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BradKlein
Sep-26-2010, 7:36pm
Forgive me if these have been pointed out, but there's a real treasure trove of videos of the Johnson Mountain Boys from a 2/20/88 show in Lucketts, VA. Lot's of great mandolin, and of course wonderful vocals from Dudley Connell and the boys.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRPp4_7AF58

Ivan Kelsall
Sep-27-2010, 12:42am
I've watched most if not all of them over the last few months. I saw them over here in the UK with Tom Adams on Banjo years back & they were smokin',
Ivan;)

Willie Poole
Sep-27-2010, 11:12am
I love that hard driving sound...The only problem I have ever had about them is that I wasn`t asked to become their mandolin player back when they had David join back up with them, he served as their fiddle player for a while before he became the mandolin player...
That band started about the same time as my band and we have done some shows together in "The good ole days"...Eddie Stubbs has been a friend for many years, he plyed his first "paid" performance with a pick up band with me....Or so I was told, I still have pix of that night....Good memories.....Willie

Willie Poole
Sep-27-2010, 11:20am
I forgot to mention that my band played an antique auto show at Lucketts yesterday and it went just great...There are a lot of bluegrass fans that always seem to show up at the "Old Schoolhouse"...One lady told me that she went to school there when it was a one room school house...she didn`t tell me her age but she did say that it was 65 or so years ago...Nice lady and still very active....Sorry to get off of the original post......Willie

BradKlein
Sep-27-2010, 4:08pm
I love that hard driving sound...

That band really understood the bluegrass quintet, and how the parts fit together. Everyone's playing just enough. Tight and spare. They might as well be instructional videos. I can't think of a better set of lessons in 'how to make it work'.

J.Albert
Sep-27-2010, 10:06pm
"Forgive me if these have been pointed out, but there's a real treasure trove of videos of the Johnson Mountain Boys from a 2/20/88 show in Lucketts, VA. Lot's of great mandolin, and of course wonderful vocals from Dudley Connell and the boys."

This concert was their last show as a "regular" band, and these are the performances that are on the "At The Old Schoolhouse" album. I saw them just a few weeks' earlier in Norwich, CT.

I'm guessing that the YouTube videos are snippets of what was intended to be a documentary film of that final performance that never made it to completion.

Still, it's great to see this stuff, anyway. They were THE most exciting band in bluegrass during their time. They did re-unite for a brief summer tour around 1990, but it was just for a few shows. I wish they'd done some more, in the way that Hot Rize has continued to do.

- John

Monrovia
Sep-27-2010, 11:50pm
I saw the JMB in 1981 at a tiny show in Amherst, MA, and they completely knocked my socks off. Dudley Connell is the most powerful singer I've ever seen up close. Unfortunately for Dudley, his guitar was destroyed the night before in a bar fight - in his words:
“I bought my first Martin guitar in 1974, when I was eighteen years old. It was a D-35 that I purchased from a Catholic priest. He felt that it was a little disrespectful to play such a fine instrument in front of his congregation while asking for contributions to the church. Unfortunately, that guitar was destroyed during a barroom brawl in Amherst, Massachusetts while on an early tour with the Johnson Mountain Boys. I still have the pieces.”

Ivan Kelsall
Sep-28-2010, 1:07am
As a 'sort of' aside to the main thread, i was told that the main reason why they broke up in the first instance,was the distance that the individual members had to travel to get together as a band - is this true ?. The US is such a colossal area,that i can well imagine it,& i suspect that there may be many bands with similar logistical problems. They were one of the very finest (if not THE finest) Traditional Bluegrass 'revival' bands at the time & it's nice to see the odd member still playing. Tom Adams has had his problems with his right hand which more or less made him give up playing Banjo as he did,but he's up & running playing Guitar with Michael Cleveland's band "Flamekeeper",Marshall Wilborn's in there on Bass fiddle. I believe Eddie Stubbs has an 'Opry attachment', but as for the others,are they playing regularly any more ?,
Ivan

Fretbear
Sep-28-2010, 2:08am
This is an upside to that modern age which some of us that lean towards the traditional side sometimes tend to curse. You have the luxury of seeing and hearing someone like David McLaughlin play his solos on this Monroe classic up close and personal for you as many times as you want, even though this band has long since ceased to be. Thanks for posting that.

Willie Poole
Sep-28-2010, 11:39am
I was (and still am) a close friend of Richard Underwood, the banjo player for JMB, and he was wanting to get his college degree so the traveling really cut into his school time and studies, he is now playing with Scott Brannon in and around Winchester Va and W.Va. area...Richard is a hard driving banjer player and I always enjoyed his playing.....Willie

Mike Bunting
Sep-28-2010, 11:55am
I was (and still am) a close friend of Richard Underwood, the banjo player for JMB, and he was wanting to get his college degree so the traveling really cut into his school time and studies, he is now playing with Scott Brannon in and around Winchester Va and W.Va. area...Richard is a hard driving banjer player and I always enjoyed his playing.....Willie
I'd heard Richard Underwood was playing with the Reunion Band up in Boston. Has that changed?

