For the November 2007 Newsletter Click Here!

B L U E G R A S S  N E W S LETTER: December 20, 2007

Bill Monroe, Frank Wakefield, Lester Flatt, Ralph Stanley, Kenny Baker, Jimmy Martin, Larry Sparks, Sullivan Family, Tex Logan, Bob Black, Richard Greene, Jack Hicks, Joe Stuart, Joe Mullins, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, Marty Stuart, Wayne Lewis, Butch Robins, David Grisman, David Nelson, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Garcia, Lamar Grier, Roland White, Julia Labella and much more.

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Click here for The "Monroe Christmas" Interviews

In 1997 Jim Peva made available to me his collection of reel to reel tapes he had made 

over the years, of Bluegrass around Bean Blossom.  As I had done with over 1500 hours 

of live Bluegrass shows in the past,  I proceeded to get these reel to reel tapes to a digital

format at the same time as I logged the contents of each tape.  One recording stood out

in the collection as very special.  This short section of tape was made one of the times that 

Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys came to Jim Peva's house for a dinner.  It was after 

the dinner on December 14, 1968 that Bill Monroe made this tape for Jim Peva.  We all

can be thankful for Jim Peva's foresight in having a recorder available and recording the 

following songs:   

1) Christmas Time's A-Comin

2) A Beautiful Life

3) Big Sandy River

When I decided to post this audio in the form of an mp3 file I contacted both Jim Peva and 

Roland White for the following three way phone call interview.  This short segment of tape cuts

across the time to bring us to another Christmas session in 1968 in Indiana.  We have Jim Peva to

thank both for making the recordings and for making them available for us to hear.  We are also 

thankful to the members of  The 1968 Bluegrass Boys: Bill Monroe, Roland White, Kenny Baker and Birch Monroe who appear on this tape, for the musical gift to Jim Peva's family making this recording.   Jim Moss (12-20-07)





An amazing and understandable insight into the world of Jimmy Martin.



Interview by Jim Moss

Jimmy Martin:  I'll tell you one thing.  When I come with him!  You listen, you put this on your web site...   When I come with Bill Monroe, he was singing "Blue Moon of Kentucky" in A.   OK?   Then every song that he and Lester had recorded in A like "Will You Be Loving Another Man", "Cabin Home On The Hill"?   I throwed it up in B natural. So his solos was in A.  Bill's was.    FOLLOW ME?!   Like Lester... Bill's singing like Lester.  Ok, when I went with him all the songs that him and Lester recorded in A, we moved them up in B and high C.  So Bill says, "well what's the use of me singing tenor to you in B and singing "Blue Moon of Kentucky" in A?"  "I am just gonna move it up in B". So there is where the high lonesome sound come from. Ya understand?  Put that on your web site!   Now any song that him (Bill Monroe) and Lester sung in G, me and him move it up in A.  Anything they done in A we do it in B.  And so Bill was singing Blue Moon Of Kentucky in A, he recorded it in A, FOLLOW ME?   (continued)»




Interview by Jim Moss

Jim Moss: The 1954 version of that band was tight.

Jimmy Martin: There ain't a band as tight right now.. There ain't a band like me and the Osborne Brothers were tight..  like me and JD Crowe and Paul Williams was tight.  Bill Emerson, that group was tight.   other words... but I kept it tight...and we lived in the same town together.. we traveled together.  Now we don't travel together, there's no family, no nuthing...  just separated.

Put this in there...  The artist his band and everything are separated... its no togetherness. And how can you play music together when your band is not with you... not nothing together.  I bet yeah I don't say 15 words....  15 words to neither one of my band in ten summers.  and that's negotiating with them.  They don't have nothing to say to me... or nothing.  They sitting around waiting till they get their money!  When they get their money there gone.   And when they come up to a festival, I'm sitting on the bus... sitting there by myself.  neither one of my bands is sitting there talking to me.  Now use to be we'd talk together.  And visit together...  be together...  but there is no togetherness anymore.   (continued)»




Interview by Jim Moss

Jimmy Martin: Well...  Then I done a few spots on the Grand Ole Opry as guest.  Then Bob Neon and the Williming Brothers, I was working through their office, they didn't have enough a power to get me guest spot on the Grand Ole Opry anymore till Bud Windell got down there.   Then I was guest... and every time I was guest there I'd encore a few times and Bud Windell told me, personally, that I would be a member of the Grand Ole Opry.  That the Opry fans liked the way I entertained and play Bluegrass music, and I would be a member of the Grand Ole Opry.    BUT, some'en had come up that Mr. Windell did not make me a member.  And I did not feel hard at him.  I know what he was up against.  I think everybody knows what Mr. Windell was up against.   Cause, Roy Acuff had already told me that Bill told him, that he would resign and quit the Grand Ole Opry it they let me become a member   (continued)»



Photograph by Dixon Smith



Part 1


Interview by Jim Moss

Jim Moss: When he (Monroe) would teach you a tune... how much detail would he express to you. I have this tape and he just plays it for you.. but when you didn't do it his way did he correct you? or ...

