand
Apr-29-2004, 12:10pm
Well, perfect timing on this thread, I was just looking to download some more material from bluegrassbox.com Got a few days worth now!

This whole bluegrass thing for me has been a great journey of re-discovering older tunes. Just last night I re-org'd my songbooks and picked about 30 classics, mostly medium to fast standard progression tunes from Monroe, Flatt, etc. These should get some repeated play at various jams. Should be great fun http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

May-02-2004, 7:02am

Thank you so much for taking the time to introduce me to the Brays. I just listened to all of the 30 sec clips from the two albums and YES, that is the sound I was referring too. You can't make that up.

I am now a converted Bray Brothers fan and would certainly like to learn more about the band. It is sad that Nate is gone as the little pieces of mandolin I heard in those clips sounds as if he were exceptional as you say. I wish I had seen them during those days, but I will have to be content adding their cd's to my collection.

Thank you for posting such a good review and I will definetly look forward to reading any article you might write about the history of bluegrass and about the Brays.


Tennessee Jed
May-02-2004, 8:33am
With the exception of a handful of current bands I prefer the classic old tunes and bands.

Bob Asher
May-02-2004, 9:35am

May-02-2004, 11:58am
Does anyone remember the Goins Brothers? They were hot in the 60's & 70's.

Mike Bunting
May-02-2004, 1:35pm
Melvin and ?

jim simpson
May-02-2004, 3:59pm
Melvin and Ray,
I never got to see Ray when they were operating as The Goins Bros. as I believe Ray had been ill for awhile. Now Melvin performs as Melvin Goins and Windy Ridge, I believe. I really enjoyed the material and Melvin's professionalism. Good entertainer. I understand their recordings didn't quite capture what you would witness live.

May-02-2004, 4:32pm
From what I understand, Ray is a little better and plays a little bit now. Melvin is still on the road with his band WINDY MOUNTAIN. Our band is booked to play Melvin's festival in Clay City, Ky. this fall. Melvin still puts on a good show and carries a good band with him. Our fiddle player was Melvin's for a while. Guy like Melvin, who have put their heart and soul into Bluegrass Music have been over-looked for a long time and deserve a lot more recognition than they receive.

May-06-2004, 2:22pm
I've been getting all the Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, Osborne Brothers, J.D. Crowe, Jim & Jesse, Larry Sparks, Country Gentlemen, and other early recordings I can find for years. I force them on my bandmates, and they loan me CDs of the new groups. I hope they notice how much of the music that impresses them is taken from the old recordings I want them to listen to. Take the music anywhere you want, but know where it came from. A lot of the music people tell me is new and innovative today often sounds to me like only a slight update of things I've listened to for 30 years or so.

May-06-2004, 5:57pm
I'm getting old. Right now I have The Osborne Bros, Flatt & Scruggs Mercury Sessions, Lone Ridge (recent band from Va),
on the cd player,-Other greats I listen to are Earl Taylor, Joe Val, Lonesome Pine Fiddlers. Some one mentioned the Skillet Lickers- listen to James Monroe's rythm guitar and see if it reminds you of Riley Puckett.