Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Weekend Already?

This has been the longest four days at work that I can remember. It may have been a short work week, but that doesn’t diminish the anticipation I feel for the coming weekend.

On the other hand, the evenings this week have passed much too quickly. I have been busy transferring more records and enjoying the music while the house was filled with the aroma of apples and peaches baking in the kitchen. I’ve got a whole new batch of gems from Walt’s cousin Wes’ 78 collection converted to mp3s and a few from my own collection as well.

There is some sad news to report from Wes’ collection. I was elated to see a small stack of 78s by Riley Puckett, the records are pretty rough, but didn’t show any deep scratches. Unfortunately, the surface noise nearly drowns out the music. I have tried every trick I know of to clean up the sound including using a different stylus on the tonearm, adjusting the tracking force, chemical treatment, and even digital enhancement. Alas, I believe they are just too far gone to revive. I have one more trick up my sleeve and I’ll give it another try this weekend.

Let’s start the weekend early with some classic bluegrass. My interest in bluegrass began in the early 1970s. I grew up in what was farm country between Baltimore and D.C. The Baltimore/Washington area was the center of the bluegrass music world during those times. The Seldom Scene were Wednesday night regulars at the Red Fox Inn in Bethesda, and all of the big names stopped in the Pickin’ Parlor at Baltimore Bluegrass to jam with anyone who stopped by. Red Smiley and Bill Harrell were regulars at the Pickin' Parlor. The New River Ranch, in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, near Rising Sun, Maryland was the first of many bluegrass festivals I have attended over the years.

This was in the days before bluegrass bands started playing everything at break-neck speed. I’m sure many of the riders on the Bus remember those sad days in bluegrass history. All too many bands thought that speed was where it was at and played as if they were in a race to the end of each song. I refer to the era, and the music it produced as acid-grass. Accuracy and technical or artistic ability was abandoned for pure speed. It was a shame, for it drove a lot of fans, like me, away from the genre. Fortunately, the madness didn’t last more than a few years and the artistry and simple beauty returned.

We won’t be hearing any acid-grass on the Bus, just that wonderful combination of old time country, blues, jazz, and pop that make bluegrass so unique. Here are a few old favorite instrumentals that mix some speed with tight, accurate, musical artistry.

Mac Martin & the Dixie Travellers - Black Mountain Blues.mp3

Red Smiley - Big Sandy.mp3

Earl Taylor & Jim McCall - Ragtime Annie.mp3

Y’all have a good weekend!


Anonymous Dan said...

Hi Ed,
While these aren't acid-grass, they cook! I envy your younger days, living in the heart of bluegrass. Here in southern Ontario, Canada, we're experiencing a disgusting lull in the bluegrass scene these days. The bands are still pickin', but no one seems to be bookin'. It's a shame.

September 07, 2007 6:01 PM  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Hello Ed, And if these are slow in terms of the faster versions well hope your week-end, talking in time, rolls at 33 rpm and slow to hit cadence.

flying thoughts... k.

September 08, 2007 3:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the 3 days off that make the short week seem long. If it was a 2 day weekend the week would have seemed properly short.

Love that Ragtime Annie. Hope your next work week goes as fast as this tune.

September 08, 2007 7:24 AM  
Blogger kjk said...

it's the long hours that make the work week seem long. my week seemed short due to no long hours!

September 08, 2007 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the bus driver's long hours ended last month.

September 09, 2007 4:33 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I have always enjoyed what I do to make my living, but ever since the eight months of heavy overtime, and management's laissez-faire attitude, I guess I've become a bit soured with this particular postion. The days seem much longer than usual.
I will be looking for another job as my daughter's graduation from high school approaches.

September 09, 2007 6:53 PM  
Blogger kjk said...

I ain't gonna work tomorrow ...

Carter Family
Forge Mountain Diggers

Sadly, not true ....

September 09, 2007 9:16 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

You always have just the right song for each occasion. This one fits the bill well.
Thanks, once again for sharing.

September 09, 2007 9:19 PM  
Blogger kjk said...

HaHa ... Ed,
You always have just the right occasion to bring a good song to mind ... :)

September 09, 2007 9:59 PM  

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