Willie Poole
Sep-28-2010, 10:16pm
I can`t say for sure but I thought Underwood was still playing with Scott Brannon....I`ll check that out and get back to you soon.....Willie

Mike Bunting
Sep-28-2010, 11:33pm
The Reunion Band's website still lists him as the banjo. I know that this time last year Richie was enthusiastic about having him in the band, but that was a year ago.
http://reunionbluegrass.com/index.html

Ivan Kelsall
Sep-29-2010, 1:13am
Richard Underwood is certainly an ace Banjo player & i've got all the stuff he did with the JMB's on record. One of my favourites of his,is "Newton Grove". The only drawback with that tune is that i'll start off playing it & end up playing "Clinch Mt. Backstep",they're so alike in parts. It's nice to know that he's still playing,
Ivan

Willie Poole
Sep-29-2010, 11:03am
Mike, I checked with another friend of mine and Richards and he did move to Mass. a while back...I didn`t know that, sorry to have misled anyone.....Willie

re simmers
Sep-29-2010, 11:48am
JMB and the Album Band, IMHO perfected the traditional driving AND mournful bluegrass. Who did the guitar on "See God's Ark A Moving?" Was it David or Dudley? It's on the very last project and it's very well done.

Dudley is a great singer and an underrated guitar player. Lots of different rhythms in the JMB, Seldom Scene, Seneca Rocks & Rigsby stuff, and Dudley makes it look easy. Good front man, too.

They were a good show band, and had the skills to put out some super recordings. Great material.

Bob

EggerRidgeBoy
Sep-29-2010, 8:10pm
As a 'sort of' aside to the main thread, i was told that the main reason why they broke up in the first instance,was the distance that the individual members had to travel to get together as a band - is this true ?.

but as for the others,are they playing regularly any more ?,
Ivan

I'm not sure about that as a reason for breaking up. At least in the beginning they were all from the DC area. Obviously that might have changed over the years, but even today Dudley, Marshall, David, and Tom live within a couple hours of DC (I think). I'm not sure when Richard moved to Boston, and Eddie to Nashville.

Over the past few years, I have gotten to see 4/5ths of the band play together, either in the now-defunct Seneca Rocks (Dudley, Tom, Marshall, David, along with Sally Love), or backing up Hazel Dickens (Dudley, Richard, Marshall, and David). Every time I saw either of those line-ups, I couldn't help but wish Eddie would show up and sit in on fiddle for a few tunes.

As you mentioned, Tom and Marshall play with Michael Cleveland. David plays a good bit in the DC area, but not with a full-time group at the moment as far as I know. Dudley of course is with the Seldom Scene. At a Hazel Dickens show this past March, Richard said he was still playing with the Reunion Band in Boston. And of course Eddie is an announcer and in-house historian at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville.

I have heard Dudley talk about a Johnson Mountain Boys reunion a couple of times in the past two or three years, in that he said he just didn't have any interest in that. Not that he doesn't enjoy playing with the other band members - obviously, since he has done so many times over the past decade - but he doesn't want to try to recapture the JMB sound so many years later. He says - only half-jokingly - that they would have to practice for months to get back to their 1980s sound, and that anyway he can't hit all the notes he'd need to hit to recreate the songs everyone recalls so fondly. I'm guessing that most of their fans wouldn't care if they didn't sound quite like they did 25 years ago, especially since they would not be any means sound worse - just perhaps a bit different. The four of them sounded wonderful six months ago playing with Hazel. Not like the Johnson Mountain Boys, but about as good as I could imagine a bluegrass group being.

Ivan Kelsall
Sep-30-2010, 12:45am
ERB - Many thanks for the up-date. I'm pretty sure that if the JMB's did re-unite,they'd attract all their old fans back in no time flat !.
It was nice to hear Dudley Connell & Marshall Wilborn with the "Long View" band,unfortunately that seems to have been a recording band only & nothing's been forthcoming from them in a while now,
Ivan

re simmers
Sep-30-2010, 11:36am
The youtube videos are priceless, professionally done. Like they say about the PGA Tour, "These guys are good!"

If they got back together they would still be great. Dudley is possibly a better singer today that in the JMB days. They all still play. They had fanastic timing and a perfect tempo to each song they played. They also were great at being a "band," and not a bunch of individuals playing over top of one another. They knew how to work the mikes. Even some really good bands today don't get that.

Bob

tiltman
Sep-30-2010, 2:47pm
Hey Ivan,

Longview is still around...they've released a new cd in the last couple of years (Lou Reid has replaced Dudley Connell) and played at the Columbia Gorge Bluegrass Festival (Washington State) this past summer. They are still incredible.

Kirk

J.Albert
Sep-30-2010, 6:02pm
"I have heard Dudley talk about a Johnson Mountain Boys reunion a couple of times in the past two or three years, in that he said he just didn't have any interest in that. Not that he doesn't enjoy playing with the other band members - obviously, since he has done so many times over the past decade - but he doesn't want to try to recapture the JMB sound so many years later. He says - only half-jokingly - that they would have to practice for months to get back to their 1980s sound, and that anyway he can't hit all the notes he'd need to hit to recreate the songs everyone recalls so fondly. I'm guessing that most of their fans wouldn't care if they didn't sound quite like they did 25 years ago, especially since they would not be any means sound worse - just perhaps a bit different. The four of them sounded wonderful six months ago playing with Hazel. Not like the Johnson Mountain Boys, but about as good as I could imagine a bluegrass group being."

