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Thread: Bill Hamilton and Mid-Continent Music

  1. #1
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    Now and then I see people post here in praise of one or another mando-related business. I've been turned on to some good places to do business that way.

    I buy a lot of my CD's from Mid-Continent Music. It's an online shop -- www.midcontinentmusic.com The owner of the shop, Bill Hamilton, is a mandolin player, and is very knowledgeable about bluegrass and other music. He's a great guy, too. If you have a question, email Bill and he'll answer you. (He plays an Apitius, too, so he has good taste!)

    I got an email from Bill a couple weeks ago. He said he had a few 2006 Bluegrass Calendars left, and did I want one? Sure I did! It came in the mail today, and it's great! Nearly every day of the year has some bluegrass historical event or birthday or something (usually several), and there's great pictures of Bill Monroe, the Stanleys and lots of more contemporary acts.

    How about that? A business that not only provides top-notch service, an excellent selection of our kind of music, fast shipping and a personal touch...but also remembers you at year end and sends you a nice gift!? I didn't get anything from Amazon this year.

    Bill has a remarkable inventory. Check it out. Support other mandolin players. Support the businesses that support us!

    Thanks, Bill!

    Mark
    J. Mark Lane
    Stanley #10 F5
    Pomeroy #72 F4
    Brian Dean #30 Bowlback

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    Yep, I learned about Bill thru Comando & he has done me right for many years now!!!

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    Registered User Brad Weiss's Avatar
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    Few months back, Bill didn't see my online order for a few days. He apologized for the delay by email, sent my order by FedEx at his own expense, I got it the next day- faster than I would have had the order been "on time." He won a customer for life! Outstanding catalog of ALL kinds of music, and a great guy to boot.

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    Another vote for Mid-Continent. Orders have always been processed promptly and shipping cost very reasonable.

    I only go to Amazon when Bill doesn't have it.

    fuzzy

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    Registered User JimRichter's Avatar
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    Bill's great. #Great guy, great service, and most importantly, a great selection of CD's--many you can't find anywhere else. #A bluegrass music store run by a bluegrasser for bluegrassers. #Why go to Borders or Amazon?

    Jim




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    Registered User swampstomper's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip. I nearly flipped when I saw the "Bill Hamiton" name. There's another one, known as "Billy Hamilton"
    who was a Monroe worshiper from (I think) Lousiville who ended up in New Haven CT in graduate school in the late 1960's. He walked, talked and dressed like Monroe and had an influential band (with a radio show) called the Ohio River Valley Boys. This evolved in Apple Country when he left. Phil Rosenthal started in that band. Anyway, for people who didn't know about Monroe, this Billy Hamilton sure was exotic up there in New England! I believe he went on to teach in Buffalo, but I have no idea what has happened to him. Thanks for the memories -- and yes I will shop at Mid-Continent!

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    Default Re: Bill Hamilton and Mid-Continent Music

    Hey, swampstomper and all,

    If this ancient thread is still alive, I can add some recollections about Billy Hamilton, the bluegrass mandolin and fiddle player who hailed from Cincinnati. He was, and probably still is, a brilliant and charismatic musician—with a mischievously experimental streak: He once said—I think in all seriousness—that he thought it might be fun to try rounding out traditional bluegrass instrumentation with drums (and maybe he did, after we lost touch, and there was no longer any chance of witnessing my meltdown).

    Like me, Billy did his undergrad and graduate work in Russian at Yale, where his Ohio River Boys were a mainstay of weekly hoots at the School of Architecture in the mid-to-late ’60’s. I then preceded him to SUNY/Buffalo, where I had a chance to recommend him as the best candidate I could think of for a linguistics opening in our Department of German and Slavic. Not long after settling in, he formed his Buffalo-based band, The Bluegrass Almanac, which consisted of Billy, his wife Cindy, a couple of friends who played banjo and upright bass, and me on rhythm guitar—and, during rehearsals at their house, two galumphing retrievers named, appropriately enough, Carter and Ralph.

    For several years in the mid-’70’s we played at local nightspots, area colleges and a few bluegrass festivals—eventually getting good enough to take first place in the Canadian National Bluegrass Festival’s string band division in 1974, for which I believe the Stoneman Family headed the panel of judges. It had to have been the combination of our vocal blend (just one mike, of course) and Billy’s solos that carried the day. He and Cindy eventually left Buffalo for Wake Forest University sometime in the late ’70’s.

