Big Mon

  1. Mike Bunting
    I just put this up after following the Monroe Taboo thread, it's for us who really know , we have no need to cast our pearls before swine.
  2. mandozilla
    Great idea Mike...I'm in.
  3. Billy1
    Great idea Mike!! This is hallowed ground
  4. Mike Bunting
    I figured you guys would be the first to join! I've been a fan of the Man for nearly 50 years, I hate to say, at least from the mid '60's. I also dig non grassers like Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis, men who stand alone in their musical kingdoms, with their total beings and passion.
  5. mandozilla
    Just over 40 years for me guysstarting in 1968 but I heard Bill Monroe around the house starting when I was about 5 or 6. My dad was a huge Monroe fan...didn't play an instrument but boy could he sing. My grandad played the fiddle as did 2 uncles and my oldest brother.

  6. Billy1
    I guess I'm the pup here guys I'm 39 and I didn't know who Bill was until I guess around '84. I was raised in Arizona and moved to Ky. when I was 14 and my Grandmother would tell stories about when she was growing up, her Dads favorite singer was Bill and her mothers was Roy Acuff and they would often argue about who was better. She would tell of listening to Bill on the Opry every Saturday night when she was growing up. Well, I got to wondering about this man, so one Saturday night I tuned into 860 WSM Nashville's GRand Ole Opry and there was Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys and I was totally blown away. I used to write letters to him when I was a kid, talk to him on the phone, and have seen him and spoke with him in person 10-15 times and I treasure every one. I remember the first time I met him, I think I was 14 then, I told him where I was from and he says " You're the one that writes to me now and then". I thought " Holy Cow, Bill Monroe knows who I am"
  7. Billy1
    One more thing, I purchased some items a few years ago on ebay that were from his estate sale. They were said to have come from a suitcase that belonged to Bill. The items included a pair of brown dress socks, a few unopened bars of hotel soap, some folded napkins from different restaurants { mostly Shonies} and two hats that say Jerusalem Israel, The Holy Land. These are undoubtedly from his trip to Israel in the 80's. How cool is that?
  8. Mike Bunting
    Awesome, I only got his autograph back in '77 when he played Calgary.
  9. Mike Bunting
    P.S. yep, I guess you are a whippersnapper!
  10. mandozilla
    Whoa! Did you guys see the mods locked down the 'Monroe Taboo' thread...Before the Cafe, I never found myself arguing for or having to defend Big Mon. I never thought there were folks that down on the guy. Like I said in one of my posts, you don't have to like the guy but at least show him a measure of respect.

  11. Mike Bunting
    Those damn Thile lovers! I really didn't see that much wrong with the debate, I didn't think anyone got particularly personal or anything.
  12. Mike Bunting
    I see there's one more member, hi there, High lonesome. Good moniker
  13. Billy1
    Yeah, can you believe that someone said Thile is the most influential mandolin player in the world today? That's ridiculous!
  14. Marty Henrickson
    Marty Henrickson
    Hello all, I'm another pup at "only" 38 years of age. I have only been seriously listening to Monroe's music for a couple of years, but I firmly believe - heck, I know - that almost everything else I listen to has been influenced to some degree by bluegrass.

    I'll go ahead and admit that I actually own 1 nickel creek CD and one Thile solo CD, but the NC CD has mostly sat in its case, and the track I listen to most on "How to Grow a Woman...", is "Brakeman's Blues". Meanwhile, my mp3 player, thumb drive, CD case, PC hard drive, are all full of Bill Monroe and his disciples. Actually, I was just listening to "My Last Days On Earth" a few minutes ago and asking myself "How can ANYONE listen to that and not hear the emotion?"

    I look forward to learning even more about Bill Monroe and discussing the music and the instrument we all love.
  15. Mike Bunting
    I think I own Thile's 1st or 2nd CD, Leading Off it's called. He was about 14 or so. Technically he's a very good player. but not my cup o'tea. On the other hand, I own all Monroe's output that is commercially available as far as I know, that's my cuppa coffee! Some stuff has been released in many forms. I've got all the Bear Family material, all the Decca stuff on vinyl and live tapes that various folks have hooked me up with. Personally I don't give a hoot if anyone doesn't like Mon, I know what I like, and I don't think he needs defending, his work stands on its own.
    Wecome, Shaun, glad you hooked up with the group, always enjoy your posts. Are you going to the Monroe camp, you've been before I think. I was there last year and am headed down again this year.
    Billy, I like your up close and personal experiences with the Mon, not to mention that you could be wearing his underwear if any were in that suitcase!
  16. mandozilla
    Mike this group you started is attracting some heavy hitters here on the Cafe, XLNT! I feel honored to be among them.

