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Thread: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

  1. #26
    Registered User Wastafair's Avatar
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Skip Gorman: "The Old Style Mandolin" vol. 1 & 2 and "Mandolin In The Cow Camp" albums!
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  2. #27

    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Wayne Yates with Red Allen & the Kentuckians, 1960's and '70's.

    I have this album on vinyl, and it has the unpolished early-bluegrass kind of "vibe" that you may be looking for. There's at least one other album on YouTube.



    This is fantastic

    Thank you

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  4. #28

    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    This is the best thread I've read yet on Mandolin Cafe and it really speaks to my heart.

    It was my hearing Bill Monroe's "Bluegrass Stomp" or one of his downstroke-heavy instrumentals on a local public radio station when I was a Rolling Stones-obsessed teen in the early '70s that made me sit up and take notice -- the drive and power of it spoke to me immediately in the same way as blues or rock 'n' roll had done.

    Don't want to hijack this thread, but maybe an ancillary one to this might be: How do you learn to PLAY raw earthy mandolin in the tradition of early Monroe and those cited above?

    I agree that key #1 is the pure attitude, the "groove" or whatever you want to call it.

    But in addition to that, any types/brands/characteristics of mandolins, strings, picks conducive to getting this sound today?

    What techniques feature prominently in the early raw style and can help today's player go in that direction?

    (If this is too off-topic from the discography angle, my apologies and I can set it up as a new thread separately.)

  5. #29

    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Quote Originally Posted by callmegina View Post

    Don't want to hijack this thread, but maybe an ancillary one to this might be: How do you learn to PLAY raw earthy mandolin in the tradition of early Monroe and those cited above?

    I agree that key #1 is the pure attitude, the "groove" or whatever you want to call it.

    But in addition to that, any types/brands/characteristics of mandolins, strings, picks conducive to getting this sound today?

    What techniques feature prominently in the early raw style and can help today's player go in that direction?

    (If this is too off-topic from the discography angle, my apologies and I can set it up as a new thread separately.)
    Well I think it's, as Chris Henry has said about Mr.Monroe, a very impressionistic interpretation of the songs.....there is alot of virtuosity in the above players, and also TONS of heart.

    When Terry Zwigoff made his documentary on Howard Armstrong, he didn't even own a mandolin, let alone played a mandolin for 20+ years....they got him a pawn shop Stella and this is what comes out.

    https://youtu.be/mnJPYs9Fkkk

    This was dance music...it wasn't so important what instruments they were playing, as long as everyone was dancing and the party went all night long!

    From my experience, I believe alot of the guys/gals played whatever instruments they could get their hands on or afford. So it's not so much, IMO, the instruments that mattered, but the music. Although if you wanna capture "THAT" sound it's good to look at old pics and realize they were probably stringing them up with "mona steel" strings.

    In a more modern vein, I would suggest listening to David Long and Mike Comptons "Stomp".....a GREAT record that harkens back to the early styles of pre/post bluegrass mandolin.

    As to how you learn this style, in our modern age there are so many great video lessons out there. I learned it almost exclusively by ear, which I highly recommend if you have the patience.

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  7. #30
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Quote Originally Posted by oliverkollar View Post
    I would start here....raw and earthy as can be!

    https://www.discogs.com/Various-Vint.../master/746346

    Google it....it's available as hard copy and different streaming platforms......it's killer!

    Different genre wise as well, but I like to think it's where "The Father" got some of his influence from.
    Thanks, now I'm $12.99 poorer.

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  9. #31
    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Buzz Busby! …. Jimmy Gaudreau turned me onto Buzz back in 1976 in Shannock, RI, the small "town" where Jimmy came from and where my grandmother had a place on a nearby pond where I lived a couple years after her death. Thanks Mr. JG!

