"Hey, big boy," continued...

Re: my post on being a worn out, old, boring bluegrass fart, kenneth burns wrote the following comment:

Kenneth said:

Wow, was that a bluegrass show you played? I've never heard of bluegrass groupies, but the joke possibilities seem limitless.

10:34 AM

Well first off, no, it wasn't a bluegrass show. It was a melange of things: jim croce, old bluegrass standards done to a nifty new beat, ignoring requests for "Man of Constant Sorrow," the best of 60s 70s and 80s. However, since most laypeople figure if someone is playing a banjo at least 33 percent of the time, you must be a bluegrass band. So...on second thought, maybe it was a bluegrass show...

And yes, kenneth, i do believe there are "bluegrass groupies." Haven't you seen/heard Old Crowe Medicine Show or King Wilke? Now, although in the most technical sense of the word, i don't think these bands are actually "bluegrass," they're pretty darn close--and again, that's because of the 33 percent banjo rule. Real Bluegrass or not, them boys is young and cute--and not just a little talented. I've seen both bands at a festival now and they had the young girls swooning. (although they are an extreme exception).

With that straightened out: you mean to tell me that "the joke possibilities seem limitless" and then proceed to not lay one on us? How 'bout a good bluegrass groupie joke from our readers out there? Let me get you started:

Q: What's the difference between a rock n roll groupie and a bluegrass groupie?

A: The rock n roll groupie isn't a god-fearin' middle aged white man.

or how bout this:

Q: What did the bluegrass groupie chick say to the hot young banjo player?

A: Sorry buddy, i only sleep with pre-war banjo players.

(for the neophytes: a "pre-war" gibson banjo is the holy grail of banjos--sorta like a vintage strat or les paul. ...That one may be a little too inside).

or finally (for the trifecta):

Q: what's a favorite date activity for a bluegrass groupie?

A: Gettin' knocked up side the head with a stick and drowned.

(another insider: murder ballads are a favorite subject of bluegrassers, the most notable example being a tune called "knoxville girl."


Kenneth said...

Re bluegrass groupie jokes: I'm at a loss. Might one involve a G lick? Okay, I'm all done here.

Kenneth said...

I think you're absolutely right that the banjo is the pivotal instrument, and I'll go further and say that for music to be considered bluegrass it really should mostly have banjo played in the "Scruggs" style. (I'm hoping those quotation marks will head off certain very compelling objections over who invented the style.)

I know Old Crow and King Wilkie, but I don't think they're really bluegrass, because they don't mostly feature Scruggs-style banjo picking. I've heard some King Wilkie with frailing and some Old Crow on which the banjoist seemed to be strumming with a flatpick.

After all, Stringbean didn't last long as a Blue Grass Boy. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, neither did Earl Scruggs. But I bet Stringbean attracted more interesting groupies.

Kenneth said...

I should have explained, for those who don't know, that Stringbean played banjo in the clawhammer style.

Kenneth said...

One last banjo thought -- did you see ex-"Hee Haw" comedienne Ronnie Stoneman picking banjo on the Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon? She was radiant and lovely and played a mean "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." She was on at like four in the morning, so you may have missed it. (Hail TiVo.)

She looked like this back in the day, but now she looks more like this. I heart Ronnie Stoneman.

Kenneth said...

Whoops, make that Roni Stoneman. I really should write this article.

Walter said...


re: "g lick:" cute, cute...

re: "strumming with a flatpick:" I was suprised to see the other day that the old crowe guy plays a "gitjo." six strings, tuned like a guitar, built like a banjo. And he does strum it with a flat pick. I'm also surprised i hadn't figured that out by listening. (i just thought he was a lousy banjo player.)

re: stringbean: wasn't he a "two-finger" player? (like early ralph stanley...) i also imagine that string's not lasting long as bill's sideman had more to do with them being both equally tight-fisted than sting's playing style.

also, i don't think people begrudge crediting earl as being the three finger king. (although to portray it like he just came outta no where with that stuff would be un-fair. Lots of folks were toying with it.)

re: Roni stoneman. She came a garage sale we had at my folks house ...like, two summers ago, maybe, before we were getting ready to move...and bought an old washburn guitar with a hole in it. she said it "sounded real good." (i think she lives down there on cabin hill rd.)

re: "article:" what article? an articvle that you're procrastinating on or something to do with banjos and the like?

alrighty. fun fun fun!

Kenneth said...

The article I'm procrastinating on, which has nothing to do with Roni Stoneman, banjos, flatpicks, G licks or the Waffle House.

Kenneth said...

What is the minimum bluegrass lineup? Suddenly I'm having ideas about a project. Would four people work, or is that too few? I'm thinking bass, banjo, fiddle, rhythm guitar. All would sing. Is that enough, or would we need another soloing instrument (mandolin/Dobro)?