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Thread: Bill Monroe

  1. #26

    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    The only thing I remember being any kind of "issue", and that was really back in the 70's, was that there was a bit of "aggro" sometimes between fans of "Newgrass" (with long hair) and some of the traditional stalwarts. The thing with Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs was already ancient history to just about everyone except the actual participants. Even the "long hair" thing did not last that long, and Monroe came to see things differently, eventually. No better person to talk about that than Sam Bush:

    Monroe was a very complex character. He was also a 20th C. musical genius, one of the very few people to have originated an entire genre, and someone who took what was a very obscure instrument at the time and elevated it to preeminence within that genre. He was not a one-dimensional, cardboard cutout - but a real person with many sides to his character. Musically, a giant, up there with Charlie Parker, Django, the Beatles and other key innovators. Not 'merely' a player either, but a songwriter of great sensitivity who produced a whole stream of classics that will be played and listened to for as long as anyone remains interested in bluegrass music. The man also differentiates himself from so many other artists by including so much true biographical material in his work. He was not acting or pretending. He was the real thing.





    It is worth some effort trying to understand what he did, and how he did it. He had some flaws, yes, but who doesn't? He was a real person through and through, though, and remained true to his vision through good times and bad. I have nothing but huge admiration for what he did, and his music touched me like nothing else ever has. For that I will always be very grateful that Bill Monroe was... Bill Monroe.
    Yes, yes and yes!
    And the greatest of all was Jenny Lynn.

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  3. #27
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    To me, that's where the fiddlin' begins.
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Right up there The Beatles? I know you like Monroe, so do I, but that is just plain silly.

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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    Right up there The Beatles? I know you like Monroe, so do I, but that is just plain silly.
    Why is it silly? Monroe may never have reached the same level of fame and celebrity with teenage girls as the Beatles, but musically speaking, he was every bit the innovator that the Beatles were. Perhaps even more so.

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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    "....but musically speaking, he was every bit the innovator that the Beatles were."

    Hear, hear.

    Tim Wilson

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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    ....and Bill Monroe and the Beatles are both in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So there you go.

    Tim Wilson

  11. #32
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by twilson View Post
    ....and Bill Monroe and the Beatles are both in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So there you go.

    Tim Wilson
    Along with ABBA and the Dave Clark Five, among others . . .
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  12. #33
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    Right up there The Beatles? I know you like Monroe, so do I, but that is just plain silly.
    I don't think so.

    Listen to Monroe's blues licks as early as 1939. Then listen to Chuck Berry. Who's song did Elvis make a huge hit from?

    Play this on electric guitar and tell me it's not an important part of the birth of Rock 'n Roll:



    The original cut of that was in October, 1940. You can add 'Doghouse blues' and 'Muleskinner Blues' too.

    Like Bill Haley?

    How about this:



    Rocky Road Blues, Blue Grass Special... pure rock n' roll licks and rhythm going on there - all 10 years before other people (who had certainly heard it) 'electrified' it.

    Who inspired the Beatles? Chuck Berry and Bill Haley.

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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycat View Post
    Along with ABBA and the Dave Clark Five, among others . . .
    LOL, you got me

    tim wilson

  15. #35
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Not to digress too much..but ABBA (and the Dave Clark Five) were also great innovators, and certainly ABBA were excellent arrangers, producers and songwriters. Their studio work was well ahead of the curve. Benny and Björn have a very considerable back-catalog of stuff which has stood the test of time, and indeed, Benny started out in a folk-skiffle outfit, inspired by Lonnie Donnegan... They were (and are) good musicians, despite the impression given by some of the videos
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  16. #36

    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    Benny started out in a folk-skiffle outfit, inspired by Lonnie Donnegan...
    Skiffle was kind of an English version of Rockabilly without the electric lead guitar! Both the Quarrymen (early Beatles) and Jimmy Page played in skiffle bands early on.

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quite so, yes. He was a big influence on many of the early rock n' rollers, and like Monroe, also had Elvis record a song he had penned: "I'll Never Fall in Love Again". Brian May (Queen), Mark Knopfler and many others cite him as being very influential on their early musical development.

