Trivia Question for November 5, 2021

This Contest is Closed
The winner is Steve Margulis


Bill Didn’t Say It

Bill Monroe is famous for his many “sayings” and often quoted, particularly amongst those who ever knew or met him. A few of his pithy observations have appeared in the Trivia Contests over the last year or so.

Which of the following is NOT an authentic Bill Monroe comment? Not all of these have been published, but use your “Monroe intuition” to pick out the false one.

A. That ain’t no part of nuthin’.
B. There ain’t no place for women in blue grass.
C. I eat fried taters every day of my life!
D. The biggest job in blue grass is keeping out what don’t belong in it.
E. Anything I do, it couldn’t be nuthin’ but blue grass.
F. I don’t hold the pick too tight, but sometimes I might mash down on it.
G. Now you come back, and we’ll talk about the old times, and that’s a contract!
H. Keep the pick goin’.


Additional Bowden Comments

Good job Steve. As I said, not all of the true comments have been published, so some intuitive guessing was in order.

A is probably Bill’s most famous saying. He applied it to anything he didn’t like.

B—he never said. At least 2 women were significant members of theBlue Grass Boys; Sally Ann Forrester during WWII, and Bessie Mauldin from WWII to the early 1960s. Plus, Bill REALLY liked women!

C was told direct to me by a Nashville area breakfast hostess. She and her husband used to host all night picking parties with a big outdoor breakfast in the morning. Monroe LOVED a good feed, especially breakfast and he would often attend. One morning he came to her complaining there weren’t any fried taters. She apologized saying “sorry Bill I didnt make any fried tater”. Bill wouldn’t let up. “I really like fried taters!” Again she apologized and was starting to get a bit peeved. Bill tried one more time, probably trying to get her to MAKE some for him. She spoke back rather sharply “Bill there ain’t any fried taters!” Bill made a puss face and said “But I eat fried taters every day of my life!” And then stomped away. That phrase is handed around a lot in the Nashville bluegrass community.

D was already in a Trivia Question months ago. Bill said it in a radio interview in Montreal in 1966.

E I heard Bill say in answer to a complex question about Bill’s music style. A music college type of question. This was a workshop at the old Peaceful Valley festival in Shinhopple NY. AFter the lady’s great long question about arpeggios and obscure scales, Bill took a long pause, and gave her this immortal statement. I almost busted a gut suppressing my laughter. Best answer ever!

F was at that same workshop. Some beginner asked him how he held his pick. Cryptic reply

G is what Bill said to me after a long afternoon visit at his home in Goodlettsivlle TN with a couple of local friends. I had mentioned to Bill how much I liked the Monroe Brothers. I never got to talk to him again. That was 1994.

H is another piece of advice from the Peaceful Valley about how to play mandolin. Bill played tremolo with his right hand most of the time, with single notes being the minority of his picking.

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.

3 Responses

  • Wow, that’s a poser and no mistake. They all sound like something Bill might have said. But one of them is not like the others, because it’s about food rather than music. So I am going with C, about fried taters. B is a possibility too; given that Bessie was his bass player on shows and records for years, and that Howdy Forrester’s wife played in the band too, it would be a little surprising if Bill said there was no place for women in bluegrass. But perhaps he wasn’t always consistent over his long career. And again, C is the only quote that doesn’t deal with the music. So C it is.

  • Come on folks, let’s get some more submissions before Thursday! Use your intuition, your imagination, half-truths, rumors, scuttlebutt or wishful thinking. Have some fun with this one. Get published! — if you want to add some explanatory text to your “guess”.

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