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Thread: Bill Monroe's Lifestyle

  1. #101
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Rochester NY 14610

    Default Re: Bill Monroe's Lifestyle

    Quote Originally Posted by re simmers View Post
    I watched the video again. At the beginning, it is dedicated to Harry Smith. Who was Harry Smith?
    Harry Smith was a "odd duck" -- you'd have to call him either a beatnik or a "pre-beatnik" -- who compiled, and with the help of Moses Asch of Folkways Records, issued in 1952 the Anthology of American Folk Music, three two-LP boxed sets of reissued commercial recordings from the 1920's and '30's. The "Folkways Anthology," as it's usually called, is probably the single most important compilation of traditional American music ever made: 84 selections in a variety of genres -- hiillbilly, blues, Cajun, gospel, etc. Some of the recorded performers are well-known, like the Carter Family, Mississippi John Hurt, the Stoneman Family, Dock Boggs, Blind Lemon Jefferson; others are relatively unknown. Smith was 29 years old, and "of no fixed address," when he put the Anthology together; he'd been a student of Native American music and religion, a U. of Washington dropout, a filmmaker, a record collector -- the story is that he had a WWII job recycling 78-rpm records for their shellac content, and had simply put aside all the records in which he was interested. As Greil Marcus writes in the (Grammy-winning, I believe) liner notes to the 1997 CD reissue of the Anthology: "Smith's definition of 'American folk music' would have satisfied no one else. He ignored all field recordings, Library of Congress archives, anything validated only by scholarship..." in favor of commercial recordings -- for which he and Asch paid no royalties, ignored copyright, and "bootlegged" them into the new LP format. Smith's original liner notes were extremely weird, both in format and content, with a huge index and bibliography. Smith continued to work as a painter, photographer, filmmaker, and "shaman in residence" at the Naropa Institute; he also compiled reportedly the world's largest collection of paper airplanes, which he donated to the Smithsonian. He was awarded a special Grammy in 1991, and died later that year at the age of 68. Here's a link to a short bio.
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  2. #102

    Default Re: Bill Monroe's Lifestyle

    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Graves View Post
    I have to admit I don't really know much about Bill Monroe. I was wondering if starting a thread that would tell us some facts and stories about Monroe would be fair. There are many on this site who knew him personally. So, this is my query, let us have your thoughts, personal stories, and facts about Bill Monroe which includes his personality and character. We'll see how that goes.

    --Duane to meet him one time,-July 1975 in Dickson,Tenn....his show consisted of Baker on fiddle, Bob Black on banjo, Randy Davis on bass, and Bill Box on guitar. I ask Bill about what happened to Carter Stanley,...all he said was...-"he drank a lot" !

  3. #103
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Oct 2002

    Default Re: Bill Monroe's Lifestyle

    Carter drank more than Jimmy Martin? Yeah, it turns out a lot of old BGBoys did have some drinking issues, but most didn't dare do it around him. Kenny would hit the camp sites late night when Mon was in bed. But since this thread was started back in 2010, the new tell all book about Monroe, his music and lifestyles has come out by former BGBoy Tom Ewing. It's over 600 pages and does revile a lot most didn't know about Monroe quirks and personality. His ability to keep at least 2 women on call at all times is pretty amazing. His ability to bounce back after several health issues also amazing. His ability to totally wear out a fingerboard really amazing. It's the best $25 you can spend to find out about Monroe.

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  5. #104

    Default Re: Bill Monroe's Lifestyle

    Sometimes finding out about the lifestyle can be disappointing, especially if you hold someone in high regard. My mother recently read a George Jones bio and was very upset, since she loved his singing, so much.

  6. #105
    Registered User
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    Nov 2018
    Lawrenceville, GA

    Default Re: Bill Monroe's Lifestyle

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Sometimes finding out about the lifestyle can be disappointing, especially if you hold someone in high regard. My mother recently read a George Jones bio and was very upset, since she loved his singing, so much.
    I haven't read the book, but I'd be hard pressed to be surprised by any crazy story I read about George Jones. I could probably be more educated about Bill Monroe, but I'm not sure I want to be.

  7. #106
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Sydney, Australia

    Default Re: Bill Monroe's Lifestyle

    So much great information in this thread.

    I want to acknowledge mandolirus who actually played with the bluegrass boys. One of the great stories in the smith book (which I like) is the band turning up to an ice rink with no one there. But they play it like it’s an arena. As a musician, this is the model to follow. Play every show like it’s your biggest. I’ve played to empty rooms. Near empty rooms. Hostile crowds. But play it like you’re in the Elton John band at Wembley stidum. Thank you Mister Monroe.
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  8. #107
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England

    Default Re: Bill Monroe's Lifestyle

    I'm halfway through the new book by Tom Ewing,having read his previous book on Bill Monroe. I would recommend the new book to every Bluegrass player out there. BM was indeed a complex & charasmatic character, & had all the foibles & traits that we can all suffer from - so what ?. All that stuff is simply the background to his music making. I hold Bill Monroe in very high esteem for the musical legacy that he left to us all. As for his personal traits - i couldn't really care less,however, some others might - that's 'their' take on the matter.

    One thing that really stands out in the book for me,is the number of musicians who actually played with him,many for only a few days or so. Many times,he was playing with what we might call a 'scratch band',a bunch of musicians who happened to be handy at the time. His band musicians came & went with alarming regularity - all told,a superb book,& an astonishing achievement by Tom Ewing,
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