Category Archives: Bluegrass

Bob Dylan and Earl Scruggs: East Virginia Blues

bob dylan earl scruggs 1970
Earl Scruggs and Bob Dylan

I was born in East Virginia
North Carolina I did go
There I courted a fair young maiden
But her age I did not know

Dylan records two songs with Randy, Gary, and Earl Scruggs at the New York home of Thomas B. Allen, for a documentary on Earl Scruggs. Playing harmonica and guitar on “Nashville Skyline Rag,” he then duets with Earl on “East Virginia Blues.” The first song is later released on Earl Scruggs Performing with His Family and Friends, both are included in a documentary of the same name screened by NBC in January 1971.
~Clinton Heylin (Bob Dylan: A Life in Stolen Moments Day by Day 1941-1995)

The Home Of Thomas B. Allen
Carmel, New York
December 1970
Earl Scruggs Documentary

  • Bob Dylan (guitar & vocal)
  • Earl Scruggs (banjo)
  • Randy Scruggs (acoustic guitar)
  • Gary Scruggs (electric bass)

Continue reading Bob Dylan and Earl Scruggs: East Virginia Blues

November 1: Grateful Dead released American Beauty in 1970

american-beauty

“Taking notes on vocal harmonies from friends Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Dead used the softer statements of their fourth studio album as a subtle but moving reflection on the turmoil, heaviness, and hope America’s youth was facing as the idealistic ’60s ended. American Beauty was recorded just a few months after its predecessor, both expanding and improving on the bluegrass, folk, and psychedelic country explorations of Workingman’s Dead with some of the band’s most brilliant compositions.”
– Fred Thomas (Allmusic)

It took me a while to get into Grateful Dead, but when they hit me, they hit me hard! This is my second favorite of their albums (my number one is Workingman’s Dead) I should say studio albums, because I really love their early 70s live stuff.

American Beauty is the sixth album by the rock band the Grateful Dead. It was recorded between August and September 1970 and originally released in November 1970 by Warner Bros. Records. The album continued the folk rock and country music explored on Workingman’s Dead and prominently features the lyrics of Robert Hunter.

grateful dead

In 2003, the album was ranked number 258 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Continue reading November 1: Grateful Dead released American Beauty in 1970

October 7: Steve Earle released El Corazon in 1997

el corazon

This album sort of wrote itself.  It was bigger than me and faster than me and so it took me awhile to get a handle on what it was about.  Basically, it comes down to stuff I care about.  That’s where the title comes from.

I always like to perform solo before I make a record.  It gives me the chance to try out new material on audiences.
– Steve Earle (steveearle.net)

…the album kicks off with a tremendous one-two punch, the rousing acoustic ballad “Christmas in Washington” and “Taneytown,” a harrowing story of race and violence backed with gale-force electric guitars. El Corazón is also a good bit more eclectic than much of Earle’s previous work, dipping into bluegrass (“You Know the Rest,” featuring backing from the Del McCoury Band), old-school country (“The Other Side of Town”), hard rock (“N.Y.C.,” co-starring the Supersuckers, and “Here I Am”), and vintage R&B (“Telephone Road”).

As its title suggests, El Corazón often deals with matters of the heart

– Mark Deming (allmusic)

Great album, one of Earle’s best!
It’s a mix of country, folk, rock, soul, pain, redemption and politics. What a magnificent brew it is ! Truly remarkable.

Taneytown (live, Sidney, 2013):

“This song, which is graced with Emmylou Harris singing backup, is told from the point of view of a 22 year old retarded black man.  I also wrote it in the form of a short story that will be in my book.  Taneytown is a real place – you can see it on maps of The Battle Of Gettysburg – but it (the story) could reallytake place anywhere racism exists.  I took a risk writing the story and a risk doing this song and I don’t claim to have it well…. But just taking the chance made it worthwhile for me.”
– Steve Earle

 

Continue reading October 7: Steve Earle released El Corazon in 1997

September 13: The late Bill Monroe was born in 1911

bill monroe

 

September 13: The late Bill Monroe was born in 1911

I’m a farmer with a mandolin and a high tenor voice.
~Bill Monroe

“To me there’s no difference between Muddy Waters and Bill Monroe.”
~Bob Dylan (to John Pareles, Sept 1997)

“Uncle Pen” from 1956 at the Ryman Auditorium:

Continue reading September 13: The late Bill Monroe was born in 1911

Alison Krauss sings Bob Dylan I Believe in you – Happy birthday

alison krauss believe

 “They ask me how I feel
And if my love is real
And how I know I’ll make it through
And they, they look at me and frown
They’d like to drive me from this town
They don’t want me around
‘Cause I believe in you”

Alison Krauss does a two wonderful interpretation of this song from Slow Train Coming, thank you Alison, and a we wish you a very happy birthday!

Alison Krauss – I Believe In You – BBC’s Transatlantic Sessions:

They show me to the door
They say don’t come back no more
’Cause I don’t be like they’d like me to
And I walk out on my own
A thousand miles from home
But I don’t feel alone
’Cause I believe in you

Alison Krauss – I Believe In You – Americana’s Cross-County Lines at the Factory in Franklin TN June 1, 2013 – Audio Only

I believe in you even through the tears and the laughter
I believe in you even though we be apart
I believe in you even on the morning after
Oh, when the dawn is nearing
Oh, when the night is disappearing
Oh, this feeling is still here in my heart

Don’t let me drift too far
Keep me where you are
Where I will always be renewed
And that which you’ve given me today
Is worth more than I could pay
And no matter what they say
I believe in you

I believe in you when winter turn to summer
I believe in you when white turn to black
I believe in you even though I be outnumbered
Oh, though the earth may shake me
Oh, though my friends forsake me
Oh, even that couldn’t make me go back

Don’t let me change my heart
Keep me set apart
From all the plans they do pursue
And I, I don’t mind the pain
Don’t mind the driving rain
I know I will sustain
’Cause I believe in you

– Hallgeir & Egil