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Thread: Classic Country - 50's, 60's

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    Default Classic Country - 50's, 60's

    I collect classic country tunes. I love that era. I sincerely wish more of that would be featured here on Mandolin Cafe. I do have a couple of CD's that are by "Best of the Nashville Mandolins" which is all instrumentals featuring mandolin. One in particular is very lovely "Prisoner's Song"...sounds ominous, but with no lyrics, it really is a beautiful melody. I know most of the songs are old fiddle tunes, which I used to play (as a very novice player). But have had to go to mandolin as I couldn't tune with pegs & couldn't tighten the bow.....so I really use a lot of my fiddle know how (which isn't much) from those tunes I learned. But....I love the classic country stuff....there are some very great tunes that I like to hear & want to work up on mandolin & wish more mando folks would like that era too....someone should start a group just for classic country specific. If there is one I haven't found it yet. I'm a newbie to this website.

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    Default Re: Classic Country - 50's, 60's

    Not that I "collect", but I'd love to find (buried somewhere around here!) my 1950-ish two-45rpm "album" of four songs, as best I recall sung by Gene Autry / Burl Ives: The Wreck of Old 97, Froggy Went a-Courtin', The Phantom White Stallion of Skull Valley, and Ghost Riders in the Sky.

    Google says that The Prisoners Song does have lyrics (Vernon Dalhart, 1925), and was recorded by several: Hank Snow, Eddie Arnold, Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash at least. The Prisoners Song by the Dropkick Murphys seems to be, uhm, decidedly different!

    As to the Cafe's "Social Groups", maybe start your own? Folks around here tend to be fairly, ya know, social!
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  4. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classic Country - 50's, 60's

    If you listen to the Louvin Brothers, Lonzo & Oscar, and back before that to many of the old hillbilly duets, you'll hear a lot of mandolin. Quite often they emphasize vocal accompaniment and "straight" melody playing, rather than the intricate and more aggressive styles associated with bluegrass. The Blue Sky Boys (Bill and Earl Bolick) are one of my fave "brother duets," and Bill's Martin mandolin was really a "third voice" (sometimes a "fourth," when they worked with a fiddler) in their arrangements.

    And, of course, the Monroe Brothers, Bill and brother Charlie in pre-bluegrass days. Lots of reissues of this kind of music available.
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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Classic Country - 50's, 60's

    I, too, most enjoy 40s/50s country, honkytonk, and rockabilly. While Chet Atkins was a great picker, his powerful Nashville influence brought a change to country that personally does not appeal to me and I think still in some ways continues to influence modern country.
    I would also like to see more Cafe participation in my favorite genres.
    Obviously mandolin is more influenced here in the Cafe by other genres, though not necessarily a bad thing. I have learned an appreciation for the picking skills of Bluegrass players even though grass may never be fully appreciated by me. Additionally, I have developed a great appreciation for jazz mandolin and mandolin used in classical from my exposure here on the Cafe.
    While I personally would like to see more of what appeals to you and I, the Cafe has something for everyone. If viewed with an open mind we can use the other genres to develop more rounded music tastes and even have impact on our own playing.
    Perhaps more threads initiated by people of like minds such as ours would promote more classic country. Many younger players have just never been exposed. To demonstrate my point, play a Louvin Brothers cover at an open mic and you will immediately see younger players and audience doing a search on their mobiles.
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    Registered User rnjl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classic Country - 50's, 60's

    Hi all, I haven't seen this but there's an "early country" book put out by Hal Leonard, apparently rooted in the brother duet sounds.

    I'll write to them to see if it's only tab or also standard notation, if it has standard I'll take one for the team to see what's in it.

    Also, two other thoughts:

    If you're interested in the brother duet sound, HIGHLY recommend the Cocaine and Rhinestones podcast episode on the Louvin Brothers.

    Also recommend checking out recordings featuring Caleb Klauder esp his "country" band and and his work with Reeb Williams (I think that's her name) though the Foghorn Stringband albums are great too. Caleb and Reeb nail the old country sound and make it fresh and the mandolin work is spectacular, IMO.

    Great thread.

    Neal in NY

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    Default Re: Classic Country - 50's, 60's

    There is a young duo out called Cactus Blossoms that has that old country sound. They are a brother duo and have great harmonies.
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    Default Re: Classic Country - 50's, 60's

    I am just an amateur at this, but one of the things I like to do with 50s and 60s country songs is , if they have piano, try to take some mandolin licks off the piano work, particularly Floyd Cramer style piano.