  17. Mike Bunting
    I started the group just to keep us all from being thrown off the 'cafe!!
  18. Billy1
    Yeah Mike, I had a feeling we were heading in that direction, although I thought that it was a very interesting debate and would have liked to have seen it continued
  19. Mike Bunting
    I put up another group.. The Monroe Style Mando Camp, if anyone is interested
  20. Billy1
    Hey guys, just found this and would really like for the wife to remember this come Christmas time
  21. mandozilla
    Wow Billy, that is really nice, very touching...I'm saving up for one starting right now...or, maybe I'll buy it for my wife for Christmas. When she first saw/met Bill in 1974 she was impressed. She said he reminded her of my dad whom she had a (respectful) crush on. She said dad was about the same size/build as Bill and talked just like him...said he (Bill) was a real man like my dad...what was I, chopped liver?
  22. Nighttrain
    Hello All, I just saw this post and I love all the comments. I agree with Mike, You have to respect a person that is/or was a leader in there particular genre. In Mr. Monroe's case, I would have never given a look at the mandolin if it wasn't for him.
  23. Mike Bunting
    He is the Dude!
  24. Marty Henrickson
    Marty Henrickson
    I have to say, I have been "brushing up" on Big Mon since this whole dustup started with the taboo thread, and I have gained even more respect for Mr. Monroe. I was watching "The Father of Bluegrass" DVD a few nights ago and thinking how priceless those moments on the porch with John and around the fire with Ricky were. I'm glad they were caught on film. Hmm....idea for a new discussion.......
  25. David Anderson
    David Anderson
    I commute 2 hours a day and listen to Mr. Monroe most of the time. I never really understood the points that were made to begin the taboo thread. If anyone could play the mandolin any way he wanted, to impart any feeling he wanted, it was Mr. Monroe. IMHO.
  26. Billy1
    Well said David!
  27. D C Blood
    D C Blood
    Hi fellow Monroe lovers...well, everybody else is telling their stories, so I may as well...I started back in '62, and my earliest influence was John Duffey. It took me a couple of years before I started becoming aware of Bill Monroe. But when I did, it was a 'pahrful" revelation. And I guess he's influenced my entire life ever since. I guess I've seen him and BGB in person hundreds of times, from '64 up through his death in Sep '96. I was fortunate to know him very well, go to church with him, play on stage with him once in a while, and even carry "The Mandolin" in my car from time to time, as well as deliver him from church to the Bell Cove Club in Hendersonville, Tn, where he sat in with Wayne Lewis' band many Wednesday nights. I was on stage with him there on what must have been one of his very last times he was able to play. I will never forget Bill Monroe, and defend him and his music "to the death"...DCB
  28. Billy1
    Wow D C, We're lucky to have you here with us. I bet you've got some good stories!
  29. mandolirius
    Hi all! A bit late to the party but glad to be here.

    DC, it's interesting you followed the same path I did...John Duffey to Bill Monroe. The first time I saw Monroe it was at a festival that also featured the Seldom Scene, who I was a big fan of. Sat. night had SS, followed by BM. After SS played I wanted to get back to the campground and jam but I'd heard this Monroe guy was pretty important so I thought I'd stick around and catch a bit of his set.

