The Tradition

Notes & Queries – May 2023

Q: I’m trying to find out who the Foggy Mountain Boys were who played on the original “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” Thanks. Arthur Liblit, via email. A: According to research by Neil Rosenberg that was published in the booklet to a 1991 Bear Family boxed set of Flatt & Scruggs recordings, the personnel on the original…

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The Country Gentlemen (back row, left to right) Kevin Church, Norman Wright, and Jimmy Bowen with Charlie Waller.

The Tradition Carries On

Porter Church And Kevin Church Father And Son Porter Church left a grand legacy of musicianship and performance in the Washington, DC area. An extensive biography of him written by Fred Geiger appeared in the January, 1986 edition of Bluegrass Unlimited. Here are some of the highlights of his life and career and the story…

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Label from a 1945 re-recording of “Salty Dog Blues” by the Morris Brothers.

Notes & Queries – April 2023

Q: I have a question that I have been looking to have answered for years. Most people agree that the “Salty Dog” is/was a road house/tavern/speak-easy. The song “Salty Dog Blues” is an old bluegrass favorite with more than one person claiming authorship. After some investigation I have determined that the likely author(s) are the…

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Dave “Stringbean” Akeman with Bill Monroe (kneeling). To Stringbean’s left are Howdy Forrester, Clyde Moody, and “Cousin Wilbur” Wesbrooks.

Stringbean and His Banjo

Photos Courtesy of Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum In the summer of 1972, Mark Jones, son of Grandpa Jones, auditioned to perform at the newly-opened Opryland theme park in Nashville, Tennessee. He had practiced his chosen number on the banjo, working out solos high on the neck. Before auditioning, he ran his performance…

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Notes & Queries – March 2023

Queries Q: I have a question about the photo of The Traveler album by the Country Gentlemen [Rebel SLP-1481, 1968]. According to my friends, the photo was taken in the Shenandoah River in 1968. I think this photo was modified later because it’s hard to believe that four big men with very expensive instruments would…

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Fred Bartenstein sells Muleskinner News in the crowd, Culpeper, VA. 1973 Photo by Carl Fleischauer

Carrying Knowledge  and Passing It Along

When watching a musical performance, people generally focus solely on the artist(s). Little thought is given to the promoters, the sound/technical crew, the songwriters, the managers/booking agents, the bus drivers, and everyone else behind the scenes that make it all happen. It takes a village. In bluegrass music, Fred Bartenstein is a mayor of one…

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