Richard Greene: Well, you couldn't do it exactly that way because he played a lot of double notes, but what I would do is I would notate everything he did...  very precisely. Every double note... And then, instead of using a double note I would work on a slide of some kind. Usually from a half step below.. or I would make it a longer note.. I would acknowledge the Arc of his melody with... complete religiosity. Wouldn't change that a bit. Whatever moment in time that he would show me the melody.. cause it would be a different  melody the next week
... (continued)»



Photograph by Dixon Smith



Part 1


Interview by Jim Moss

Lamar: When I first was with Bill, we made on each show date $25. That was the musicians union rate. A year later it went up to $30. The next year it went to $33 per show/day. How's them apples? I've heard of previous Bluegrass Boys saying that when living in Nashville, they were housed in the YMCA where they had a room. Then they had to call Bill on the phone daily to get enough money from him to get the days needs for meals - like $5. I had to get a part time job when we were back in Nashville for the days when we weren't on the road to pay the ongoing bills like rent & food needs for my family. Jimmy Martin found me a part time job at a convenience store working overnight for minimum pay at the time, just to acquire family needs.  Needless to say, things markedly improved financially when I left & went back home to Maryland. I had a home there that I rented out while I was in Nashville & then moved back into that home when I returned there. I still live in that home. I soon got a job with IBM and stayed with them for about 17 years then got a better paying job in the... (continued)»






Part 1


Interview by Jim Moss

Jim Moss: Tell me about that time Frank Wakefield came on stage with you guys, Monroe and all.. 


Wayne: You know that happened back in... in 1984.  It was at Mount Gilead Ohio. Yeah, he was on the bus. They were playing these tunes all back and forth and uh, Bill... Bill told him... he said uh, and Frank was booked there at the festival.
On my show, you'll have to come up and do a number with us.  So they played something, I can't remember what it was. Frank played more than Bill did... and Bill told him, "That's really good", "That's really good pickin there".  and he (Monroe) was really bragging him up. Then the next tune, Bill played most of the tune and did the star bit on it. And uh.. Frank said, "Man that's bad man, that's really bad".  So when Monroe hit that last lick on the tune, the crowd was just ripping and roaring. Cause here was two great mandolin players. And uh..  Frank just stepped up to the microphone and he said, "Man that's bad man, that's really bad"  And Monroe just kind of looked at him with that look like... "What are you saying?"  Bill says, "What do you mean bad? You don't know what you are saying". Frank said, "Bill I'm just backing talkwards". Bill said, "You're talkin crazy what You're doing"  Man that is just one of those good stories, you know...(continued)»






Part 2


Interview by Jim Moss

Wayne: I was paid a flat amount for singing, which was union. Well, it was better than union scale. Baker and I were probably the highest paid band members he had.  Me and Baker, he paid us the same money. But he uh... If I sold records. If I went to the record table and sold records, then I got 15 percent of what I sold. and uh... He and I had that agreement before... You know, I told him if you ask me to do something then you'll have to pay me cause I figure that you will have to pay somebody else to do it. If I volunteer to do something, you don't owe me. and uh... One reason I made more money than the rest of us because I was... you know I took care of all the business on the road. And I made sure that the motels were there. I made sure that everything was taking care of. I was road manager, band leader, guitar player, and singer. 

And I didn't mind doing it as long as I could make a living. That was my whole thing. And like Monroe use to say "most musicians are lazy" they won't... Well, number one they can't get out of bed. If they play half the night, they won't get out of bed the next morning. you know..  And me, I never slept more than three, four hours at a time. And so I could sit up half the night and pick, and then sleep three and a half, four hours, and I was up and I was ready to go. Me and Monroe was up the next morning when we was on the road... he and I were up, and out, taken care of business. you know and.... I stayed with him pretty close ...(continued)»





Interview by Jim Moss

Frank: I was working at Generous Electric and I had access to all that stuff…bakelite… epoxy and fiberglass.  

Jim: and that’s when you made it, so this bridge has been on there since then.  

Frank: Right.. yeah.  I use to sell those bridges.   I didn’t actually sell them I actually gave them away. And they never wore out.. the one I have now you don’t even have to sand the top of it cause it don’t wear.  So then I got up here and I was going to make it sound better… So I put a coat of Spray Paint on it!  

Jim:  Which color now? 

Frank: It was RED… ha ha ha   

Jim: And you used what kind of paint? 

Frank: Just a regular can of spray paint..   

Jim: So where did you get this from… a car store? 

Frank: Right! 

Jim: Epoxy paint? 

Frank: I am not sure if it was or not I don’t remember.  So I figure I’d dry it and bake and everything… I baked it for a while for about 300… well about 110 or 120 degrees something like that.. 

Jim: In the oven? 

Frank: Yeah.  (continued)»






Interview by Jim Moss

Jim: Frank... Tell me about your earliest musical instrument..  Frank: I had a guitar that I played with a case knife. 

Jim: What's a case knife? 

