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Thread: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

  1. #26
    Fatally Flawed willkamm's Avatar
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    Default Re: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

    Mine arrived. Took a couple of weeks. Great read thus far.
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  2. #27

    Default Re: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

    I admit, I'm daunted by the sheer size of this brick... but looking forward to the deep dive.

    From the department of shameless self-promotion I'll leave a link here to my NPR story on the occasion of Monroe's centennial.

    Bill Monroe: Celebrating The Father Of Bluegrass At 100
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  3. #28
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

    Miy copy arrived yesterday - it's original ''due by'' date before it was put back by 2 weeks. I'm like Brad above - not daunted exactly,but after reading the preface,i had a lie down - the rest of the book lies before me !. What a monumental effort by Tom Ewing !!.

    I've been playing the music of Bill Monroe almost every day without fail for over 50 years. I met him once,& wish it could have been a 1,000 times. To be able to read about,& gain an insight into the life & character of such an incredible musical personality is like getting to know the man ''second hand''.

    My grateful thanks to Mr.Tom Ewing (again !),
    Ivan
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  5. #29
    Fatally Flawed willkamm's Avatar
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    Default Re: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    Miy copy arrived yesterday - it's original ''due by'' date before it was put back by 2 weeks. I'm like Brad above - not daunted exactly,but after reading the preface,i had a lie down - the rest of the book lies before me !. What a monumental effort by Tom Ewing !!.

    I've been playing the music of Bill Monroe almost every day without fail for over 50 years. I met him once,& wish it could have been a 1,000 times. To be able to read about,& gain an insight into the life & character of such an incredible musical personality is like getting to know the man ''second hand''.

    My grateful thanks to Mr.Tom Ewing (again !),
    Ivan
    I agree. It's a lot of words to read.
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  6. #30
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

    You only need to read the preface (prologue), to understand what a monumental undertaking writing this book was for Tom Ewing. I think that we should all club together to buy the guy a Distillery / Brewery (according to his taste - LOL !!),
    Ivan
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    Registered User bjewell's Avatar
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    Default Re: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

    Tom was my first guitar teacher back in 1963 in Columbus. I was a freshman student at Ohio State and looking for a way to flunk out. Tom help me out greatly in that endeavor. He's a genuinely kind human being and a real stickler for detail. I look forward to buying this book I know how hard he worked on it.

  8. #32
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

    Frankly, it was an interesting read, and I trust well researched.

  9. #33
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

    Ordered mine 3 days ago, should be here this Thurs
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  10. #34
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

    Just got mine, looks extremely detailed, diving in right now...
    1994 Gibson F5L made by Bruce Weber's team


    "Mandolin brands are a guide, not gospel! I don't drink koolaid and that Emperor is naked!"
    "If you wanna get soul Baby, you gots to get the scroll..."
    "I would rather play music anyday for the beggar, the thief, and the fool!"
    "Perfection is not attainable; but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence" Vince Lombardi
    Playing Style: RockMonRoll Desperado Bluegrass Desperado YT Channel

  11. #35
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

    Just finished. Thanx to my son Dave for the Xmas present.

    Definitely an "insider's" look at Monroe's later years, when Ewing was in and out of the band. Frank discussion of M's personal life, medical problems, etc., but mostly only as they pertained to his musical activities. Obviously exhaustive research in primary source records, extensive interviewing -- amazing footnotes and index.

    Comparison with Smith's Can't You Hear Me Callin' are inevitable. If Monroe fans got riled about Smith's discussion of M's romantic life, they'll have a lot more to annoy them here. Ewing's clearly talked to several of M's girlfriends, though he doesn't speculate as to which one wielded the poker on M's Lloyd Loars, or spray-painted his Cadillac. (Did you know Monroe wore a bullet-proof vest onstage at the Opry after death threats? Wow!)

