With the 34th annual Alaska Folk Festival fast approaching, I thought this would be a good time to review preparations for our homegrown week of music.
When this Hooligan hits the streets, there will be approximately 18 days, 14 hours and 63 minutes until the first act on Monday, April 7. For a guide that includes advice from seasoned professionals, survival pack contents and more, please refer to the Hooligan archives (Squaller Holler, April 5, 2007).
Now is also a good time to consider how to recover after folk fest. One way to fill those depressing post-big-event days is to make sure the home music library has fresh material. In addition to the copious amount of performer CDs that will be available at the festival, Squaller Holler wants to make sure your bluegrass library is complete.
To do so, my imaginary staff and I pondered the question, "If your skiff ran out of gas, and you were stuck on a rain forest island, what 10 bluegrass recordings would you want?" I called bluegrass aficionados everywhere and compiled the list below, which is in random order:
1. "King Years 1961-1965," Bear Family box set, The Stanley Brothers
2. "Bean Blossom," Bill Monroe, and/or Monroe's Bear Family box set, "Bluegrass 1950-1958"
3. "Flatt and Scruggs 1948-1959," Bear Family box set
4. "Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys," Bear Family box set
5. "First Time Together," Ralph Stanley and Jimmy Martin
6. "The Osborne Brothers 1968-1974" box set, The Osborne Brothers
7. "The Folkways Years 1964-1983," Red Allen and Frank Wakefield
8. "Black Jack," J.D. Crowe
9. "Skaggs and Rice," Tony Rice and Ricky Skaggs
10. "Blue Mountain Memories," Larry Sparks
Some names that were mentioned that didn't make the list include: The Seldom Scene, Del McCoury, Vern Williams, Ray Parks, the Carter Family, Doyle Lawson, Dave Grissman, Bela Fleck, Jody Stecher and Kate Brislin.
If you can't find these albums locally, the County Sales or the Bear Family Web sites are good places to start. In the meantime, Squaller Holler wishes you a safe and enjoyable folk festival. May your instrument be tuned, your jams be hot, your beer cold and your recovery week as painless as possible.
Scott Burton can be reached at email@example.com.
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