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Thread: Monroe Books...

  1. #1

    Default Monroe Books...

    I just finished Can't You Hear Me Callin' by Richard D. Smith. I found it interesting but a little uneven in the writing department. I was surprised there wasn't any more detail/discussion of the harrassment and vandalism episodes that seem to have culminated in the famous fireplace poker incident. Based on some posts I've read here, I thought a little more was definitively known as far as who was behind all that, but maybe it's mostly speculation.

    I'd like to read some other Monroe history/biography and I'm looking for recommendations. I've got the Tom Ewing "reader" on my list as well as the books by Bob Black and Gene Lowinger. Are there others...or some I might want to avoid? Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Monroe Books...

    Neil Rosenberg's book is encyclopedic.
    http://www.amazon.ca/gp/search?index...rds=0252072456

  3. #3
    Highly Lonesome Marty Henrickson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Books...

    Try "Bossmen" if you can find it. It's out of print, but can be found used on sites like amazon for a reasonable price. I found the Kenny Baker quote in my signature in this book, and there are many more gems to be found there.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Monroe Books...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    Neil Rosenberg's book is encyclopedic.
    http://www.amazon.ca/gp/search?index...rds=0252072456
    Thanks. I've been looking at that one as well. But how much is CDN$26.00 in real money?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Monroe Books...

    Thanks Marty, I'll look for that one too.

  6. #6
    Notary Sojac Paul Kotapish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Books...

    Ditto on Bossmen. You'll get some insight on Muddy Waters from that one, too.

    I liked Smith's book better than many folks did, apparently, and didn't find it as disrespectful as some Monroe acolytes seemed to, either. I think that Ewing's Bill Monroe Reader is probably the single best and most-balanced collection about Monroe.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Monroe Books...

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Kotapish View Post
    Ditto on Bossmen. You'll get some insight on Muddy Waters from that one, too.

    I liked Smith's book better than many folks did, apparently, and didn't find it as disrespectful as some Monroe acolytes seemed to, either. I think that Ewing's Bill Monroe Reader is probably the single best and most-balanced collection about Monroe.
    I didn't find Smith's book to be particularly disrespectful, although he did include a couple of bits that weren't really worthy of discussion (IMO). I guess that's what sells these days. The only reason I started with it was because I was going out of town and didn't have time to order a real book. It was the only Bill Monroe title I could find on short notice that was available as an ebook.

  8. #8
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Books...

    My advice - read 'em all. I have the 3 books mentioned & the one by Gene Lowinger, " I Hear a Voice Calling" as well. All are well worth reading & each offers some things that the others don't.
    http://youtu.be/El6pU_YSoWE Gene Lowinger on Fiddle with Bill Monroe. He was replaced by Richard Greene shortly before Bill & the boys came over to the UK in '66,
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    Registered User Fred Keller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Books...

    Bob Black's book Come Hither To Go Yonder is a good read too!

    EDIT: D'oh! You mentioned you had it. Sorry!
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    Registered User Chris "Bucket" Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Books...

    I really liked Bob Blacks book. Butch Robbin's book is good also, but Bob;s book seemed on a more human level.
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    Howling at the moon Wolfboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Books...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff May View Post
    how much is CDN$26.00 in real money?
    Almost exactly the same in US dollars, according to http://www.xe.com/ - 26.00 CAD = 26.1705 USD.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Monroe Books...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfboy View Post
    Almost exactly the same in US dollars, according to http://www.xe.com/ - 26.00 CAD = 26.1705 USD.
    Yes, thanks for that. I was joking. I don't live very far from the border. I frequently get Canadian coins in my change.

    But then again, it only cost me $20.60 on the Amazon U.S. site.

    Thanks for all the suggestions, and especially the link to numerous recommendations on the Cafe home page.

  13. #13
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Books...

    Hi All,
    I'm a little lost on the seeming deep dislike of Smith's book. My training, I suppose you'd call it, is in history, and I have a special interest in biography. If anything, Smith's book is a little TOO even handed - story after story seems to peter out a bit - almost as if he was worried about offending someone. I thought it very well researched - he admits in his introduction that he didn't interview every living Blue Grass Boy, but I never felt there was a gaping hole in his research. I think it stands with biographies of other performers - Escott's fo Hank Williams, for example, lapses into 'downhome, folksy talk' which doesn't always ring true: but it is an excellent biography nonetheless.

    I'm now inclined to ask, though I probably wont' get a response - who is thought to be responsible for the break-in and vandalism?

  14. #14
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Books...

    Since Smith came to my house to interview me I can attest to that he did do quite a bit of research on Monroe. He visited courthouses and gravesites. He was able to interview quite a few of the older bluegrass boys before they died. Many stories would not have been told out of respect while Monroe was still living. Same goes for the break-in. Those close to him felt if Monroe didn't feel the need to point a finger why should others. I can say you can easily figure it out this was the dirty deed of a "woman scorned" who knew Monroe's daily schedule and Monroe scorned quite a few of them over this lifetime. Other bluegrass boys have found many errors in Smiths book. I know there is another biography in the works by a longtime former bluegrass boy that continues to do research.

  15. #15
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Monroe Books...

    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    Same goes for the break-in. Those close to him felt if Monroe didn't feel the need to point a finger why should others. I can say you can easily figure it out this was the dirty deed of a "woman scorned" who knew Monroe's daily schedule and Monroe scorned quite a few of them over this lifetime.
    thanks for that; I figured it was most likely a 'woman scorned' - I'm not really interested in which one... I thought thsough that if there was a particular figure which popular belief pointed to, who adn why. I suppose the ex-wife might be a suspect, but I don't know... as you said, if Monroe didn't point fingers, why should I?

    Other bluegrass boys have found many errors in Smiths book. I know there is another biography in the works by a longtime former bluegrass boy that continues to do research.

    Ah, ok. I'll look forward to that one. the incredible thing is of course that Monroe was such a mess of contradictions that errors are inevitable. This things usually work best too when the subject has been dead a while - the stories start to come out... and some of those contradictions might get resolved.

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