    Honky Tonk Bluegrass is right! As much George Jones as it is BG. I really dug that record. Check out the intense solo on "Rambler"… One-of-a-kind tremelo!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCC5kucIwvw


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  11. #32
    Spencer Sorenson Spencer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post
    Talking about early bluegrass mandolin that has a "raw" sound I would suggest

    - Red Cravens and The Bray Brothers should be on your list
    I've probably heard more of Nate Bray's playing than anybody on the list, and I guess I have to disagree a bit here. Not in quality, he was a fantastic player, but I never felt that his playing was "raw". I always felt that he had a sound base in Monroe style, but polished it up played it with finesse and clean picking, and often with a lightness/bounce. He could do the standard Monroe stuff, but I don't think I wouldn't call his versions of Home Sweet Home and Little Birdie "raw". Beautifully played though, and I agree that his playing should be on the list, as he really deserves a listen. YMMV

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  12. #33
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    I was lucky enough to meet Howard Armstrong a couple of times and he probably got his toilet to play music! A really fascinating human being
    And test it was dance music long before it grew into what it is today. Scroll through Datanick’s thread on Bill Monroe Videos and his Mandolin is constant but, I say to watch it so you can see how HE even changed over time. Powerful thread!
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  13. #34
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Don't want to hijack this thread, but maybe an ancillary one to this might be: How do you learn to PLAY raw earthy mandolin in the tradition of early Monroe and those cited above?

    Well, Callmegina, the Monroe Mandolin Camp is less than two months away.
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  15. #35

    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Quote Originally Posted by callmegina View Post
    Don't want to hijack this thread, but maybe an ancillary one to this might be: How do you learn to PLAY raw earthy mandolin in the tradition of early Monroe and those cited above?
    I agree that key #1 is the pure attitude, the "groove" or whatever you want to call it.
    But in addition to that, any types/brands/characteristics of mandolins, strings, picks conducive to getting this sound today?
    I think questions about picks, strings, brands, etc. are exactly the types of concerns that move us away from producing this kind of music.

    Also, you're right, questions about how to make these sounds should be its own thread.

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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Quote Originally Posted by vanguard View Post
    I think questions about picks, strings, brands, etc. are exactly the types of concerns that move us away from producing this kind of music. Also, you're right, questions about how to make these sounds should be its own thread.
    I agree, it's told that Monroe was asked what pick he used, he showed the one in his hand and said " this one today". While I think that the brands, strings, picks, etc don't make a pickers sound it is still interesting to know.

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    A good musician can take whatever is put in his hand and make it sound pretty good!
    There are several stories about Monroe swatting something out on a kids instrument and handing it back with the comment”It ain’t the Mandolin.”
    Meaning, of course, that all that was really needed was more practice and experience. It’s not the “stuff”, it’s the desire to make the music that will develop an understanding about “how something is done”.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Hi Allen - I've had that LP for a long while,it's terrific. Their version of ''Hello City Limits'' is the best i've heard,
    Ivan
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  20. #39
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spencer View Post
    ... I have to disagree a bit here. Not in quality, he was a fantastic player, but I never felt that his playing was "raw". I always felt that he had a sound base in Monroe style, but polished it up played it with finesse and clean picking, and often with a lightness/bounce. ...

    Spencer /Nate's biggest fan
    I think that we are in a discussion about the term "raw". By raw I do not mean "sloppy" or "simple" or "uneducated" or "sounds like these 40ies records".

    By raw I mean a quality to produce tension in the music (think blue notes, snycopation and stuff [for lack of better wording]). Nate Bray certainly did this. So I think there´s no real disagreement there.



    In modern bluegrass my prime examples for rawness (in fiddle musicians) are Hunter Berry and Owen Saunders. The next video is Hunter Berry (raw) and Josh Williams (slick).



    I think people mistake a low recording quality for a "rawness" in the music. Bill Monroe´s music builds tension. But if you listen to (one of my favorites) "Heavy Traffic Ahead" there´s no sloppynes and no simple music in there.



