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Roscoe Holcomb on Bluegrass Banjo and Guitar


I saw a post at a Facebook friend on Roscoe Holcomb. Above is part of an appearance on Pete Seeger’s “Rainbow Quest” television show. He performs “Little Birdy” and “Graveyard Blues.” Below, Holcomb plays “John Hardy” on guitar.

Wikipedia says that Holcomb was friends with John Cohen, who was in The New Lost City Ramblers. Cohen coined the term “high lonesome sound” to describe Holcomb’s singing. The description attached itself to bluegrass singing in general.

Cohen married Seeger’s half sister. The Wikipedia entry says that the Grateful Dead song “Uncle John’s Band” (with lyrics by Robert Hunter) is said to be based on Cohen.

Here is more on Holcomb.

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--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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