    You can read his tongue-in-cheek bio and find contact information for him at http://www.wfu.edu/germanrussian/hamilton.htm.

  8. #8
    Registered User swampstomper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Hamilton and Mid-Continent Music

    Oh yes, Cincinnati... at least I got the river right! Yes, I remember Cindy also, she was part of the band when I promoted an indoor "festival" at Cornell in 1972 (?) which included the reconstituted Ohio River Valley Boys (with a left-handed fiddler, who was that?) and Country Cooking (only Pete Wernick for that gig, IIRC, Tony Trischka was not available? -- the memory is fading after almost 40 years). After that 2006 post I did find out that Billy Hamilton made it to Wake Forest where he has made a successful career. Nice to know he's still picking.

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    Default Re: Bill Hamilton and Mid-Continent Music

    Ah, I remember that drive to Ithaca in Billy and Cindy’s VW van, but nothing about our fiddle player, other than his classical background and the pleasure he found in learning some traditional tunes and bluegrass bowing techniques. I played either guitar or bass that day; if guitar, I would have used Billy’s gussied-up D-28, since I hadn’t yet replaced the D-21 I had sold to Pete Peterson back in New Haven (and which Pete’s wife Kelly Allen now uses in the Orpheus Supertones, the old-time group they formed four or five years ago with fiddlin’ Walt Koken and Clare Miliner). Although Billy hadn’t started building instruments yet, he had already done some rather intricate work with mother of pearl, and had decorated that guitar's headstock with a mischievous version of the “C. F. Martin” vertical inlay shown on the 12-string at the very end of http://www.vintagemartin.com/inlays.html —an exact replica in every respect, were it not for the fact that he had reversed the letters F and M. That was Billy.

    . . . But now I really digress. Thanks again for these memories of the non-Mid-Continent B. Hamilton.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Bill Hamilton and Mid-Continent Music

    I have hope that at least one of you who experienced Billy Hamilton will see this though it has been years since this thread was touched. On Saturday, October 9, 2021, Dr. Billy Hamilton passed away under hospice in Winston-Salem, NC, with his wife and children by his side. He touched countless lives and we are all grateful for him. Link to his obituary below.
    https://www.salemfh.com/obituaries/W...#/obituaryInfo

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Bill Hamilton and Mid-Continent Music

    Bill was a constant in the early days of the internet on CoMando, then on the Cafe for years. Was really bitten by the music. Sort of lost track of him the past few years though remember seeing a few posts from him. Interesting read, the obit. Had no idea about his role as a professor. Thanks for the post and condolences on the loss of your friend.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Bill Hamilton and Mid-Continent Music

    Quote Originally Posted by J. Mark Lane View Post
    Now and then I see people post here in praise of one or another mando-related business. I've been turned on to some good places to do business that way.

    I buy a lot of my CD's from Mid-Continent Music. It's an online shop -- www.midcontinentmusic.com The owner of the shop, Bill Hamilton, is a mandolin player, and is very knowledgeable about bluegrass and other music. He's a great guy, too. If you have a question, email Bill and he'll answer you. (He plays an Apitius, too, so he has good taste!)

    I got an email from Bill a couple weeks ago. He said he had a few 2006 Bluegrass Calendars left, and did I want one? Sure I did! It came in the mail today, and it's great! Nearly every day of the year has some bluegrass historical event or birthday or something (usually several), and there's great pictures of Bill Monroe, the Stanleys and lots of more contemporary acts.

    How about that? A business that not only provides top-notch service, an excellent selection of our kind of music, fast shipping and a personal touch...but also remembers you at year end and sends you a nice gift!? I didn't get anything from Amazon this year.

    Bill has a remarkable inventory. Check it out. Support other mandolin players. Support the businesses that support us!

    Thanks, Bill!

    Mark
    Clicking on the link www.midcontinentmusic.com got me Texas Wraps, Dallas TX.
    Eastman 515 Mando
    Gibson J-30 Guitar
    RK-80 Banjo

  13. #13
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Hamilton and Mid-Continent Music

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie D View Post
    Clicking on the link www.midcontinentmusic.com got me Texas Wraps, Dallas TX.
    Just looked at the date-06. Duh!
    Eastman 515 Mando
    Gibson J-30 Guitar
    RK-80 Banjo

  14. #14
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Hamilton and Mid-Continent Music

    I bought a lot of CDs from Bill. Interesting to learn the backstory. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.

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