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View Full Version : Pinch me!-Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe



fishdawg40
Mar-10-2010, 9:29pm
Man, this album is amazzzzzzing! I can't believe I haven't heard it until today, been wanting for a long time though. I actually got a sealed vinyl copy. Bill's mandolin and Kenny's fiddle are amazing and the sound is great. I'm close to speechless, perhaps, my favorite bluegrass (instrumental for sure) album, it's like a breath of fresh air.

Steve Cantrell
Mar-10-2010, 9:37pm
It's probably my favorite Monroe studio performance--at least from an instrumental perspective--by leaps and bounds. A great recording.

Mike Bunting
Mar-10-2010, 9:49pm
It's a definitive recording, for sure.

Rob Fowler
Mar-10-2010, 9:55pm
Yup, I recently got this album, also a couple of months ago and it's become one of my favorite and is in constant rotation... me being a relatively new Monroe fan.

I remember recently that Cafe member Dasspunk and his band "The Squirrel Hunters" played a show where they played the whole album! It sounded really good but I can't remember where I saw that?

I got it on Itunes so I don't know what year it first came out but would like to. I'm sure somebody can chime in on that fact?

Can anybody chime in on other "essential" Monroe recordings...or point myself and others towards past posts that provides that advice. Thanks!!

allenhopkins
Mar-11-2010, 1:16am
Wasn't it Baker who replied, when someone said to him that it must be wonderful to play with Bill Monroe, "Yeah, if you like playing in B"?

grassrootphilosopher
Mar-11-2010, 4:43am
Apart from Baker and Monroe who´s playing what on the album?

fishdawg40
Mar-11-2010, 5:54am
Apart from Baker and Monroe who´s playing what on the album?

Joe Stuart-Guitar; Vic Jordan-Banjo; Bob Black-Banjo; Randy Davis-Bass

Rob-It was recorded on March 29th & 30th 1976. Also I heard about Das Punk doing the album on Mike Compton's Taterbugmando group. I was definitely following that closely. At that time I still hadn't heard the album.

I guess I'm used to hearing only older Monroe stuff; Bluegrass Instrumentals, Bluegrass Ramble. Those are some of my favorites too but this thing just blew me away.

evanreilly
Mar-11-2010, 8:47am
Other 'Instrumental' albums are:

Decca DL 4601 - Bluegrass Instrumentals
Decca DL 7-5348 Bill Monroe's Uncle Pen
Rebel of Canada REB-850 Classic Bluegrass Instrumentals
Red Clay RC CD 113 Jimmy Campbell: Pieces of Time

"Master of Blue Grass".....

plus, a big bunch more instrumentals scattered across hundreds of recordings.........

Don Grieser
Mar-11-2010, 10:17am
"Baker plays Monroe" never gets old. Every time I listen to it, I discover something new. One of my desert island picks for sure.

mandopete
Mar-11-2010, 10:27am
Wasn't it Baker who replied, when someone said to him that it must be wonderful to play with Bill Monroe, "Yeah, if you like playing in B"?

:))

...and I'm still looking for "that" picture.

jhbaylor
Mar-11-2010, 10:37am
Mighty fine playing by Brian (Dasspunk) on this live version they recorded of Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe. Here is the link to his website that has few tunes from the show:

http://dasspunk.com/music/kenny.tribute/

Nice pickin' Brian and thanks for posting...
JB

Mike Romkey
Mar-11-2010, 10:58am
Just downloaded it from iTunes on all of your glowing recommendations.

farmerjones
Mar-11-2010, 11:44am
Pawfull collection of recordings. Them two's just about as crusty as each other. But there you go, mutual respect, admiration. The way i heard it was, "Hey you try playin' Bflat for nineteen years."

MoBob
Mar-11-2010, 1:00pm
It was at a workshop, Baker's reply to the Q was "Yeah , if you like playing in B for 25 years", only partially with tongue in cheek.