    I know a lot of you can relate - they went into "On My Way Back To The Old Home". The hair on the back of my neck stood up, I got goosebumps and my life was altered permanently. I only have one true hero and it is Bill Monroe, for the way he stood his ground and kept his sound the way he wanted it. He weathered some tough times and paid a price for his principles, but he did it. I often wonder what bluegrass would sound like today if he had changed his sound, or just faded away.
  30. Mike Bunting
    Welcome, Mike and your comment was well put.
  31. woodwizard
    Just joined up and glad to be in such great company. Only got to see WSM onces in Little Rock I think early 80's but I got his autograph and have it matted & framed with a Big Mon picture on my music room wall. One of my prize possesions. Maybe when I get home I can scan it to show you guys. Big Mon was my first mandolin influience. He was such a genious.
  32. mandolirius
    Re: that festival where I first saw BM - I stood there for all of Monroe's set. I was truly transfixed. The next day, there was a workshop featuring Monroe and John Duffy. Monroe did not seem like the type to "clown around" onstage whereas Duffy obviously was. The workshop (just the two of them, with Tom Gray on bass) really shook up my image of Monroe. Duffy did clown around a lot, doing things like lifting Monroe's hat off his head and replacing it with his own baseball cap. To my surprise, Monroe rolled with it all and gave some of his own back. There is more to this story, but I'm off to work. I'll fill in the rest later.
  33. Marty Henrickson
    Marty Henrickson
    There's a actually a similar scene shown in "The Father of Bluegrass" - Monroe is clowning around onstage with one of his former banjo players - I think it's ?Bobby? Osborne, but don't hold me to it. Anyway, while Osborne is taking a break during a song, Big Mon starts grabbing his strap, as if he's trying to take his banjo, and eventually swaps his University of Kentucky ballcap for his own Stetson, then steps in to the mic right on time to sing high harmony on the chorus. He obviously had a great sense of humor.
  34. mandolirius
    So as I watched the workshop, I had to do some re-evaluating of my impression of who Bill Monroe was. Up to that point, I had only one album and it was "A Voice From On High". Gospel music was pretty alien to me to begin with and that cover, the stern countenance of BM with the church steeple in the background, was kind of off-putting to me. I was a 21 yr. old university student who grew up in an atheistic family. But the Bill Monroe I was watching was anything but stern. Playful might be stretching it a bit, but he definitely had a lighter side.
  35. mandolirius
    After the workshop was over, people gathered around for autographs and whatnot, but I was shy. I was also the archetypal hippie - beads, long hair and I think I was even wearing a poncho (I know. I'm not proud of it). Eventually someone came to get Duffy and Tom Gray, the crowd dispersed and there was Monroe, all alone, waiting for the volunteer with the golf cart to come and pick him up. I told myself that I'll likely never get another chance like this (little did I know what was to come in the years ahead) so I screwed up my courage and walked over to where he was. I figured, what was the worst that could happen? I was having trouble finding a decent case (the days before Calton, Pegasus etc) and his was a monster, so I introduced myself and asked about it. He was friendly, receptive and didn't appear to have any trouble with my appearance. Then he told me a story about the case that, in a lifetime of soaking up everything I could about the man, I've never heard anywhere else.
  36. mandolirius
    It had to do with him being at a festival and needing to run into town on an errand. He didn't want to bother with the bus, so he'd arranged to borrow a car. Some old friends came along just as he was leaving the festival site so he stopped to chat for a bit and set his mandolin down. He visited too long, realized he was late and jumped into the car. He put in reverse and promptly backed over his mandolin (yes, the Loar). Furious at himself he got out, expecting the worst. The case, he said, was totally destroyed, but the mandolin was unharmed. He said the first thing he did was get another case just like it and that was the one I was admiring.
  37. Mike Bromley
    Mike Bromley
    I was at that 1977 Calgary Concert too. Dinny's Den at U of C. I was also at the first concert he tried to perform after he had his gall bladder removed at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax, NS, back in 1983 or so. I was also at the concert that was played the day of the operation, with the Bluegrass Boys and a young Ray Legere "filling in" on mandolin. Went and partied with the BGB's afterward in a hotel in Bridgewater, NS. They were all looking over their shoulders should the Bossman somehow appear to sternly clout them for straying. I believe Wayne Lewis was the guitarist, and at the party, well, he was not what a young feller (at the time) might expect when comparing him to his stage presence. Nice feller. Bill perfomed from a wheelchair a day after the operation, clearly in pain, and apologised for having to be so poor. He vowed to return the next year, and did, appearing at the Ardoise Bluegrass Festival in Hants County, NS. I was there too. At one point I hollered "Rawhide, Bill!" and without blinking, off they went at a scary clip. Bill was later seen playing a local man's Lloyd Loar mandolin. Apparently, now correct me if I'm wrong, but Fred Eisnor paid something like 300 dollars for that instrument. It was legend around the Maritimes, and all of us mando players had had a go at it. So did Bill.
    Needless to say I was a fan and still am. He's da MON, man. Nobody had, or has, that RHYTHM. Bill said it himself, playing lead is really playing rhythm up front. Amen.
  38. Mike Bunting
    "Nobody had, or has, that RHYTHM. Bill said it himself, playing lead is really playing rhythm up front. Amen."
    That's is really a good point. So true.
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