Over the years I have been privy to many a gathering of Bluegrass luminaries backstage, at several different festivals, and I only wish that I could’ve been able to video tape a lot of those times. I’m not here to tell stories “out of school” so to speak, I’m just reminiscing about times that are past and gone forever. Times that belong to the ages now, but are still fun to recall. I guess that the one particular instance that I wish I could’ve taped, was the year that we had Rose Maddox, Jim Eanes, and Chubby Wise at our Fathers Day festival.
It just happened that the three of them ended up in the warm up trailer at the same time. What a grand reunion that was! They were so happy to see each other, and you could just feel the frienship and love that absolutely filled the trailer! Jim Eanes asked Rose if she remembered the last time that they had seen each other? Rose thought about it for a minute or so, and admitted that she couldn’t remember, and could Jim? Yes he said, it’s been close to 30 years, we played the Louisiana Hayride back in 1950 something! MY lands, Rose said, has it really been that long? It seems like yesterday! Jim agreed, and asked her if she could still remember the song? (I cant rremember the one he asked her for.)
Rose said , of course I do, my brothers and I used to do that one all of the time! Jim said, then why dont we just do it right now, because that’s my very favorite one that you sing. Rose told him, put it in “C” boys, and off they went, her a’singing, Jim playing rythm, and Chubby playing fiddle. I can still hear her and Jim harmonizing on the chorus, and Chubby laying those “Bluesy licks” in there on his magic fiddle! I still get chills running up and down my spine when I think of that ‘Magic Moment”, that just sorta “happened”!
Carl Pagter was a witness to that magic moment too, and over the years we have lamented the fact that some of the greatest music ever played and sang has been lost to the ages, due to the fact that these are private moments that are not meant to be seen or heard by the public. These are the times that an entertainer looks forward to, when they can just relax, and enjoy the company of their peers, maybe sing a song or two, have a cup of coffee, and recall some of the times gone by. To tape and try to exploit private moments like these would be a breach of trust. However, I don’t think that Rose, Jim, and Chubby would mind me telling you this story. There are hundreds of times and stories that come to my mind all of the time, some I can tell, some I cant tell, and some I WONT tell! Magic moments include times like this; I was Emceeing the evening show at one of the mid summer festivals in the late 1980’s, and Jerry Douglas was playing with Tony Rice that evening. My good friend LeRoy McNeese came back stage, and asked if Jerry was there, and if so, would I introduce the two of them? You BET, I said, and I did! I’ll never forget that Jerry said: I’ve ALWAYS wanted to meet you LeRoy! You are one of my hero’s! That was a real privilege for me to be able to do that!
I could go on and on for hours about the “back stage” experience’s over the years, and maybe some day I might set down and write a book about it all, but fer now, I think that I’ll just let my memories be just that . Memories; Best shared from time to time with you, my Bluegrass Family. Most of ’em good, some not so good, some heart breaking, and all of them a precious reminder of how lucky I’ve been to share private moments with some of the greatest entertainers ever