My suggestion to Dudley would be that he -- and everyone else -- don't have to "sound exactly like they used to". I don't think those of us who enjoyed and appreciated the Johnson Mountain Boys expect that.

It wouldn't matter if they didn't do all the old songs over again, or that if they chose to do a few of the older songs, that the arrangements (particularly the vocals) might need to be reworked. Wouldn't matter one whit.

Just get together and do a series of shows with some new material. Perhaps Dudley has a few songs stashed away that he's never worked up. I thought some of the things that Seneca Rocks was doing were fine.

I'm certain that a small "reunion tour" of The JMB would be very-well received. They might even earn some decent money this time!

- John

Ivan Kelsall
Oct-01-2010, 5:26am
Hi Kirk - Thanks for the heads up on Longview. I've got their other CD's i'll look the new one up,especially as i'm a great fan of Lou Reid who i met at the '92 IBMA bash in Owensboro - i think he was playing with Doyle Lawson (whom i also met) at the time,
Ivan

Tom Mullen
Oct-03-2010, 10:56am
I read an article last year that quoted Eddie as saying, that "he would never play in a JMB re-union show." I'm not sure if there are under currents with Eddie and other members of the JMB.

RB250
Oct-05-2010, 7:24am
How is David doing with the hearing problem he had? Heard he got a special hearing aid. Is he back playing and OK. Sure would love him to do another instructional DVD like what he did for Murphy Method. One of my favorite players!
RB250

GTison
Oct-18-2010, 9:59pm
What year did they call it quits?

I remember an open letter to Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine which Dudley told why they were going to disband. Seems to me it had mostly to do with the band members all getting an equal share of the pay. And that equal share did not translate into a decent living enough to support a family. Really a sobering thought to me at the time but it is still true. So, if you play occasionally you can have a day job to support your bluegrass habit.

Like Snuffy Smith said he had to quit music because of medical reasons, ... he was starving to death.

swampstomper
Oct-19-2010, 9:06am
I saw the exact band in the video three days before that "final" concert (Old Schoolhouse). It would have been 17 Feb 1988, in a small bar in Auburn, upstate NY. They must have been travelling "one more time" from shows somewhere else in the northeast, heading for the final show that weekend. It was a Wednesday if I remember correctly. There was a big snowstorm, three of us drove up from Ithaca at about 20 mph through all those Cayuga County snowdrifts. About 20 people were in the bar. But the JMB put on the show like we were 20,000. Dudley got so worked up on "Blue Yodel #4" (? the one that starts "She's long, she's tall) he just kept on going to give Eddie and David more breaks. We got our money's worth. Going home was another adventure, at midnight on those winter roads, but fueled with JMB we were so high from the show it didn't matter. It seems like yesterday. That emotion could never be captured again -- they and we were much younger....

J.Albert
Oct-19-2010, 10:28pm
"It would have been 17 Feb 1988, in a small bar in Auburn, upstate NY. They must have been travelling "one more time" from shows somewhere else in the northeast, heading for the final show that weekend."

I believe the date may have been February 12, 1988. At least that's what it says on the recording I have of that show (2/12 was a Sunday).

It was _very_ well recorded and mixed. I'm wondering if they didn't have a pro rig "in the back" recording it as a back-up for the "final recording" of the Lucketts VA show a few days' later.

- John

swampstomper
Oct-20-2010, 1:56am
Hmmm.... John, you may be right, but I am almost positive the show I went to in Auburn NY was at mid-week. I am almost positive it was the same week as the Luckett's show (20th Feb. was a Saturday, they were at Lucketts then, so 17th was the Wed.). Memory after 22 years may be faulty but I am almost positive it was not a Sunday. Presumably the recording you have is from the same "tour" but a few days earlier at a larger venue. As I said, I think the mid-week gig was rounding out a tour with small dates (typical of Auburn, Ithaca etc. to get good bands in mid-week, that was the modus operandi of the long-lamented original Haunt in Ithaca). I don't recall anything special in the way of pro recording rig at this small bar, although the sound was indeed very good. The bar was all wood floors and fairly high ceiling (IIRC) so acoustics were probably good. It was on Grant Ave (NY5) but I don't recall the name.

"The recording I have...." ... is this a publically-available recording? Wow that would bring back the memories.

grassrootphilosopher
Oct-20-2010, 5:18am
The question when and why the Johnson Mountain Boys broke up is answered by Dudley Conell on the Seldom Scene website (http://www.seldomscene.com/fr_dudleyconnell.cfm). Seems like they were road weary.

As to how David McLaughlin is doing check the Unoficial Martin Guitar Forum at www.umgf.com and browse for David McLaughlins name. He sold some guitars there and was outspoken upon his hearing problems. His hearing aids do help him a lot even though he is flying by intuition radar when it comes to playing music. There´s also this thread (http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?63659-David-McLaughlin&highlight=david+mclaughlin).