    I think it translates better to mandolin than the guitar work, for those kinds of songs.
    Bren

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    Default Re: Classic Country - 50's, 60's

    Quote Originally Posted by rnjl View Post
    If you're interested in the brother duet sound, HIGHLY recommend the Cocaine and Rhinestones podcast episode on the Louvin Brothers.
    ....
    Cocaine and Rhinestones is great across the entire series. The Louvin Brothers episode was pretty much based on Charlie Louvin's autobiography "Satan Is Real". The book is outstanding and a great read.

    One of the really interesting episodes in the book is when Charlie talked about an incidental comment from record executive Ken Nelson which he felt really pushed Ira off the deep end with his drinking and personal problems. Nelson later denied it but Charlie felt it was something that Ira had taken much too seriously and that Nelson should have been more cautious in how he handled Ira. Nelson had, prior to this, handled Ira's difficult personality really well. He said Nelson had told Ira that he thought one of the reasons their record sales were declining badly in the early 1960s was because Ira's mandolin gave an old fashioned sound to the recordings that people did not wish to hear any more. After that Ira found excuses not to play mandolin on the records and really went downhill with his drinking. This would be about the time the Nashville sound was really getting started as people like Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins were bringing country uptown. You do not hear as much mandolin in country after that time.

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    Default Re: Classic Country - 50's, 60's

    The Delmore Brothers
    One of the brothers (Rabon) plays tenor guitar.
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    Default Re: Classic Country - 50's, 60's

    I have an interest in Country music as well, but my tastes run wider and more shallow perhaps. My interests lie in earlier country: 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s & 70’s.

    I’m not big on the Nashville Sound stuff. I love to play stuff like Jimmie Rodgers, Carter Family, and the blues of the 20’s and 30’s as well. Love the honky rink & rockabilly stuff from the 50’s & 60’s, the Sun records bunch are all favorites both Country & Rock & Roll. On through the 60’s and 70’s (which were my own formative years, born ‘55 and picked guitar in ‘66), I have always been interested in the so-called “outlaw” movement that eschewed the polished Nashville sound and focused geographically more around Austin: Willie, Waylon, Jerry Jeff, Kristofferson, etc.

    My interests in Country run wider and shallower, but I do play Country from the 50’s & 60’s along with blues and folk music from that era. If you decide to start a 50’s & 60’s focused social group, I’d be interested in joining.
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  18. #11
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    Default Re: Classic Country - 50's, 60's

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    I have an interest in Country music as well, but my tastes run wider and more shallow perhaps. My interests lie in earlier country: 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s & 70’s.

    I’m not big on the Nashville Sound stuff. I love to play stuff like Jimmie Rodgers, Carter Family, and the blues of the 20’s and 30’s as well. Love the honky rink & rockabilly stuff from the 50’s & 60’s, the Sun records bunch are all favorites both Country & Rock & Roll. On through the 60’s and 70’s (which were my own formative years, born ‘55 and picked guitar in ‘66), I have always been interested in the so-called “outlaw” movement that eschewed the polished Nashville sound and focused geographically more around Austin: Willie, Waylon, Jerry Jeff, Kristofferson, etc.

    My interests in Country run wider and shallower, but I do play Country from the 50’s & 60’s along with blues and folk music from that era. If you decide to start a 50’s & 60’s focused social group, I’d be interested in joining.
    Ditto!
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    Default Re: Classic Country - 50's, 60's

    @Bren - I haven't been on Mandolin Cafe for a while, so this may be a belated comment & thanks to you for the reference to Floyd Cramer style. I too love his music & will try some of those old tunes on mando perhaps.

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    Default Re: Classic Country - 50's, 60's

    @Bren said, "I am just an amateur at this, but one of the things I like to do with 50s and 60s country songs is , if they have piano, try to take some mandolin licks off the piano work, particularly Floyd Cramer style piano". I too loved the distinctive style of Mr Cramer. Wasn't he one of the regular go-to session men that played on so many of the great arrangements and recordings produced by Chet Atkins (my all-time favourite guitarist) when he was A&R supremo with RCA Records? Thanks for bringing Floyd Cramer back to mind, Bren. Two postings from Scotland reinforcing our liking for country music!
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