Mike Bunting
Mar-11-2010, 1:45pm
They had some fun together. :)

56093

Dan Margolis
Mar-11-2010, 1:53pm
I downloaded it from eMusic.

f5loar
Mar-11-2010, 2:50pm
Other got to have Monroe would be any and all of his Decca recordings found on 4 Bear Family box sets plus this one.

fishdawg40
Mar-11-2010, 3:46pm
Ok, so what's the deal that I hear Baker wrote Jerusalem Ridge?

farmerjones
Mar-11-2010, 3:57pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzoLAwZ-gs
Imbedding is disabled today.
I've got it DVR on a classic country showcase show where Kenny introduces JR as written by "The Master, Bill Monroe."
We've talked about it quite a bit on here already, but today, from what i've seen, and you are welcome to form your own opinion, Bill Monroe wrote that tune. They may or may not, have been in the same room at the time, But there was a sub-style coming out when Kenny was a Bluegrass Boy. Kenny played swing before he played for WSM. I think Kenny's magic brought out certain things in Bill Monroe. Chubbie Wise being a more Blues fiddler, may have brought out certain things at that time too. Why wouldn't it?

f5loar
Mar-11-2010, 10:14pm
Most think Baker was Monore's No. 1 Fiddler. While he may have spent the most time on stage and maybe even in the studio with Monroe he was far from being his No. 1 Fiddler. More like Top 10. When you listen to all the different fiddlers Monroe went through from Wise to Campbell there are quite a few that stand out whereas Baker seemed to be the same thing over and over. To me the fiddlers that stand out beside Baker is Hicks, Terry, Taylor, Spicher, Duncan, Greene, Wise, Forrester, Martin, Clements, Berline and Campbell.
But when you get right down to it did Monroe ever have a bad fiddler?

evanreilly
Mar-11-2010, 10:18pm
To repeat:

Rob Fowler
Mar-12-2010, 12:04am
Evan and Tom,
Thanks for the replies regarding essential Monroe albums. I'm assuming all them are still in print?

Thanks again!

f5loar
Mar-12-2010, 1:11am
The Bear Family sets may not all still be in print and some of the single CDs listed may not be either but look to ebay for everything Monroe used and new. I've seen the Bear sets go for $40 which is pretty cheap for an import 4 CD box set with booklet.

mandolirius
Mar-12-2010, 3:36am
The Bear Family sets may not all still be in print and some of the single CDs listed may not be either but look to ebay for everything Monroe used and new. I've seen the Bear sets go for $40 which is pretty cheap for an import 4 CD box set with booklet.

It's worth remembering that these are re-mastered recordings and really represent the best recorded sound available for these cuts. Plus it's comprehensive and very well annotated. Some great pics, too!

Mike Bunting
Mar-12-2010, 4:12am
I've got 1950-59, 60-69, 70-79, and 80 till the end, are there any more Bear Family Monroe collections that I might have missed? I've got the Decca set from 1945-49, plus I have all the Decca vinyl releases and other vinyl albums including Master of Bluegrass.

farmerjones
Mar-12-2010, 8:32am
Talking about Bill's Fiddlers.
This is a good page: http://doodah.net/bgb/byinstrument.html
I had to check twice, but i didn't see my name in there. :)

evanreilly
Mar-12-2010, 8:48am
The earliest recordings I have in digital format are:
The Legendary Monroe Brothers Collection (1936 -'38) on BMG from Japan, and
Mule Skinner Blues BMG 2494-2-R

Might have to search hard to find them anywhere....

Joe Parker
Mar-12-2010, 7:27pm
I've got the Bear Family set 1950-1958 BCD15423 and was fortunate to have Big Mon autograph it for me.It has 109 tracks on 4 cds with a very nice book that details all the sessions with dates and notes about most of the selections.The book was compiled and written by Charles K. Wolfe and Neil V. Rosenberg with the discography done by Neil V. Rosenberg. It is a wealth of information and I am still amazed by this body of work.

ralph johansson
Mar-13-2010, 7:04am
It was at a workshop, Baker's reply to the Q was "Yeah , if you like playing in B for 25 years", only partially with tongue in cheek.

