Letters Of Note: 7/12/2016

Birthday Power Quartet Of The Day

Ray Gillen(1960, Black Sabbath?) on vocals, Eric Carr(1950, KISS?)on drums, John Petrucci(1967, Dream Theater) on guitar, and Philip Kramer(1952, Iron Butterfly & various attempts to discredit Einstein) on bass.

For the obvious reasons, and because I weirdly want these guys to have fun, I’m gonna have them play “Wild One” from the silly/shitty Dio album, Lock Up The Wolves. The obvious reasons are Ronnie James Dio’s and Simon Wright’s(yes, he drummed on this album) history as second fiddles. Gillen and Carr know that feeling too well. Also, Dio got some hotshot 18-year-old kid named Rowan Robertson to play guitar on that album, who I bet Petrucci absolutely hates. I mean, look at the way Petrucci plays…

… compared to the slutty-commando-jeaned slopfest of Robertson:


I’d listen to their version for sure. Then fire everyone from the fake band I just put them in.


Temple Of The Dog

My dog, Dixie, has been very sick, so I took some time off. Also, I haven’t been able to sleep in six weeks. Medically. Good times. We are both much better now. Look at that sweet girl:



Let’s All Die In 2016: Ralph Stanley

Beyond Ralph Stanley’s influence and brilliance, the best story about him is a Bill Monroe story, namely how much Monroe hated the Stanley Brothers. His good reason to have hated Ralph Stanley was that the Stanley Brothers just played amped-up versions of Monroe’s songs in their early career. His bad reason was that Bill Monroe was notoriously bitter towards anyone not loyal to him or his claim as the inventor of “bluegrass”. Not that Monroe didn’t hold that claim rightly. The Stanley Brothers’ technical prowess was a constant challenge to the stable of musicians he kept, Frank Zappa-wise, to corner the market on the bluegrass sound. Monroe hated them enough that when Colombia signed them he left and signed with Decca.

That move to Decca was without Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, though, and Monroe hired Ralph’s brother, Carter, to play guitar while Ralph was in the military, swapping out his long-held vitriol towards The Stanley Brothers for the newly-formed Foggy Mountain Boys, a feud that lasted even longer. Get a load of this catty business here:

Carter Stanley died young, but Ralph Stanley carried on.  Carter had the better voice, but that’s never stopped any good bluegrass player from singing, and Ralph Stanley’s voice came to become the standard for his peers and contemporaries. All the arrangements and harmonies from groups like the Del McCorey Band, and the authenticity of the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack, are all because of this voice. RIP.


Also Dead: Elvis Presley

Worth re-mentioning here: Bill Monroe gave his blessing to Elvis’ version of “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” for mainly financial reasons, but it didn’t hurt that it stole the thunder from The Stanley Brother’s version, also a hot-stepping 4/4 rendition. Catty as fuck.

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