Well, March had its ups and downs. You remember … like a 30- to 40-degree change from one day to the other. Whew, I'm glad that's over – at least let's hope so. A few flowers have begun showing off. Oh yeah, one carryover, and that is: If you didn't get your TAXES done by now, you've got a limited number of days to do it. No use coming up with excuses to put it off; it's a lot less frantic now, and putting it off won't change the outcome. Suppose you are to get a refund. Wouldn't you rather have it sooner than later? But then again, if you have to render unto Caesar, why not get it over with? Either way, you'll be glad you did.
March started off great for myself and a lot of other folks – the first Saturday in March, that is. Dr. Ralph and the Clinch Mountain boys were in town at St. Francis of Assisi. I was planning to go and have a pre-show visit with Ralph and band on the bus. I found the bus, and the bus was empty. Seems they were down the street somewhere to refuel themselves. I think somebody said they went for ribs or something like that. Anyhow, a good visit followed when they returned and it was show time. Ralph wanted to get in to his table, so I went when he did.
At the bus, the first thing James Alan said to me was that I was going to be the MC for them. Now I wasn't expecting that. Woody Chancy was the MC, so I had been told, and that was fine with me – his youngsters go to school there. Woody introduced Paul Burch, who was the opening act. I learned it was his idea that I introduce Ralph. He very graciously suggested that, explaining he felt I know Ralph better than he does. When the time came, Woody introduced me and I in turn introduced Ralph.
My sincere thanks to you, Woodrow, for that. I do and did appreciate the opportunity. I was absolutely amazed at the reception I was given by everybody that night, not to mention being very much flattered at how many members of the audience knew me. Blessings on you all. Oh, did I say that it was a sell-out!!! Dr. Ralph Stanley is the man.
A note to above: Jack Cooke, longtime bass man with Ralph, wasn't with them. Jack was in the hospital with pneumonia and couldn't make it, of course. I checked with James Alan Shelton about a week later and at that time he wasn't sure if Jack was out or not. He did say that Ralph said they had told Jack to take it easy for a few days. So, Jack, if you ain't well yet, get that way soon. And if you are, stay that way for a long time to come, my friend.
A brief note from the country side of things. If you haven't heard or seen, two more of the traditional guys passed on last month. Ernie Ashworth, "Talk Back Trembling Lips," and Hank Locklin, "Please Help Me I'm Falling," "Geisha Girl," "Send Me The Pillow You Dream On," and more.
While preparing this I had a call from a friend in Hawaii, Barry Willis, who wrote the book America's Music – Bluegrass a few years ago. Barry, in addition to having a lot of time on his hands between golf and rowing activities, has another project in mind related to his book. He wants me to be involved with providing some of the material he will be needing. It is in the dreaming stage right now, so there is not much more for me to tell about it. I will say I appreciate being asked and hope I can be of some assistance to the degree "Bar" thinks I can.
Jams are still going strong and seem to be growing. The Vine Grove jam, the one that I am most familiar with, is looking to move back to the Optimist Park on April 20. It has been great through the winter months to be able to continue indoors at Vine Grove, but everybody is chomping at the bit and about to jump the traces in order to get back out under the stars and trees. Come join with the regulars, pickers and listeners, and meet and visit with "new" friends. If you've got one, bring your instrument and pick or learn more. You're welcome, and Y'all all come.
Now the list:
Colesburg jams, Colesburg Baptist Church, every Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Ray's Monkey House Coffee Shop, 1578 Bardstown Road, every Tuesday night.
The New Silver Heights Bingo Hall, 9206 Blue Lick Road, every Tuesday night.
Bluegrass Anonymous-sponsored jams: Thursday nights at 6:30, The Zeppelin Café, 1036 E. Burnett, Germantown.
Shepherdsville Music Place: April 3, Wildwood Valley Boys. April 10, Rick Prater and the Midnight Travelers. April 17, Hazel Hollow. April 24 (final show of the season), Monroe Country Band.
Well, dear readers, it's time to go …… hold it right there, this isn't Sunday night so let's see now, time to go to, I got it, bed. Just you don't forget Sunday night, WFPK 91.9, 8-11, for Sunday Bluegrass. Don't forget the stream from WFPK.org. Be there.