Oddly B has become a signature key in BG, mainly because Monroe used it so much. Listening to the two versions of Georgia Rose, the first in C, the second in B, I'm prepared to conclude that Monroe was tuned in B. Obviously he could handle C like nobody's business,
but it seems that the key of B allowed some vocal devices that are more pleasing and expressive, at least to my ears.

ralph johansson
Mar-13-2010, 7:17am
Ok, so what's the deal that I hear Baker wrote Jerusalem Ridge?
For your benefit I repeat the full story as told by Baker to Mark O'Connor, and published in 1993. The tune was written in August 1970 at the Henry Clay Hotel in Ashland, Kentucky. Monroe brought the 3rd part and had Baker try various figures until he hit something that pleased Monroe. In O´Connor´s words, Baker "contributed greatly" to the 1st, 2nd and 4th parts. You could say that Baker came up with most of the ideas and Monroe made the decisions. Baker insisted that "those are his ideas, I don't expect credit and I don't want it". If you want to see the reactions to this well documented account you can easily find the discussion via my profile. If, however, you want to preserve your faith in mankind, don't.

Perry
Mar-13-2010, 7:46am
I've got 1950-59, 60-69, 70-79, and 80 till the end, are there any more Bear Family Monroe collections that I might have missed?

Mike:

There's Blue Moon of Kentucky 1936-1949...which is a pretty good one ;) It has all Monroe Bros. and those fellas Flatt and Scruggs too.

There is also a Live in Germany set which I think is a DVD/CD combo?

fishdawg40
Mar-14-2010, 5:50am
If you want to see the reactions to this well documented account you can easily find the discussion via my profile. If, however, you want to preserve your faith in mankind, don't.

Wow, sounds pretty ugly. I don't know how I missed those...But thanks for the info, might just keep the lid closed on that.

300win
Mar-14-2010, 12:00pm
Another ya'll might try to find, although it is an obscure recording ; Kenny Baker and Big Joe Greene, awesome Bluegrass instrumental album, fantastic twin fiddles, great mandolin, great banjo, the entire thing is wonderfull. Yes I used to own it, but it like most of the rest of the records I loaned out, somehow never found thier way back home.

300win
Mar-14-2010, 12:10pm
Talking about Bill's Fiddlers.
This is a good page: http://doodah.net/bgb/byinstrument.html
I had to check twice, but i didn't see my name in there. :)

There are several pickers that were Bluegrass Boys that are not listed in this list. Big Joe Greene {fiddle} being one I know of. In my neck of the woods there are least three guys who played with Monroe as part of the Bluegrass Boys at least once on stage, but you'll never see their names. I'm sure there are several more across the country like that. Joe Greene who comes from High Point, North Carolina is one of the best Bluegrass fiddlers that has ever been in my opinion.

Chris "Bucket" Thomas
Mar-16-2010, 8:59am
It's probably my favorite Monroe studio performance--at least from an instrumental perspective--by leaps and bounds. A great recording.

According to banjo player Bob Black it was recorded in a hotel room with the mattresses against the wall. In his book Bob also says that they were told not to change strings, he wanted them played in.

f5loar
Mar-17-2010, 7:26pm
I've not heard Big Joe Greene's name mentioned in decades. Is he still in prison? If out is he still fiddling and where? He could do the most perfect version of Katy Hill and Grey Eagle. If he was indeed a bluegrass boy for at least a day then his name deserves to be in the list. You should email your proof to the guy running that website and tell him he has been omitted. I've reported to him several that were left out and he put them in there. You will need more proof then hearsay and 3rd party acknowledgment.

Randy Smith
Mar-17-2010, 7:39pm
This album is a classic bluegrass fiddle and late-Monroe work. It's the only album I have in three forms: vinyl, cassette, and cd. (If only it had made eight track!)

The "Playing in 'B' " story I experienced happened like this: At the 1996 IBMA in Owensboro, Kenny Baker was receiving an award, and so he played a set in the Bluegrass Museum. One of his backup men was banjoist Bob Black, who had played with Baker in Monroe's band and also played on the Baker plays Monroe album. After finishing his show, Baker sat down while much of the crowd stayed put and asked him questions. "So why did you quit Monroe?" one fellow finally asked. Looking a combination of irked and hesitant, Baker took a few seconds to answer. He finally said, sounding a bit defensive, "Well how'd you like to play in 'B' for twenty-five years?"

300win
Mar-18-2010, 7:27pm
I've not heard Big Joe Greene's name mentioned in decades. Is he still in prison? If out is he still fiddling and where? He could do the most perfect version of Katy Hill and Grey Eagle. If he was indeed a bluegrass boy for at least a day then his name deserves to be in the list. You should email your proof to the guy running that website and tell him he has been omitted. I've reported to him several that were left out and he put them in there. You will need more proof then hearsay and 3rd party acknowledgment.

