Famous Bluegrass Recordings Trivia- October 14, 2022

Rounder Record 0044

This Contest is Closed
The winner is Todd Evans


There are several truly famous bluegrass Lps/CDs. They’re so famous they are sometimes known just by their label and number!

King 615 The Stanley Brothers eponymous first LP
Columbia 1654 The yellow Flatt & Scruggs LP “Foggy Mountain Banjo”
Decca 4016 Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys “Good ‘n Country”
Decca 74780 Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys “The High Lonesome Sound”

There are many more: “Flatt & Scruggs at Carnegie Hall”, “Bill Monroe’s Uncle Pen”, Bill Monroe’s “Master of Bluegrass”, Joe Val and the New England Bluegrass Boys Rounder 003, Tony Rice “Manzanita”, John Hartford “Steam Powered Aereoplane”, Tony Trischka’s “Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular,” and Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder “Bluegrass Rules”, among others.

But the King of them all, the bluegrass record honestly known by just its label and number, is Rounder 0044.

Which of the following is true about Rounder 0044? Hint: it was an LP before the CD age dawned.

A. The original cover photo shows JD Crowe flipping the bird to the photographer!

B. JD Crowe and the New South, comprising JD, Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas and Bobby Slone, opening with “The Old Home Place”

C. Allison Krauss’ first LP

D. Joe Val’s final LP

E. Rounder’s first bluegrass recording

F. “The Bluegrass Album” Band featuring Tony Rice, Doyle Lawson, JD Crowe, Bobby Hicks and Todd Philips, which came out on BOTH LP and CD

G. The initial recording of “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” by Richard Thompson

H. A&B

I. C&E

J. A&F


Additional Bowden Comments

Good job Todd. Every bluegrass fan should recognize “Rounder 0044” in an instant. The ONLY commercial recording (barring one LP from their Japanese tour, issued only in Japan for years) by this landmark band. They were together only for a year, before Ricky and Jerry split off for Nashville sidemen jobs, and Tony headed west into the David Grisman “Dawg music” world.

The song selection on this LP would nowadays be linked to “newgrass”, coming from rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm & blues, Lightfoot, a little Flatt & Scruggs etc. It is HOT, hard-charging bluegrass all the way however. Absolutely GREAT pickin’ and singin’. This LP made “The Old Home Place” a bluegrass standard.

And yes, for God knows what reason Crowe chose to show the photographer the bird, because of his demands for different poses in those trees. After the fowl deed was noticed and commented on in the bluegrass world, even in a letter to Bluegrass Unlimited, Rounder used a completely different band photo for the next printing. The original covers became “coveted” items.

Allison Krauss records for Rounder, but not 0044..

Joe Val recorded for Rounder, but not 0044.

Rounder’s very first bluegrass record was 003, Joe Val and the New England Bluegrass Boys, a few years earlier.

“The Bluegrass Album” band included Crowe and Tony Rice (along with Doyle Lawson, Bobby Hicks and Todd Phillips, Rounder 0140. Rounder originally intended it as a Tony Rice album of some sort of bluegrass or Spacegrass (Tony’s name for his music), but Tony on a whim called Crowe and said we need to make a record of the historical foundations of bluegrass for the kids to get a listen to the stuff we grew up on. Doyle Lawson had worked in Crowe’s band in the 1960s so he got the call for mandolin. Bobby Hicks had just returned to Nashville from the Las Vegas lounge music world, so he got the call for fiddle. Todd Phillips had played on Tony’s records for 5 years, so got the call for bass.

The Bluegrass Album was a HIT!! On their first tour supporting the LP they played Boston in the dead of winter, I guess around 1981 or 82. My sister and I got a carload of friends together and traveled down from Maine to see the concert, and out tickets included meeting the band at a “champagne reception”!! I remember we drove home that night, way after midnight, in a driving snowstorm.

Notice the presence of Rounder in all the potential answers? Rounder has been very important to bluegrass!

And I forgot to explain, NO WAY Rounder 0044 was Richard Thompson’s record “1952 Vincent Black Lightning”, which came out on CD in 1991 on the Capitol label. The bluegrass version of which came out by Del McCoury in 2001 on Ceili Music.

Dick Bowden

Dick Bowden recently retired after a 45 year career in the paper industry, and moved from Connecticut to Big Indian NY (Ulster County) where he ekes out a precarious existence as a groundskeeper. Dick has been performing bluegrass music on banjo and guitar since 1966 in his home state of Maine, throughout New England, and internationally with The Case Brothers - Martin & Gibson. He has performed for HVBA with the Old Time Bluegrass Singers, and also sent in a squadron of Dick Bowden's Flying Circus. Most recently Dick has played Dobro (tm) with the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Dick has written many articles for Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Today, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass magazine) and HVBA.

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