Mudcat Café message #1245359 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #72375   Message #1245359
Posted By: Jerry Rasmussen
11-Aug-04 - 08:58 PM
Thread Name: Harmonies By The Number
Subject: Harmonies By The Number
I've been listening to a double CD of bluegrass gospel this evening and I am reminded once again how predictable harmonies (and banjo and guitar bass runs) can be in bluegrass. I am NOT saying that most bluegrass is predictable, but Flatt and Scruggs and Bill Monroe are such monstrous influences on the genre that they've spawned a lot of bluegrass bands who do what sound to me like "stock" harmonies (and bass runs on guitar, and Scruggs licks on banjo. That's probably why I've had a hard time enjoying bluegrass as a body of music. (Bluegrass musicians are often condescending toward folk music, tit for tat.) C'mon, Martin G... I await your caustic comments.

Now, there are many bands who are more inventive... some who everyone knows, and others who may be less known. Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver is probably my favorite group, and I particularly get a kick out of their "covers" of recordings by the Soul Stirrers. There's a group I had never heard of on this collection, IIIrd Tyme Around that are a breath of fresh air too, and I just ordered a CD of theirs. The Stanley Brothers are probably my favorite bluegrass group because they sound more "mountain" to me. There's a real nice track of How Great Thou Art by the Osborne Brothers on this album, too.

Lest anyone ever confuse what Mudcat is, it's a collection of personal tastes posing as absolutes. That's all this thread is. It irritates me in a way that I don't appreciate bluegrass as much as I probably should. So, I keep looking for recordings that I like. For many years, I was determined that I'd come to like liverwurst. So, every once in a while, I'd buy some and make a liverwurst sandwich. It finally worked.

If it worked for liverwurst, why not for bluegrass.

Personal opinions welcome here...