Frank: A butter knife, a lot of people call it a case knife... a regular butter knife that ain't sharp. You've seen those right?  know what those are? 

Jim: Yeah, I have them here.  

Frank: Ya do...? What do they call them out there? 

Jim: Butter knives...  

Frank: Oh.. Ok.. fact that is probably what it was.

Jim: So you use to play with that?  You didn't pick up a piece of pipe or a bottle?  

Frank: Nooo. We never had no bottles around... moonshiners.. 

We had moonshiners around that would buy old bottles from you.  ha ha ...

Jim: Is that right?  Was there a lot of moonshiners there back then?

Frank: Yeah, they had to have bottles of glass, they would use quart bottles, gallon bottles, milk bottles... anything that was glass. There wernt no plastic in those days... everything was glass. 

Jim: So what would they do just come by asking for them?  

Frank: Yeah, they'd give you a nickel for a glass bottle, that was a lot of money back then. 

Jim: They couldn't buy the glass I guess cause...  

Frank: No... they would get caught that way... have em.. put em in jail.  My first cousin he drank it, he drank a pint of that moonshine.  He died right after he drank it.  He paid for someone to drink some first.. in case something went wrong.  

Jim: It's an interesting part of Americana isn't it?

Frank: Yeah it is.. them Ole billhillys  (continued)»





Interview by Jim Moss

When I was playing for the snake handlers, I heard all those people singing.  A person would get up and sing solo and a couple people would get up and sing some harmonies.  When I started hearing them I was right involved with it.  They was real billhillies.  You could call it Bluegrass because they would do songs like “You go to your synagogue and I’ll go to mine” you’ve heard of that one.  (laughs).…or was it “you go to my synagogue and I will go to my church”? (continued)»





The Frank Wakefield Band 1998

Live at The Freight & Salvage, Berkeley California  

with Special Guest David Grisman








Frank Wakefield, Jim Moss, Jim Lewin

Year 2004 Sweden & UK photos or at

these links that reside in the upper left of each page:

More Sweden Photos1

More Sweden Photos2

More Sweden Photos3

More Sweden Photos4

More Sweden Photos5

More UK Photos1

More UK Photos2




More photos here



Freight & Salvage Berkeley CA USA 2004

Note: These pages are full of photos and may take a little time to download

with a 56K dial up modem.



The Frank Wakefield Official web site 
( From Nov. 18th, 1997 to May 14th, 2007 ) 


Frank Wakefield Bio


Frank Wakefield "On Film"





Great Review of 2002 Seattle FWB Show on TrueGrass:

Photos from the Pacific North West Tour: (extra large page)

===================STREAMING MEDIA=====================
Encore Links

Adventures in Bluegrass II (Real Player)
Frank Wakefield, Jim Moss, Jeff Harris, Graham Murphy, Pat Campbell

(FWB Berkeley CA 2001):



Baggot Inn, NYC November 2004

Frank Wakefield, Jim Moss, Jim Lewin

The links are on the left side just above the pictures.  These were recorded on DAT using the

stereo silver mics seen on stage with us in the pictures, by one of the many fans who
follow the band to record the shows.


Adventures in Bluegrass 8 

Frank Wakefield, Jim Moss, Jim Lewin

(FWB East Hartford CT 2004):   (in Windows Media 9)


A Preview of :  Adventures in Bluegrass 9 

(Windows Media 9) and (Real Media)



Bluegrass Boy Lamar Grier talks...

about his time with Bill Monroe, Part 1.


Frank Wakefield's Walk Through Time
Frank Wakefield talks about his experiences with Red Allen, Jimmy Martin,

and The Stanley Brothers.


Learning "Tanyards" From Bill Monroe then...

making the first recording of it.  (Jim Moss)



More From The Karla'graph Collection 

The Sullivan Family
Bean Blossom June 2001 (Streaming Video)

----------------------- Music ------------------------------

Learn "Cattle In The Cane" (Jim Moss)

----------------------- Music ------------------------------
So, you think that you have been to jam sessions?
Try this one on for size, its 1957...
Joe Stuart, Joe Meadows and a few friends come over...
to your house...  hear it now on mp3.

===================STREAMING MEDIA=====================
----------------------- Interviews ------------------------------

Richard Greene: Part 1


Bob Black

recording Kenny Baker's Dry & Dusty album 1973


Jesse McReynolds 

Talks About Recording In The 1950's ( Parts 1, 2 , 3 )


Upcoming Interviews yet to be transcribed:
"Richard Greene, Bluegrass Fiddle with Bill Monroe: Part 2  plus"
"Jimmy Martin Part 4  plus"
"Jesse McReynolds Part 5  plus"

"Wayne Lewis, Being one of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys Part 3 plus"

"Bluegrass Boy Lamar Grier, Part 2  plus"


----------------------- Interviews ------------------------------

----------------------- Photos ------------------------------

Great photos and a live recording of Kenny Baker
with Bob Black at Bean Blossom.  This was the first
time they ever played together.  It was after midnight
at Bean Blossom.



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