Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Our December 29, 1991, Sunday Bluegrass program took on an entirely different sound for the one night. We did a program that should have been done on New Year's Day; however, the thought of doing such a program was suggested too late to program for this year.

In order to get it scheduled and on at all this year, I had to go for the 29th. O.K. We did an all-Hank Williams and that is all HANK WILLIAMS SR. Like one of your favorite drinks, the real thing.

I was fortunate enough to have Bill and Redd Stewart come in to be a part of the show. Bill and Redd both had personal experiences with Hank. They knew him, worked around and with him, not for him but around him, and had some great stories to tell. I have done Hank Williams programs many years ago, but this undoubtedly was the best, owing to the two guests. THANK YOU very much, Bill and Redd Stewart.

They did promise to come back sometime and we will all be looking forward to that. Judging from the response to this one-time show, our listeners liked it as well as we did. Next year, New Year's Day, maybe!

You never know who is listening or when the past may become present. First I had a card at the station [WFPL] and then a personal correspondence tape from a local listener who had been a fan and listener when I was doing country radio at my home down in Virginia 30-plus years ago. Although this individual said he has been listening for quite some time, it was the Hank Williams show that finally prompted him to write and then make the tape. These are perks that no full-speed coffee pot can match. They reach you, they touch you and they can really make your day. Thanks, listener. Thanks mostly for remembering.

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Ralph Stanley _- Dr. Ralph Stanley _- and the Clinch Mountain Boys were at Shepherdsville this month and did a heck of a show, a crowd-pleaser. And speaking of crowds, Ralph had the biggest crowd in quite a while. The kind of crowd that should be there every week, considering the top talent being brought in. I had a strong and good _- good in the sense of being reliable _- rumor that Ralph would be retiring next month. Ralph said he didn't know anything about it and that he was too young to retire. He told the crowd that he would be around to play as long as the folks/fans wanted him. Judging from the response, there ain't no end in sight.

Ralph has a regular little segment he includes in his shows that really gets a crowd moving _- when he breaks into his claw-hammer style to close the first part of his show.

I asked Ralph this question:

When you first learned to play the banjo, did you ever think you would have to play it as much or as long as you have?

Ralph replied, No, I didn't.

Ralph has a new tape that is all claw-hammer. If you are a fan of that style you will like it. The tape has a picture of Ralph's mother on the front; the lady who taught him, and taught him well.

By the time the print hits the pages and your eye, there will have been a couple of other top groups at Shepherdsville Country Music Place: The Nashville Bluegrass Band and The Boys From Indiana. I hope you didn't have to hear about how good they were from somebody else.

There are a lot more top shows coming in the weeks ahead. Plan NOW.

The 7th of February, The Goins Bros., with a planned reunion with Danny Jones and Art Stamper if Art can be there.

February 14 has had a change and now will be Larry Stephenson.

On the 21st, IIIrd Tyme Out.

And on the 28th, our friends Kentucky Blue.

More good folks coming in March and, as it is now, our good friend Randall Hylton will be back in May. Hoo-rah!

We had more live _- make that in-person _- music on the program this past month: A group called Eastern Blend, being mostly from Eastern Kentucky, and featuring Annie Kaser, formerly of the New Coon Creek Girls. You are likely to hear more of this group. Stay tuned to the show and the paper.

Condolences to Art Stamper whose 98-year-old father passed away on January 16. Art learned much of his ability from his dad __ many of the old numbers _- and we're sure he'll be missed.

New tapes from the Stewarts. Bill Stewart and Redd Stewart.

Sing Me A Hillbilly Song
The Stewart Family

Stewart Family it is, consisting of Bill, wife Helen, daughter-in-law Judy, and sons Mark and Kent. Instruments include fiddle, accordion, guitar, bass, autoharp and mandolin, banjo and harmonica by Tony Rothrock.

The title song was written by Helen and is a good one. A good title tune, a good starter for the tape, and bluegrassy. This group is the good-old-country-style oriented. Besides the title tune, there is Tennessee 1949 very well done, Mandolin Shuffle, Lorena, an old civil war tune, as opposed to a new civil war tune, and a favorite gospel standard, Precious Memories.

Side two includes Homestead on the Farm, You've Been a Friend to Me, an excellent version of Soldier's Joy, Each Season Changes You, Nina's Waltz and Not Afraid. This is an overall good tape. The only fault, and that is not of the group, is that the mix on Homestead on the Farm leaves Kent out in the back room. To me it sounds as if he may be standing back in a corner and most or all of the instruments are between him and the mike. I know better than that and I also know that Kent does a fine job and deserves a hearing.

Tapes can be obtained from The Stewart Family, 7103 Cape Cod Ct., Louisville, KY 40214.

Faith In Hand
Reflections Of You
Redd Stewart

Redd Stewart has not one but two new tapes. Two new tapes of original material: An all-gospel tape, Faith In Hand, and Reflections of You.

Reflections of you is a take-me-back, good country, a little what was pop music-flavored tape. Redd Stewart wrote many country/pop songs, quite a few of which show up on the Remember these old favorites, hear them again in this one of a kind collection. These songs are there because they bring back memories and are far better for the most part than most of what is being passed off for pop music today. In Reflections of You, Redd Stewart has put romance _- old-fashioned romance, if you insist _- back into the music and songs on this tape. There is a difference.

Besides the title tune there is, most appropriately, Please Play the Tennessee Waltz (One More Time), one of my favorites on the tape. The tape is completed with Life on the Bayou, Some Kind of Lady, You Know How and I'm Going Home to Texas.

Side B has The Trucker, I Feel a New Kind of Love, Take Me Back to Oklahoma, Old Cowboy Joe and Kentucky Gold.

There is a good mix here of ballad, upbeat and a couple of songs with a story. The mix and music are good.

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The Faith in Hand tape is one that should appeal to anyone who likes gospel. Again, original songs are here. The Oil and the Wine, I Brought the Hammer, God's Gon'na Send a Revival, There's Joy in Loving Jesus and God Bless All the Servicemen.

The B side: Ten Thousand Angels, My Bible is Precious to Me, God's Hall of Fame, God Has a Better Idea and The American Serviceman. Inspired songs from an obviously inspired writer.

These newest tapes from Redd Stewart are two fine tapes that are comfortable and easy listening, especially to those who remember the country that is relaxed and good. If you don't remember that, here is an excellent opportunity to get a feel for what it's like.