(I thought this wasn’t going to have any bluegrass content, but it turned out to be a critique of how Ralph Stanley looks on TV! Be forewarned!)
Just arrived back at the house after my nine-hour trip back from my weekend in Georgia. Glad to report the ‘rents are about the same. No Scrabble, but we did watch one of the Bill Gaither Gospel DVDs that featured a lot of bluegrass groups. Mama and Daddy stayed awake (mostly) for the whole thing, and did not retreat into “reading” the paper which is what they did when I tried them on an episode of “Dukes of Hazzard.” (Small bluegrass content: my guitar student Cody wants to learn the theme song so he lent me a season’s worth of DVDs so I could learn it.) I will have to say that the Dukes had a few too many car chases and sliding cars to suit me. But you gotta love Boss Hogg!
Anyhow, on the Bill Gaither DVD we got to see Doyle Lawson, Marty Stuart, Rhonda No Last Name Needed, Dailey and Vincent, the Isaacs, Cherryholmes, Marty Stuart, Ralph Stanley, Larry Sparks, the Grascals (before Kristin joined them) and Vince Gill. It was so great to see Ralph because Jack Cooke was still with him. God rest his soul, Cookie was a wonderful musician. Ralph looked absolutely cute -- no other word to describe it -- wearing a purple shirt while Bill Gaither was interviewing him. And he sounds so sincere when he talks. Just the right amount of modesty coupled with obvious pride at the turn his career has taken. He’s still got a good head of hair and it was beautifully coiffed. (Note: In his new memoir, Ralph says that Keith Whitley used to do his hair!) He is aging simply wonderfully and, frankly, I thought he looked a little bit like my Grandmother Hicks! She was quite regal at age ninety. Like her, he has great-looking skin, or else they had a fabulous makeup artist. Maybe both! I told Mama I thought he looked a little bit like a possum, which totally made her laugh.
On stage, he looked like the Great Patriarch that he is, wearing his glasses now (the modern kind, with square frames) so he can read the words off the paper that sits in a music stand in front of him. He says, in the book, that he’s getting a little forgetful of words now, hence the stand. Hey, he’ll be 83 on February 25, so he can do whatever he likes! Of course, I can’t remember what he sang, since I was busy critiquing how he looked!
I did listen to plenty of other music on my Amazing iPod on the way down and back. (It finally ran out of juice. I need to get one of those car charger things.) What was I loving this time around? [This list is mostly for Marty’s benefit...] Everything by the Beach Boys, “Painted Lady” and “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John, everything (2 songs) by Conway Twitty, “Great Speckled Bird” by Roy Acuff, a bunch of Eric Clapton stuff, “25 or 6 Till 4” by Chicago (I could finally understand the words!), the Randy Travis songs, “Reno Ride” and “Limehouse Blues” are amazing (Don Reno, of course!), and oh so many others that I can’t think of now because I haven’t had my supper yet! [Marty: next time, “Islands in the Stream” fer sure! And can I get “Hello Darling” back? And “Mockingbird”? Thanks!]
It was good to be in Georgia and see the folks, but, like Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home!”