Tom,yea not many folks except us old-timers in Bluegrass know about Big Joe Greene. He could flat out drag a bow ! I don't know where he is now or if he's playing. As far as proof of being a Bluegrass boy, I don't have any except by Joe himself and other guys that were playing back then. The last time I saw him play was back in 1977-78 up on Grandfathers Mountain Bluegrass fesival. He had a group of youngins tenns-early 20's picking with him then, and as far as I'm concerned they were the best in the entire line-up. I used to have as far as I know the only album he recorded on his own, Baker was on it, and I believe Butch Robbins was picking the banjer, if I ain't mistaken, of course that album like all the rest I lent out never did find it's way back home. Man I wished I still had all those now to get digital recording from. I had all of Monroe's, all of Flatt and Scruggs, a bunch of the Stanley Brothers, Reno and Smiley, a few early Osborne Brothers, now I only got one Osborne Brothers out of all of them, and it is scratched up so bad it won't play. Well maybe some of the people I lent them to are still getting enjoyment from them. I'd still like to get up with you sometime Tom, as I have never held a Loar in my hand as I know of, I could have back when I was a youngin but didn't realize nothing back then about them. I have listened to some of yours and Riley's picking, pretty dang good.

300win
Mar-19-2010, 8:22am
I've not heard Big Joe Greene's name mentioned in decades. Is he still in prison? If out is he still fiddling and where? He could do the most perfect version of Katy Hill and Grey Eagle. If he was indeed a bluegrass boy for at least a day then his name deserves to be in the list. You should email your proof to the guy running that website and tell him he has been omitted. I've reported to him several that were left out and he put them in there. You will need more proof then hearsay and 3rd party acknowledgment.

Tom, I just thought of two more that were Bluegrass Boys that were/ are from North Carolina. One is Johnny Vipperman from Mount Airy, he picked banjer and bass fiddle, got drafted to go to Korea, he died last year. The other one is Tommy Randolf, played guitar. There might be "documeted proof" and might not be, but I knew/know both of them and their word as is others that were around back then that know is good enough for me. Doug Hutchens I reacon knows about all or any that ever were Bluegrass Boys, but he might have missed a few, he wrote the book "The Men Who Wore The Hats", I've never read it. I should go see him and get a copy, he was both my sons teacher in high school. Everyone has differant ways of looking at things, but in my opinion anybody that ever filled in if was just for one show with Monroe earned the right to be called a Bluegrass Boy. Might be some of these guys making the lists have a differant set of rules on who makes it and who don't. One of the elderly gentlemen in our church congegration used to play fiddle with Mac Wiseman when he played WPAQ way back. I guess some of the ones like Mac just used whoever was avalible locally back then.

f5loar
Mar-19-2010, 12:28pm
Doug Hutchens would be the man to go to for anything Bluegrass Boys. He seems to be their unofficial leader in keeping in contact and arranging reunions with all the guys. The problem with "fill-ins" is that are just that. Usually no more then 3 shows and then they were forgotten. If they wore a hat it was somebody elses and not theirs so therein lies the difference between a real Bluegrass boy and a fill in. I suspect Joe was a fill in or may have double fiddled with Baker for several weeks. Knowing Big Joe the way I do he probably didn't wear a hat then as I doubt Monroe had one on the bus big enough to fit his head.

300win
Mar-19-2010, 2:44pm
Doug Hutchens would be the man to go to for anything Bluegrass Boys. He seems to be their unofficial leader in keeping in contact and arranging reunions with all the guys. The problem with "fill-ins" is that are just that. Usually no more then 3 shows and then they were forgotten. If they wore a hat it was somebody elses and not theirs so therein lies the difference between a real Bluegrass boy and a fill in. I suspect Joe was a fill in or may have double fiddled with Baker for several weeks. Knowing Big Joe the way I do he probably didn't wear a hat then as I doubt Monroe had one on the bus big enough to fit his head.

LOL, yea they probably did not make one that big ! I used to see Doug on a regular basis at the school, always talked about Monroe and the band. He is a good feller.

allenhopkins
Mar-19-2010, 3:07pm
...I guess some of the ones like Mac just used whoever was avalible locally back then.