    In turn, he drew heavily from American folk/blues/bluegrass genres, recording such early material as "Rock Island Line" and "Cumberland Gap".

    There was a lot of cross-pollination going on...
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  18. #38

    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    There's also a direct line to be drawn from Bill Monroe through Lonnie Donegan to the Beatles:



    http://books.google.com/books?id=ttn...monroe&f=false

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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    I don't claim to be an expert on all things Monroe but I have read every book ever written about the man and his music. If there was a riff at this festival or any other CA festival in the mid 80's it was not over the man and his music or the promoter would not have booked him there. Monroe was one of the higher paid acts on festivals at this time. He was a big drawing card. If there was less people there it could have been a number of reasons other than a "riff" as you friend pointed out. Possible your friend was one of the "newgrassers" that just didn't care for the "oldgrassers". But for most by '85 Monroe's shows even with new incoming Bluegrass Boys, you pretty much got the same ole same ole each year from about 1982 until he died. Sure there was the occasional new song or instrumental thrown in the mix but you knew the hit songs he would do. By this time you had bands like Johnson Mtn. Boys, Hot Rise, New Grass Revival, New South, etc. that were putting on some very entertaining shows that made the Father's shows look pale in comparison. I remember one newcomer to a festival watching Monroe and saying "why do they all just stand there and not smile when playing?" So maybe that's it. But an actual riff with Monroe by '85 would have been disrespectful and totally uncalled for. And yes Monroe made up with Flatt & Scruggs right after they broke up in the early 70's. They both appeared at his festivals but not at the same time. Usually one year Flatt, the next year Scruggs or for certain not on the same day.

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Well, heckfire, people argue everything else about Monroe, et al. Why not argue about why he was arguing with someone else?
    belbein

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  22. #41

    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    By this time you had bands like Johnson Mtn. Boys, Hot Rise, New Grass Revival, New South, etc. that were putting on some very entertaining shows that made the Father's shows look pale in comparison.
    I heard Stubbs and the JMBs were all upset about being lumped in with the hippies.
    (Just kidding. I know that's not what you meant.)

  23. #42
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    And now, rednecks look like Hippies, ha,ha,ha, and hipsters look like beatnicks!
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by OldSausage View Post
    There's also a direct line to be drawn from Bill Monroe through Lonnie Donegan to the Beatles:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=ttn...monroe&f=false
    That's interesting. I didn't know Wally Whyton (The Vipers) had written a hit for Lonnie Donegan. I knew Wally Whyton. I had a custom Martin D-41 with a very fancy fingerboard inlay in the late 70's, and Wally saw it one time, and asked if he could buy it. I eventually gave in, and I believe he had it up until the time of his death in 1997. At one time he hosted a BBC radio program called "Country Meets Folk" and did a lot to promote bluegrass in the UK. He was quite a fan of Monroe himself.
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  26. #44
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    No better person to talk about that than Sam Bush:

    Monroe was a very complex character. He was also a 20th C. musical genius, one of the very few people to have originated an entire genre, and someone who took what was a very obscure instrument at the time and elevated it to preeminence within that genre. He was not a one-dimensional, cardboard cutout - but a real person with many sides to his character. Musically, a giant, up there with Charlie Parker, Django, the Beatles and other key innovators.
    I think there might be a little myopia here. Only bluegrass enthusiasts – mostly mandolin players – put Bill Monroe up in this category with Charlie Parker and so forth. I'm not saying that he isn't a major cultural figure, but it does bear consideration that we all know who Charlie Parker and Django and the Beatles are, but only a tiny fraction of their following know who Bill Monroe is.

  27. #45

    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by SincereCorgi View Post
    I think there might be a little myopia here. Only bluegrass enthusiasts – mostly mandolin players – put Bill Monroe up in this category with Charlie Parker and so forth. I'm not saying that he isn't a major cultural figure, but it does bear consideration that we all know who Charlie Parker and Django and the Beatles are, but only a tiny fraction of their following know who Bill Monroe is.
    He said musically speaking. I would say that most people don't know who Bird or Django were. I don't believe that popular renown is a good gauge for judging musical influence.