    Only thing that got to me, after nearly 500 pages of prologue and text (you can add about another 100 for references and footnotes): a bit of "forest for the trees." I'd get bogged down in the details of tours, recording sessions, bus breakdowns, and the constant turnover of band members (Ewing has an interesting habit of always giving the age of each Blue Grass Boy when he joins the band). Smith's shorter book seems to try to put Monroe more in an overall context, and to speculate about his psychological motivation. Ewing relies more on direct quotes -- sometimes providing insight, sometimes not, as it can be hard to figure out Monroe's cryptic short sentences, often studded with cliches and inexact language.

    There's an old joke about the boy who summed up a book on penguins, by stating, "This book told me more about penguins than I wanted to know." I won't say Ewing's book tells more about Bill Monroe than I wanted to know, but the overwhelming details did make it hard to step back and place the Father of Bluegrass in perspective. For a true Monroe fan, every date and song list of every Decca session, every new bass player, and every Big Plan for financial expansion, every Bean Blossom lineup, will be of intense interest. I love Bill Monroe's music, and recognize his importance, and am glad I read this book -- but I won't remember who played banjo in the Blue Grass Boys in 1977. Of course, I can always look it up...
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  13. #36
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

    If you have the new book by Tom Ewing along with 'The Music of Bill Monroe' by Rosenberg / Wolf,they i think that you'd have every piece of worthwhile info. on Bill Monroe. I was very surprised at just how very few 'fixed' band members that he had at some points. Members were leaving for one thing or another & being replaced by 'temp.' players over & over.It was a good thing that BM had a list of pickers that he could call on,or,folk he knew to contact in order to find a musician or 2 to fill in - 'disorganised' is a word that comes to mind at times,
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  14. #37
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

    Any comment I make is not to detract from my admiration and enjoyment of it. It’s a Herculean book. I have the iBook (just at the time the license for smiths apparently ran out. I’m annoyed about that). It’s good on what it’s like being in the band. It’s good on capturing Monroe as a person. I don’t think it does as good a job as Smith as putting Monroe into a bit of broader context. But smith tended to pull punches a bit. Ewing digs a bit deeper at least musically.

    I don’t quite know why Monroe’s personal life (where it affects the music) is sacrosanct? As someone was quoted in smith - if they’d spent as much time on music and the business side of things as they did chasing women they’d have been more successful. This is why his womanising is important. It no doubt drove the music. But it may have repressed it. And the way Monroe treated his women (mostly good but he had failings ) is important too. I’d love to know who smashed the mandolins. I Think I do. But no one seems to want to say. It wouldn’t change my opinion of anyone.

    But thank you Tom for an excellent book. I recommend it unreservedly.
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  16. #38
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: The bible of monroe is released by tom ewing

    Quote Originally Posted by David Lewis View Post
    ...I don’t quite know why Monroe’s personal life (where it affects the music) is sacrosanct? As someone was quoted in smith - if they’d spent as much time on music and the business side of things as they did chasing women they’d have been more successful. This is why his womanising is important. It no doubt drove the music. But it may have repressed it. And the way Monroe treated his women (mostly good but he had failings ) is important too. I’d love to know who smashed the mandolins. I Think I do. But no one seems to want to say. It wouldn’t change my opinion of anyone.

    But thank you Tom for an excellent book. I recommend it unreservedly.
    Good points. Monroe himself was fairly honest about his "messy" romantic life; Ewing (p. 354) quotes from an interview Monroe did with People in 1975: "I guess if I hadn't left Rosine [KY] and gone up north [to Indiana], I'd probably be just like the other folks who live here now, farming and raising a family. I probably wouldn't have gone through seven, 10, 15 women."

    No doubt, for a person generally seen as "steadfast and uncompromising" in musical terms, Monroe led a chaotic life in other areas: constant turnover of band members, recurring and overlapping romantic involvements, financial fluctuations -- he couldn't even seem to keep a reliable bus! Reading his book, and the Curly Sechler bio earlier, just emphasized for me how unstable the life of a country/bluegrass musician was in this era -- going from city to city, radio station to radio station, bands forming and breaking up over and over again. Monroe did better than most, in terms of income, recognition and achievement, but as Ewing's book makes clear, he struggled throughout his career to keep his band going and to manage his personal life.
    Allen Hopkins
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