Tag Archives: logan

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

Just got finished with Logan’s lesson. I’ve got him on a pretty strong diet of Earl Scruggs’ classics and for tonight he was supposed to learn “Groundspeed.” Of course he hates it. (He’s never heard Earl’s version so he hasn’t got the sound in his head and he can’t hear the melody. And I couldn’t find a CD with "Groundspeed" on it in my collection.)

Right before he started to play, I remembered that Red was going to glue Logan’s fifth string tuner in because it keeps falling out, and Logan has a gig coming up next week. (This is the village raising the child...) So I gave Logan’s banjo to Red, and let Logan play Dalton’s banjo. As I handed it to him I said, “Dalton never played ‘Groundspeed', so it’s not in this banjo.” Quick as a wink Logan replied, “So if I screw up, it’s not my fault. It’s the banjo’s fault.”

Bada bing! Good one, Logan!

If I’d been thinking as quick as Logan, I would have taken the banjo back, played “Groundspeed” on it, and then handed it back to Logan and said, “It’s in there now. Get it out!”

Actually, he didn’t do too badly. His biggest problem was that syncopated D lick. I told him it was related to the D lick we use in “John Hardy,” and that they are interchangeable, so we spent some time interchanging them. And then we spent some time just playing the “Groundspeed” D lick over and over, together, while Bob Van played a D chord—with alternating bass strings—on the guitar. After two or three minutes of that, Logan was beginning to get the feel of it. It is truly an awesome lick and I’m sure that once Logan has command of it, he’ll just learn to love it. Which is what Lester Flatt said about “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.” The group didn’t like it too well to begin with, but after it sold a couple of million copies, they just learned to love it!

By the way, Happy Birthday to my cute little Mama. She turns 85 today!

Murphy HenrySo, I'm at my friend Robyn's house for supper. (She's cooking!) Robyn is one of my Fiddle Sisters, a group of five women who like to play fiddles together. We were hot on the nursing home circuit one Christmas! Anyhow, Robyn is the mother of my sixteen-year-old banjo student Logan, whom I wrote about a few days ago.

Supper is underway and Robyn is doing chef-like things at the counter while Logan is sitting across from her doing something with his laptop. We talk a little bit about the band Old Crowe Medicine Show, one of my new faves, and Logan pulls up one of their songs "Alabama High Test" on the computer and plays it for us.

Then Logan says, "Want to hear my favorite song right now?"

I say, "Sure," guessing that he will play something from one of the hot young bluegrass bands of maybe a jamgrass band.

Instead he clicks on a song title and the ancient tones of "In The Pines" come wafting through the kitchen. Sung by Bill Monroe himself! Complete with harmony "oohing" and the sound of wind moaning through the trees.

I am stunned. And delighted. For a teacher, it doesn't get much better than that. Thanks again, Logan, for "one brief shining moment." (And I hope you have that new break to "Faded Love" worked out by Thursday. If you don't, I'll be sure to post your excuses right here! <G>)