Originally created 08/27/99

Rambiln' Rhodes: Bluegrass legends come together for TNN special



Bluegrass legends will make music and talk about life on the road in a TNN special airing this weekend.

Mac Wiseman is the host of Grass Roots to Bluegrass, which airs at 9 p.m. Saturday. The special was taped Jan. 25-26 in Nashville, Tenn.

Mr. Wiseman, whose three duet albums with the late Lester Flatt are regarded as classics, was the headliner at The Lewis Family's bluegrass festival in May at Elijah Clark State Park, east of Lincolnton, Ga.

Four members of The Lewis Family, along with 27 other bluegrass stars, will be seen during the hour-long special.

Group patriarch Roy "Pop" Lewis, who turns 94 on Sept. 22, appears with his son, Little Roy Lewis, and daughters Polly Lewis Copsey and Janis Lewis Phillips.

Other participants include John Hartford, Bashful Brother Oswald, Patsy Stoneman, Melvin Goins, Jim and Jesse McReynolds, Ronnie Reno, Sonny and Bobby Osborne, Charlie Louvin, Walter Bailes, Del McCoury, Ramona Jones (Grandpa Jones' widow), Kenny Baker, James Monroe (Bill's son), J.D. Crowe and Doyle Lawson.

One "youngster" allowed in the session was Eddie Stubbs, former fiddler with the Johnson Mountain Boys, now an announcer on the Grand Ole Opry.

Little Roy is quoted in publicity for the special as saying, "We all know stories, and they know stories, and, if I mention something, somebody else knows something that'll go with that part. So it's like putting a big puzzle together, and I have never seen anything like it in my life."

Sonny Osborne of the Osborne Brothers also is quoted in the publicity: "This is a great concept. Somebody should have done this a long, long time ago before some of the real important guys (like) Bill Monroe and Lester Flatt and Don Reno left."

One of my favorite recordings is a live version of I'd Rather Live by the Side of the Road, by Mrs. Copsey and Mr. Wiseman. I've also enjoyed hearing them sing it at bluegrass festivals.

This project of producer Larry Black is a spinoff of the well-received Country's Family Reunion special filmed in 1997, which aired on TNN with video sales offers.

Nine cameras and 15 microphones were used to capture the two days of bluegrass music, which was edited into the TNN special and eight volumes of tapes.

The tapes are being sold by mail order ($19.95, plus $4.95 shipping individually; $79.80 plus $6.95 for one four-tape set; or $149.60 plus $10.95 shipping for both four-tape sets). Dedicated bluegrass fans who've just got to have these tapes can write: Grass Roots to Bluegrass, P.O. Box 210709, Nasvhille, TN 37221.

CALENDAR AVAILABLE:

You can tell the year is rolling down when calendar offers start appearing. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum calendar for 2000, featuring color photos of 12 major stars, is on sale ($10.95 plus $2.50 shipping) by writing: Country Music Hall of Fame, 4 Music Square East, Nashville, TN 37203. Or call (615) 256-1639.

The calendar also features historic black-and-white photos from the Hall of Fame's archives and contains country history notes about each day of the year relating to stars' birthdays, deaths and recording achievements.

Don Rhodes has written about country music for 28 years. He can be reached at (706) 823-3214 or at ramblin@groupz.net.