I saw Wiseman at Bluegrass Canada in 1974; as he was going on stage, he grabbed the band that had just finished their set and were leaving the stage, and said something like "Stick around, boys, and back me up." They looked surprised, but stayed on and played behind him; he was there all alone with his old Gibson guitar. I don't think the band had any idea they were going to back him up; luckily, they had no trouble following his lead. He did all the singing.

Guess you don't see that kind of informality much any more. And the members of that band had "backed up Mac Wiseman" to put in their resumes.

f5loar
Mar-19-2010, 3:30pm
Mac would get the money for a full band at a festival and then show up with his guitar and pick up a local band to back him slipping them a $20 each if they done him good for the set. Mac was easy to follow because he would kick off his songs by singing.
Pete Rowan use to do that too. I remember a festival in VA and he showed up with his guitar and no band and asked if I knew a band there that could back him up. I introduced him to the Lost & Found since I knew they could handle anything Pete would throw at them. Funny thing is none of the Lost & Found had ever heard of Pete Rowan or his music. They did just fine though.

Raymond E.
Mar-19-2010, 8:16pm
Tom...I just picked up the Mac Wiseman DVD that Ronnie Reno advertises all the time on RFD...It has Chubby,Tater,and Joe Greene playing trip fiddles...Joe is exactly the reason I wanted it. And...at one point on there you can hear Joe playing his backup stuff that is just killer fiddling...I truly love my High Country album Baker and he done...just wonderful fiddling with those two playing off each other....

300win
Mar-19-2010, 11:57pm
Tom...I just picked up the Mac Wiseman DVD that Ronnie Reno advertises all the time on RFD...It has Chubby,Tater,and Joe Greene playing trip fiddles...Joe is exactly the reason I wanted it. And...at one point on there you can hear Joe playing his backup stuff that is just killer fiddling...I truly love my High Country album Baker and he done...just wonderful fiddling with those two playing off each other....

Raymond that is the exact album I had, was I right about Butch Robbins picking banjo ?, its been so long ago I can't remember. Big Joe could really play a fiddle, I'd rather hear him than anyone else.

uno
Mar-20-2010, 12:48am
Bringing it back to the origin of the thread: This album is an absolute stand-by and gets plenty of rotation in my house. When I first showed an interest in bluegrass and the mandolin, a good friend gave some rather sagacious advice and recommended I pick up Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe and listen not necessarily to Monroe's breaks but to Kenny's playing in particular. Still am not able to get anywhere near what Kenny was putting down, but it's been a great goal.

On a non-mandolin note, I absolutely drool over some of the banjo breaks on this album.

Overall, a classic album to take notes from and emulate.

Anthony

Raymond E.
Mar-20-2010, 8:58am
Please know that I think Kenny Baker is the finest fiddler ever..I learned much from him and love him dearly to this day. The High Country album just shows how comfortable they both were playing off each other.Joe was free to do as he pleased...and he did. He's playing off Baker with reckless abandon and just popping it...Baker,in turn, does the same thing...absolutely wonderful listening. My other fav, though all his albums are favs,is Grassy Fiddle Blues..fine stuff here..seems like when Joe Stuart was on guitar...it just jelled better somehow...miss Joe Stuarts talent....

poymando
Mar-20-2010, 11:43am
Shameless plug here...been playing a couple of shows paying tribute to "Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe" with former Blue Grass Boys Bob Black and Mark Hembree and mando player Brian Ray and fiddler Paul Kienitz. If anyone digs this record and will be in Wisconsin this summer, we have a couple of festival dates in Brooklyn and Ladysmith, WI.
http://www.bluegrassinbrooklyn.com/
http://www.ladysmithchamber.com/files/10%20bgbrochure.pdf

Jmoss
Apr-01-2010, 5:58pm
http://www.mossware.com/story001.html
Here is an interview I did with Bob Black that was about recording in the Bean Blossom hotel.
I think that these early recordings were done on a shoe-string budget. Later they used
good studios to do the recordings. It had to do with the market at the time and the
money that County was willing to spend. After they started selling a few LPs the money
was there to pay for better recordings. I like the Frost album more than the Baker plays Monroe
for sound, but they are both great LPs. I say LPs because fresh LPs have better freq response
than CDs, LPs= 27khz, CDs= 20khz. This counts when recording the sawtooth waves
of a fiddle. Of course, if you are listening to mp3 files there is no hope anyway.
Both of these albums have that BIG sound which was a change from the days of the
hotel room recordings.

