I think the realization finally hit me as I snaked my car over the mountains on the Oregon border late Monday afternoon; my radio tuned to some phantom AM station playing Elvis gospel records and forgotten Kingston Trio album cuts while the afternoon sunshine was being devoured by giant clouds that seemed to flow from the ominous California redwoods lurking in the distance. As I listened to Sonny James croon “Young Love,” it gradually occurred to me that trying to explain (let alone write) or even trying to share some thoughts about my trip to the Pickathon music festival in Happy Valley, Oregon was going to be an impossible task.
After all, how can you even describe Pickathon itself to someone for the first time?
Bill Monroe: Father of Bluegrass Music is a great documentary from 1993 about the life of Monroe and his music. There’s some incredible live footage of Monroe in this documentary including several clips that show his talents as an old time mountain dancer. You have not lived until you see Bill Monroe dancing up a storm on a New York city subway (around the 18:00 minute mark)! The film also features interviews about Monroe with the likes of Emmylou Harris, Jerry Garcia, Marty Stuart, and former Bluegrass Boys Del McCoury and Peter Rowan. Enjoy the film below it it’s entirety.
Bluegrass Country Soul is a 1972 documentary about the bluegrass festival that took place in the summer of 1971 in Springs Camp, North Carolina. It shows the evolution of bluegrass at the time with performances by the more traditional acts; Jimmy Martin, The Osbourne Brothers, Ralph Stanley (with the young duo of Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs backing him up), Roy Acuff and Mac Wiseman alongside the upcoming “new-grass bands” like the Earl Scruggs Review, the Country Gentlemen, JD Crowe, and the Bluegrass Alliance (which would later become the New Grass Revival). The film is posted in its entirety below. Enjoy!
Dolly Parton- Gypsy Joe And Me
Dolly Parton performing “Gypsy Joe and Me,” a very sad tune which originally appeared on her 1969 record My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy and showcases her incredible songwriting and guitar playing abilities. Honestly, can you imagine trying to finger pick this song with those nails?
Roy Buchanan and Merle Haggard- Travelin’ Blues and I Love You A Thousand Ways
Merle Haggard and Roy Buchanan performing “Travelin’ Blues” and “I Love You A Thousand Ways” live at The Blackboard Bar in Oildale, California. This clip comes comes from a long out of print 1971 PBS documentary about Roy Buchanan called The Best Unknown Guitarist In The World. In terms of vintage Merle Haggard/Roy Buchanan live footage; this stuff is pretty much the Holy Grail…..Check out a couple more Buchanan videos, including a nine minute version of the Motown classic “Shotgun” featuring one of Roy’s young guitar students, Nils Lofgren, after the jump.
Ok. I admit it. I somehow missed When You Awakes’s great Beach Boys-themed Sweet Relief Fund show earlier this summer. So even though this post is a few months late, I just couldn’t resist sharing some videos that highlight the interesting connections between the Beach Boys and the world of country music.
Grateful Dead & The Beach Boys-Okie From Muskogee
The Merle Haggard (via The Grateful Dead) Connection: On April 27, 1971 the Beach Boys joined fellow California rockers the Grateful Dead for a wild show at the hallowed Fillmore East in New York City. As a packed audience (including Bob Dylan) looked on, both groups joined together for a version of the Merle Haggard classic “Okie from Muskogee.” A few months later here’s the Beach Boys cranking through the Haggard chestnut for a tv special.
The Beach Boys – Okie from Muskogee
Here’s a show that is just too good to pass up. Tonight, the legendary Hot Club of Cowtown will be making a rare Southern California appearance as part of the Culver City summer music festival. The best part? This show is absolutely free! It takes place in front of city hall in Culver City. Gates open at 4:30pm and the band goes on at 7pm. Click here for more information. If you’re not familiar with the incredible western swing stylings of these Austin based virtuosos, let this video serve as an introduction….
Hot Club of Cowtown- Orange Blossom Special/ There’ll Be Some Changes Made
Sara and Maybelle Carter – While the Band is Playing Dixie
An extremely rare clip of Sara and Maybelle Carter (two-thirds of the original Carter family) performing “While The Band Is Playing Dixie” on the Wilburn Brothers TV show. This appearance was probably done in conjunction with the 1966 Columbia album An Historic Reunion: Sara and Maybelle – The Original Carters. It’s a wonderful performance that showcases the beautiful harmony singing between Sara and Maybelle. Plus it gives the Wilburn brothers a chance to introduce the Sara and Maybelle to their number one fan, “momma Wilburn.”