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.
Y’all have a good weekend!