As to Baker's comments on playing in Bb, well, I spent many winters at Baker's with him teaching
me fiddle. He hammered into me that closed strings sounded better than open strings.
He pointed out that the open strings could sound brassy. Baker could play anywhere on
the neck of the fiddle, Bb was just another key for him. He made it clear that he expected me
to do the same. Baker had a lot of respect for Monroe's ideas. He would use them as
well as his own to make me see things in the notes that I would never seen otherwise.
There are a lot of things in this area I could comment on, but I don't want to take too much
of your time here.

Jim Moss



According to banjo player Bob Black it was recorded in a hotel room with the mattresses against the wall. In his book Bob also says that they were told not to change strings, he wanted them played in.

allenhopkins
Apr-01-2010, 9:23pm
Don't know how many know that Baker was a great guitar player as well. (http://www.countysales.com/php-bin/ecomm4/products.php?product_id=1135)

Jmoss
Apr-02-2010, 8:18am
I remember one year in the 1970s at Bean Blossom, Raymond was there, in the back of the park, in a tent as I remember, Baker was playing the guitar all night. He said his mother taught him if I remember correctly. I have both of his guitar albums he did with Josh. He played electric mandolin at one time too. He said it would twin the guitar perfectly.

Jim Moss

AlanN
Apr-02-2010, 8:33am
I used to listen to a bg radio show on Saturday mornings out of WFDU in Teaneck, NJ. Dave Gross was the DJ and he would always open the show with *I think* a KB tune in Bb. Had a nice quirky mandolin solo in there, sounded like Bobby Osborne to me.

farmerjones
Apr-02-2010, 9:55am
i cruise a few other forums, and not a days goes by this CD isn't mentioned, somewhere.
It's Bluegrass College on a disk.
I can't remember the last time i bought a CD and wanted to learn the tunes like this CD.
Wheel Hoss is on a few other'ns, but where are you gonna find Fiddler's Pastime? Maybe the Bear Family collection, but i don't have it.

I gots Stoney Lonesome on the brain right now. :mandosmiley:

pinch me factor still in effect

Jmoss
Apr-03-2010, 8:15am
One winter that I was at Baker's farm I was copying all these Opry shows. They recorded all the BM & the BGB shows on reel to reel. SO I am copying these shows when Baker walks over and hands me this cassette with the rough mixes of his Farmyard Swing album on it. This was the original sessions with Sonny playing banjo. The mix on the actual LP was not good. The fiddle was not always clear do to masking effects. The rough mixes were great. I remember visiting the studio where it was being mixed and looking puzzled in front of the console were Bruce Nemerov and Pat Enright. I think Pat was just visiting, but that mix that Nemerov did was a mess. Baker was really pissed about that.

So things can happen to albums that can get in the way of the projects.
Jim Moss

ralph johansson
Apr-06-2010, 7:03am
http://www.mossware.com/story001.html



As to Baker's comments on playing in Bb, well, I spent many winters at Baker's with him teaching
me fiddle. He hammered into me that closed strings sounded better than open strings.
He pointed out that the open strings could sound brassy. Baker could play anywhere on
the neck of the fiddle, Bb was just another key for him. He made it clear that he expected me
to do the same. Baker had a lot of respect for Monroe's ideas. He would use them as
well as his own to make me see things in the notes that I would never seen otherwise.
There are a lot of things in this area I could comment on, but I don't want to take too much
of your time here.

Jim Moss


The story, if it's true, would have to be about B natural, a signature key with Monroe. Monroe didn't do that many songs in Bb.
Cheyenne, On My Way Back to the Old Home, Life's Railway to Heaven, Old Crossroads (4tet version) are a few of the ones that come to mind.
I believe he also moved Beautiful Life down from C to Bb. As you no doubt know, Bb is a very comfortable and versatile key on the fidle/mandolin. Baker, with his swing backbround, must have played in that key a lot before joining the BG Boys. When Bill Keith brought Sailor's Hornpipe to Monroe's band Baker insisted that it be played in Bb where the tune lies much more neatly than in A.

