Miss Tresninos | 05/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"High Lonesome is a video that should be on the shelf of every dedicated, loyal fan of Bluegrass Music and those that are becoming loyal, dedicated fans. For those who grew up with the music, even back to the days when it was still called country, this is a great film to kick in the nostalgia, and rev up the memories. For those who are becoming fans of this great American music, this video is BLUEGRASS 101. Here is the introduction to the basic roots of bluegrass as we know it. A fantastic look and rare clips fo those who made the music what is is and comments, explanations and perhaps some advice from the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. Here is the how, where, who and very importantly the why of the beginings of bluegrass music. This is all here in the words and music from the legends, both active and passed on. Legends like Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Reno & Smiley, Flatt & Scruggs, Mac Wiseman, Osborne Bros.and any others. Wonderful clips such as an all too brief clip of Don Reno when he worked with Bill Monroe. I remember many of these artist. I am fortunate to have met many of these great artist, to have been acquainted with some and priviledged to call some friend. There is a difference. You will come to understand the dedication and determination that made the legends and their refusal to compromise in very difficult times. It is a revealing film to those who have many misconceptions of bluegrass music, the musicians and the fans. It is revealing of the honesty, integrity and sincerety of every thing connected to it. I play many of these artists, songs and traditions on my Sunday night show, WFPK, Louisville, KY."
A must if you love traditional bluegrass
Carol C. | Kansas City, MO USA | 04/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This superb documentary explores the origins and developments of traditional bluegrass, from the the early years of the 20th century through the 1970's. It features a heavy dose of Bill Monroe, with a lot of Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman & Ralph Stanley rolled in. A number of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys alumni are also featured -- String Bean, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs. I found myself fascinated by the commentary and singing along to most of the performances. There are a number of clips that standing alone would make this DVD worth the money -- Bill Monroe clogging while picking his mandolin at what looks like a county fair, Ralph Stanley singing "Man of Constant Sorrow" (Ralph Stanley singing a capella gospel never fails to give me goosebumps), and hippie "flower children" in San Francisco grooving to bluegrass in the early 1970's. There are also some great clips of other wonderful performers -- A young, unpolished Alison Krauss, a young overly-polished George Jones in his crewcut days, singing "White Lightning", a young Porter Waggoner. In addition, there is commentary by two rail-thin farmers, wearing overalls & fedoras & leaning on hoes in a field, talking about the backdrop against which bluegrass music gained and lost popularity, discussing the struggles of the depression and that crazy hip-swinging Elvis who had people "throwing their babies at him" and everything. This is such a great DVD -- I know that I'll watch this again and again, and share it with several of my friends and family (and I'm half tempted to run out & buy myself a banjo and spend the next few years trying to learn to play like Earl Scruggs.)"
Jason R Blalack | Brick, NJ USA | 06/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Chock full of great bluegrass music and old footage from the early days of the many artists, I found this disc to be very enjoyable. If you like bluegrass or are interested in learning more about it this disc is for you - It has the feel of a Ken Burns documentary (He was a consultant) and goes into great detail of the life and times of the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe. The First third focuses in on the early days of bluegrass and Bill Monroe's youth. The middle shows alot of the various lineups of Bill Monroe and his bluegrass boys - and footage of the various "boys" when they went solo. The final third has some real magic in it when the crew visits the many bluegrass festivals. Here the real magical performances are one of the Osborne Bros. from the late 60's doing Ruby (Incredible - unfortunatly this is not the whole performance) and the amazing group The Seldom Scene doing one of the best renditions of Know You Rider that I have ever heard - these two are worth the price of admission alone.Being a guitarist/banjo picker I was finding myself playing along and even picking up some new licks and rolls - especially when Flatt & Scruggs are highlighted - whew! - Scruggs was a banjo god. Very entertaining - a little slow in some parts and a few musicians that should have been mentioned were missing (namely David Grisman, Vassar Clements (he can be seen in one segment w/ Bill Monroe but that's it), Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, and maybe a little more on some of the novelty acts like Bluegrass 45 - this is the only reason I give it 4 and not 5 stars - but don't let that stop you - this DVD is GREAT ! This is a barebones DVD and could really have benefitted from a better sound, but I guess since many of the early recording were in mono - it was not an option - but it could have still used and benefitted from a dolby digital track, another track of the complete recordings would have made this pure gold - but I'm not complaining."