    @ Rush: Who´s the banjo player in the Dixie Pals´ photo? (I agree about Dick Staber)

    @ Timbfood: I am really fond of Pee Wee Lambert´s mandolin playing. Ricky Skaggs has the Pee Wee Lambert Loar (restored by Steve Gilchrist) now. Harry West reportedly said that it´s one of the best LL F-5 mandolins.
    Olaf

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  22. #40
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    To me raw is the opposite of slick. Slick to it's ultimate degree is what we know as elevator music. So many of the modern mandolin players and bluegrass players in general are on their way to that. Raw is not derogatory nor do I consider it simple or the sound of poor recording although a lot of it was recorded on equipment that wasn't even up to par at the time and to a certain extent sounded simpler than some now. The main difference, in my opinion, was the emotion and the drive ( which is sadly lacking in a lot of today's music).

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  24. #41
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Exactly, Mandoplumb!
    The heartfelt powerful expression, the “in your face” quotient is what I see as raw. It’s not intricate, it’s not simple, it’s sometimes both, it’s very hard for me to express verbally, getting the balance between pure strength and accuracy is something I still struggle with even after doing it for all this time.
    I still try to get “that sound” on some tunes my band does. Some days it works, some days I fall flat on my behind!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    IMHO - "Raw'' is very often the way the performers want it to sound,by way of 'authenticity' - so,IMHO (again), it can be a 'manufactured' sound. ''The New Lost City Ramblers'' as a unit,& Mike Seeger,as a solo musician, used to visit,the UK very often in the past, & they almost always played at my 'local' folk club,the MSG (Manchester Sports Guild). They could sing the subtlest of songs & they could also turn up the volume & crank out some of the 'rawest' songs that you ever heard - when they wanted to. It was purely a matter of 'how' they wished the song to sound.

    Listen to this version of ''Wild Bill Jones'' by Dirk Powell. I've no doubt that 'if' he'd wanted to,he could almost have 'crooned' the song,but it's Old Timey 'authenticity' would have pretty well sunk !. It's sung the way That DP wanted it to sound - thank goodness (& Dirk Powell !),
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  26. #43

    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    I don't think Joe Val has been mentioned. A great player in the Monroe style whose singing is also both high and lonesome.



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

    Pistol Packing Mama is one of the best Frank Wakefield albums--includes Chubby Wise and Don Reno, a master class in bluegrass.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYUOZWqse8o&t=111s
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  28. #44

    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    I was at Bluewaters Bluegrass Festival last night and saw Po' Ramblin Boys. They are old school bluegrass to my ears. C.J. Lewandowski was great on mandolin and might be what you are looking for. He was playing a McClanahan mandolin and it sounded great. The banjo player Jereme Brown was just great as well. Check them out
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gi2l-9D6oo

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  30. #45
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Good call Don!
    I love Joe Val! I don’t listen to him as much as I used to but what a sound!
    Glad to see Wake Frankfield has been brought into the conversation too, one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet! He used my Alvarez to play “Get Up John” when he played here! I’ve been lucky to hear and meet some of the great ones. Too bad I missed some.
    So, where do we put Jesse McReynolds in this? He is such an original sound, the power and precision falls in his own most distinctive style, I happened to catch a stretch of an old RFD show with Jim, Jesse, and the whole bunch. They did “Are You Missing Me?” ! There is raw power in his style in spades! It’s not the least bit like anyone else before or after but, pour me a cup of that anytime and I’ll take it right down!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  31. #46
    Registered User f5joe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    Ronnie Thomas of Dry Branch Fire Squad
    I believe you are referring to Ron Thomason.
    ..... f5joe

  32. #47

    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    In addition to the already mentioned Document compilation Rags, Breakdowns, Stomps and Blues: Vintage Mandolin Music 1927-1946, there's an interesting Rounder compilation Early Mandolin Classics, Vol. 1; there doesn't seem to have been a volume 2.

    EMC covers a wider gamut of musical styles

  33. #48
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    Here's the West Coast band the Earl Brothers who specialize in hard core grass with a modern twist.
    https://youtu.be/F8x8Z18UEKQ

  34. #49
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    Default Re: Other primitive, raw mandolin music like early Bill Monroe?

    In the Old Time vein there are the Ill Mo Boys with fiddle and mandolin going at it!
    https://youtu.be/pi89yOp7UjA

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