Raymond E.
Apr-06-2010, 8:33am
Mornin'...
One of my fav things about the Baker plays Monroe album was Monroe took a break on Jerusalem Ridge.When I bought the album with that tune on it and was hearing that tune for the first time...I couldn't wait for Monroes break..didn't happen. Also this album was the first time hearing Mississippi Waltz...did I ever fall in love with that tune...still a mainstay in any jam I'm involved with. Talking about B flat...don't remember the year but it was one of the September festivals...Baker came up with this tune and we were playing it many times every night...he was getting it down to the way he wanted to record it...we were doing it in B flat....next June festival he got right back into this tune but when he started he was doing it in F...I said ,we were doing this in B flat last fall.....his response was..Hell...I aint never played it in B flat...so it wound up in the key of F..and it is a fine one...Tune For Andy .
Kenny Baker is my all time musical hero....if I can get it right..I'll attach a photo of him and myself back at my camp at Beanblossom...he loved those Strohs....

Jmoss
Apr-07-2010, 2:32am
Raymond,
is Baker giving bowing advice to that girl to the other side of you?
Is she a fiddler?
It looks like he is telling her to do something with the bow.

Jim Moss

Jmoss
Apr-07-2010, 4:11am
If Tune for Andy is the tune I remember then it starts out with a banjo lick.
Here is a little story, this tune is it was recorded at the same time as I was recording my Tanyards album. The studio was booked with my sessions in the day and Baker's tunes in the night. At Baker's farm we went over both albums tunes as Bob Black and Jesse were playing on both albums. So Baker picks up Bob's banjo and starts to play this little melody....
bah- bah bah, bah- bah bah, bah- bah- bah- bah.... and so on.
There is a photo of this somewhere.

Baker told us that this little riff came from his memory of a cartoon he saw years back where this panda bear was playing the tune on the banjo. So Baker committed it to memory for future use. Then at the house he played it for Bob. Everyone was saying, "you mean... you can play the banjo too?" They were talking about calling it Pandorama for a bit.

What a great experience that was, getting to watch the old pro's recording a great album. I learn a lot watching how they gave each other space. I mean, Tanyards was my first solo album... so with these guys watching... it was like a trial by fire, but what a great experience. It was a pressure cooker for sure. I mean, these were my heroes.

That was where I heard the story about Curly Ray recording his album in single takes. They said the engineer would ask Curly, "would you like to hear that back?" to which Curly just said, "No, just move to the next one". Jesse and Baker were chuckling over in the corner of the studio about that. When I asked they told me the story.

Baker would always say that he recorded tunes in the first or second take. Well, that was probably true only when he recorded a tune that first take would last 4 hours. :-) I remember watching him with Tom & Jerry and Beautiful Dreamer and thinking, now I know what he means. They just went over and over the tune without stopping for hours.... And somewhere in there I guess the engineer was suppose to get a take... Baker seemed to have the tune pretty much how he wanted it. He used this time to let the band get it together. It all sounded good, but as they played on it sounded even better. It was just great to sit there watching them work together all night and into the early dawn.

I remember Jesse was like a computer when he did cross-picking on my album. The next day Jesse told me that Baker was like a computer in that once he heard a tune he could remember it note for note forever. For Baker's album, Highlights, Joe Stuart was playing just bass-runs and Charlie Collins played strums. So together they had this big sound. What a great experience.

When the LP came out, I looked at it, and it looked just like my Tanyards LP... same concept. I called Baker and said, "your new album looks familiar... "
He said, "Yep... I knew I would hear from you... thing is, that was not my idea".
I said, "Well... I am glad I could help. I stole the idea from from a Heifetz album".

One thing... Baker's recording of Call of the Shepherd was different from the way he played it in 1973. I have a field recording that I made back at Bean Blossom in 1973 where Baker shows the tune to someone at a late night jam in front of Peva's camp. Baker called it "Monroe's new number".
When I recorded Call of the Shepherd on Sleeping Lady, I decided to play it the way Baker played it at that late night jam in 1973. This was the first time I ever heard the tune and it had special meaning for me.

Jim Moss