20 June 2016

Good wishes from Mac Wiseman

On 3 Dec. 2015 the BIB drew attention to books about members of the first generation of bluegrass musicians, including Mac Wiseman's All my memories fit for print, as told to Walt Trott, published last autumn, and reviewed by Dick Bowden on Bluegrass Today. Also on Bluegrass Today, a brief account by John Lawless of Mac's long, varied, and illustrious career appeared earlier this year, since when he has had his 91st birthday (23 May).

Roni Stoneman (due to make several appearances in Cork and Kerry in the coming week) visited Mac recently and mentioned that she would be coming to Ireland, whereupon he asked Roni to convey his good wishes to all his friends over here. The BIB is happy to pass Mac's greetings on. This video shows him singing 'I'd rather live by the side of the road' with Polly Lewis of the Lewis Family.
Another bluegrass pioneer, Bill Clifton, celebrated his 85th birthday on 5 April this year. An appreciation by Kevin Lynch appeared on the European Bluegrass Blog shortly beforehand. Bill's part in spreading bluegrass in Europe can hardly be overstated, and some enthusiasts over here may remember him performing with Ethan Signer of the Charles River Valley Boys in the Grafton Cinema, Dublin, in the early 1960s. This video shows him singing 'Give me the roses while I live'.
In December the BIB also mentioned Curly Seckler, who will be 97 on Christmas Day this year. Penny Parsons' biography, Foggy Mountain troubadour: the life and music of Curly Seckler, has now been published (272 pages, forty-nine monochrome photos) by the University of Illinois Press in their invaluable Music in American Life series. An article by Alice Gerrard about how the book was created appears in this month's Bluegrass Unlimited magazine.

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