BGCS Newsletter Vol. II #1, January 16, 2019
"All Things Bluegrass Country Soul: Past, Present & Future"

Welcome and Happy New Year to all of our steadily growing number of subscribers. We thank you for spreading the news about our website, and we are happy to announce that, next month, we will have some very exciting news. Our subscribers will be the first to receive this notice, so urge your friends and colleagues to sign up . I think you will all be as thrilled about it as we are.
Best Always,
Albert Ihde
Bluegrass Country Soul

The Bluegrass Festival Experience
in Surround Sound
In 1971, when we came to Camp Springs to film Carlton Haney’s Labor Day weekend event, our goal was to recreate, for a general movie audience, the experience of attending a bluegrass festival. At the time, the possibility of creating the sound of a live festival in surround sound was not even a dream, but our soundman, John Dildine, had his own idea. He knew that sound recordings in most festival films focus solely on the performance on stage. How often have you seen a film or TV show where the audience sounds as if they are in another state? John set up a separate microphone on the outside of his makeshift sound booth, whose sole purpose was to record the audience. 
A snapahot of John Dildine and Sallie Ann Haynes recording sound from the stage and audience
at Carlton Haney's 1971 Labor Day Festival in Camp Springs, NC.
The long, tan cylinder in the top left corner of this photo is a microphone that recorded audience sound on a separate tape deck.
Back in the early 1970s, there was no way for us to have these sounds played around the average, neighborhood movie theatre. But today, most theatres, as well as home theatres, have this capability.

Recently, my brother, Mike, sent me a digital file from one of the reel-to-reel tapes I had asked him to listen to. It was John’s recording of the audience response to the fiddle number. And what do we now have? We hear many members of the audience clapping in time to the music, and we can hear in very sharp detail the hoots and hollers of appreciation.

The roar of applause at the end is breathtaking. It sounds as if the audience is all around us. The only thing now missing is the heat and humidity of that Labor Day weekend.

We have a lot of tricky editing to do with this track. The total running time of “Sally Goodin” on stage back then was twice as long as the clip in the film, and now we have to synchronize this “wild track” with our film. Wait till you hear it when our Golden Anniversary, Legacy Edition comes out in September.
Curly Ray Cline on his fiddle, Mac Wiseman, right with guitar, during "Sally Goodin."
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When “New Grass” Was New
Meet Quail, otherwise known as Robert White - Part One
(A series of first-person accounts by bluegrass musicians
who were at Carlton Haney’s 1971 Labor Day festival.)
Bob "Quail" White at Camp Springs, NC in 1971.
Q: How did you first get involved in bluegrass music?
I grew up in the Shenandoah Valley, just outside of Staunton, VA. Home of the Statler Brothers.
As a high school clarinetist, I had the great good fortune to have a band director who had his walls lined with pictures of Dizzy Gillespie, Glen Gould, Stan Getz and Dave Brubeck, as well as Rubinstein, and the new phenom, Van Cliburn, all of whom he had us listen to for inspiration. At the same time, like many of my peers, I was caught up in the enthusiasm for Liverpool. Upon hearing Cousin Brucey on Boston’s WBZ play “PS, I Love You” in October of '63, I fell instantly in love with The Beatles. I listened to, sang along and danced to the rest of the Rock scene – Stones, Dead, Janice, Zappa, Who….
I also heard Reno & Smiley in the early sixties when I took my best gal roller skating at the Rollerland Skating Rink in Verona, Va. They worked out of Roanoke at the time and played once or twice a month in Verona. 
A high school pal, Randy, was Mac Wiseman’s son. I loved Mac’s music as well as many other Country stars of the time, particularly Cash, who picked up a local quartet, the Statler Brothers. Don Reid and I were in the high school band together. He was a great singer, and when he graduated in 1962, he and his gang went on the road with Cash.  And like many in the early sixties, I was caught up by Pete Seeger, the New Christy Minstrels, Peter Paul & Mary, and, I hate to admit, the Kingston Trio. Then came Dylan.
With that Dutchman’s mix of musical stuff swirling in my young head, I arrived at North Carolina State in the fall of 1964, determined to become an engineer and to somehow go to the moon. Well, that all changed that fall, when I ran into a jam session unlike anything in my experience. Several of the people I would spend much of the next decade with were in the basement of the dining hall during the first exam period, playing acoustic music like I had never heard first-hand: Buck Peacock, Durwood Edwards, Dale Lee, Vic Lowery, Rodney Hutchins, Snuffy Smith, and Ray Blackwell I was transfixed by the live picking session and went to a pawn shop the next day and bought a guitar. 
Bob White plays bass as Al McCanless and Kenny Kosek fiddle
during a sequence in the field from Bluegrass Country Soul .
While enthusiastic about my University studies, a new social life, and adjustments to finally being away from home, I found myself increasingly consumed with learning to play guitar. I pestered several folks on the hall who played, and established friendships with that group of pickers that had so surprised me. 
My new found focus and need to learn ever more chord changes and progressions annoyed some of my dorm mates. Someone suggested that I go to the newly opened “coffeehouse” to see one of the best guitar players, who would be performing there.
On a weekend night, I went to the Sidetrack Cafe, a small club with perhaps 40 seats and a decidedly hip decor of well used tables and chairs, chess boards on some tables, posters of the current early 60s folk heroes, and stage lighting with bulbs in coffee cans. I was enthralled, but had no idea what was in store. I was early and so took a table right in front of the stage. 

About an hour later, the owner, one John Peden, came onstage, arranged the coffee can lighting system and introduced the main act. From side stage a man guided a blind man holding on to his shoulder. The blind cat had an old Martin in hand and settled himself onto the lone chair on the stage, not three feet in front of my table. For the next three hours and three sets he played and sang. It was a young, fresh from being “discovered” at Newport Folk Festival, Doc Watson. I had never been exposed up front and in my face with a galactic talent like that. I was transfixed. 
I later learned that Doc had a long history with Raleigh, having attended the school for the blind as a teenager, to learn some employment skills. He came from his home in Deep Gap, with his cousin driving him, to accommodations at the local YMCA, to play a two-night gig for $75 per night. 
I went back downtown the next day and bought a better guitar, replacing the nylon stringed "stella" with a used $50 Gibson J-50!
My world changed as a result of these experiences. I attached myself to everyone and everything associated with bluegrass from that moment on. 

Coming Soon - Part II:
Quail talks about the New Deal String Band
and his college teaching career!
In Case You Missed It!
Google Doodle celebrates Earl Scruggs.
Last Friday, January 11, Google celebrated Earl Scruggs' birthday (a bit late; it's January 6) with a Google Doodle that leads to lots of wonderful articles about this most famous and beloved banjo picker. If you click on the Google Doodle above, it will take you to an article on that links to a YouTube clip of the banjo finale from Bluegrass Country Soul . This link has been viewed more than 6.5 million times!
Want More Carlton Haney in Your Life?
Looking for a place to reminisce about Carlton Haney and his bluegrass festivals? Connect with people who attended or post your information? If you're on Facebook, join the group, "Carlton Haney's Bluegrass Festivals" administered by Bobby Ricketts. See you there!
Please pass along our web address to everyone you know who loves bluegrass music:

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