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  29. #46
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by OldSausage View Post
    There's also a direct line to be drawn from Bill Monroe through Lonnie Donegan to the Beatles:


    http://books.google.com/books?id=ttn...monroe&f=false
    This is great stuff. It's easy to see that there wouldn't have been any Beatles without it:

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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    This is a gem... priceless!

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  31. #48
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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycat View Post
    This is great stuff. It's easy to see that there wouldn't have been any Beatles without it:
    I think some of you are overdoing the revisionism here. From the vantage point of the present looking back toward the past, it's easy to play connect-the-dots and say this led to that. But as things were happening, it's just about impossible for outside observers to tell who influenced whom. Who knows what artists one was listening to and how much of what they were doing had an effect on that person's musical output? (The only reliable evidence of something along these lines I can think of, is something I saw once about the contents of John Lennon's personal jukebox, but it's still impossible to say how much that influenced him.)

    The way I see it, it's like the old saying: it's not what you've got, it's what you do with it that counts. Different people will do completely different things with the same material. The Beatles' greatness lies in their imagination, which empowered them to take whatever they heard from others or made up themselves and do amazing things with them. You can argue till you're blue in the face whether they were the best band ever, but I doubt you'd have any luck convincing someone they weren't the most innovative band ever. And because they were also so popular, among people from so many ages, countries, cultures, and genres, they were the most influential band ever.

    Sure, they started out as a skiffle band, but they didn't stay there; they went way way way down that "Rock Island Line." I mean, you could take that same song Lonnie Donegan did, in your own way, and it could come out like this, hardly likely to influence as many people:

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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    When Flatt and Scruggs left the Blue Grass boys to start their own band, Monroe was upset. He also didn't like Scruggs and his banjo being considered the "essential" instrumental part of bluegrass. Famously, he reconciled with Flatt much later; dunno about Earl. Earl's wife Louise also came in for some scorn from Monroe, possibly because she was an aggressive promoter of the Foggy Mountain Boys and of her husband.

    Monroe also was critical of the Stanley Brothers for "copying" his sound. This didn't stop him from later offering to join them in a "Bill Monroe & the Stanley Brothers" group, a plan derailed by Ralph Stanley's car accident.

    Monroe was famously demanding of his band members, supposedly expecting them to help work his farm between band jobs, though that may be apocryphal. His longest-standing Blue Grass Boy, fiddler Kenny Baker, quit after decades with the band, apparently unwilling to put up with it any longer.

    However, it would surprise me if much of those personal feuds would extend to his potential audience. Probably the low attendance was a function of other factors. No one ever considered Bill Monroe to be an "easy" person, and he was generally known as strongly opinionated and touchy. Some put up with it, thinking it to be part of his motivated and creative personality. Others didn't.
    Scruggs was invited to Monroe's festival in 1970. They also appeared together in a TV documentary the same year. Ypu can find clips from it on YouTube. Monroe made up with Flatt in 1971.

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    Default Re: Bill Monroe

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Triesch View Post
    Hey, I'm trying to find some history here! Anyway, my friend told me that a lot of folks were split on the Monroe rifts and wars so they took sides. I was amazed at the few people watching him play, that is why I brought it up to my friend. I guess enough time has passed and people just do not remember any more. And then when did the guitar issues start? So Bill did not like Earls banjo and then he would not have a guitar play lead? Very strange . Thank you Allen for the great info. Nick

    Monroe didn't like the idea that the banjo was the main instrument, or even defining element, in BG. To him, obviously, it was the fiddle. As for the guitar, there are several examples of finger-style lead (Charlie Cline or Jackie Phelps) on Monroe's records: Cheyenne, Used to Be, Brown County Breakdown, etc. Apart from his own introduction to Mule Skinner Blues on the first
    Victor session there appears to be no flatpicking lead on record, probably because the guitar was needed to establish the groove,
    or simply because guitarists in those days set up there instruments too high for comfort.

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