Monday, March 3, 2008

Who Dares Wins

It's amazing what you can find just by typing download into Google. I will not announce that, after over 22 years of searching, I am now able to listen to Allan Holdsworth's Metal Fatigue whenever I want, because someone put up a ZIP file. Because downloading music is wrong, people.

Right now, I am listening to Clarence White rehearsing his repertoire in preparation for a 1967 Kentucky Colonels tour of Sweden. When I think of the words "high" and "lonesome", Sweden is, of course, the first thing that comes to mind. It wasn't too long after this that Clarence became a Byrd and Roland, his brother, became a Bluegrass Boy.

Specifically, I'm listening Clarence White try one of his signature tunes, "Beaumont Rag".

And failing.

"I just can't get a handle on this thing", he says between attempts.

I can't describe how heartining that is to me. Because I'm used to other versions, like the one where he duets with Doc Watson at Newport Folk in 1963, where he just tears it up. Here's another version, featuring a couple other monsters of bluegrass. It's a fun thing, but it's a whole mess of notes, and I've not started the learning process on it, simply because it's a whole mess of notes.

Most any song you know, you know the best possible version. It's the one culled from 17 different tracks with punch-ins for the solos. It's the one from the ninth show from the world tour where they had a Record Plant mobile truck parked outside the venue every night. The song is perfect and cool because they worked hard at it. They had to work hard to get it right, and sometimes they just don't. Which means, if you work hard, you might play something jaw-droppingly awesome, too.

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