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Tut's Story Pages
Stories of Tut and his friends.
Tut will be adding more here so check back regularly ...

Bill Monroe's Mandolin Case

       "I first became acquainted with Bill Monroe in the late 40's. He and Roy Acuff became my musical heros. I listened to them many times on the Grand Old Opry over Radio Station WSM from Nashville. This was a 50,000 watt clear channel which allowed the Opry to come in loud and clear down in Milledgeville, Ga.

       "Bill came to Georgia many times and I always tried to catch his shows. He was always gracious in allowing me to play his mandolin. Little did either of us know what the future held for that famous instrument. During that time he had five.

       "In the early sixties, for some reason or other, I noticed what a crummy case he was carrying his mandolin in. So, being a sign artist (painter) I thought a new case for Bill and the mandolin would be something I would like to do for him. The case he had was one of the contour models, just like the F4 cases, only this one was a larger model. It was held together with layers and layers of black electricians tape.

       "I ordered an oblong case from Chicago Musical Instrument Co. who had Gibson's sales at this time. The case was shipped on Nov. 14, 1963. I still have the original invoice. When it arrived it was a thing of beauty so I made preparations and designed the layout. I removed the little rectangular Gibson label also. I had asked Bill earlier when he began to play and he told me 1927. However...... he did not say he was playing bluegrass at that time. So I went and put on the case the "Original Bluegrass since 1927." That was solely my quotation and no one else's. Maybe this will ease a few minds. I wish that I had not done this.... but I did...... That's how it came about...

       "When I went out to LA to do my first album in 1964 I carried the case with me to present to Bill, who at that time was appearing at The Ash Grove. On one of his sets he thanked me for the case. He almost didn't remember my name. I taped this show on a reel to reel and still have it in my "stuff".

       "I was told by James that this case is in the museum. I wanted it back but he said no..... as a last note.... I painted the design upside down......."


Good Ol' Pit-Cooked Barbecue

       "Since I am a devotee of and consumer of various "cookings" of the pig, I will offer my views on the subject. You probably won't have an opportunity to enjoy this particular delicacy in this way. I am talking "pit-cooked" barbecue, not the smoked, not the charcoal, not the oven nor many other ways it turns up. Just in case you happen to see a sign advertising it this way, you may be disappointed. You may be disappointed anyway. Here is real pit-cooked barbecue. Dig a hole about a foot or little more deep and about 3 x 6 ft square. Lay some pipe on it and then lay part of an old fence or chicken wire on it. It is ready for the dressed-out hog to be laid down on it. Flat and spread eagle. A couple of hours before, you build a roaring fire out of Hickory wood.... keep adding wood until you have a nice pile of coals. These are shoveled a few at a time and spread out all over the ground underneath the hog. There are never any flames. Just keep adding the coals and in about 24 hours it is ready. It must be kept basted at all times with a sauce made from hot pepper sauce, vinegar and lots of black pepper. Some folks use all kinds of sauces made with a lot of catsup ..... ughhhhhhhhh. It turns black when it burns. The joy of this is to be there when the hog is done. You gently reach over and pull off the meat that you want to eat. This is absolutely heaven. The meat is served later with another sauce if wanted. Then, again, the meat is pulled off or sliced. Never chopped. This is real pit-cooked barbecue. If you don't want to dig a pit just stack up a few cement blocks and have at it. The secret of this sauce is that it permeates the meat all the way thru and brings out the hickory flavor........ I hope you are hungry by now.......... I am.

       P.S.   It is downright rude and shows very bad manners to eat cornbread with barbecue like they do here in East Tennessee. However, whatever makes you pick better..... go for it

Tut Taylor
"The Pit Cooked Barbecue King"
My Motto.......I will eat barbecue at the drop of a pick....."


       "When I was in the sixth grade we had a contest in art. It was a few months after the Dion Quintuplets were born in Canada. This was the first time (I reckon) that five babies were born and the whole world went crazy. So my teacher decided to have a coloring contest and the winner would get a free ticket to the picture show to see the new babies in the newsreel. Anyway I chose a fully dressed knight on a white charger all spangled and everything. Back then Crayola colors only came 8 to a box. I had to do some doing but I won the contest and got to see the quintuplets....... and you know, they looked like any other babies. I'm glad they had the contest because it lead me on to other things in the art and graphics field. Have you ever noticed that musicians are sometimes artists also? You know, life is a contest, some win .... some lose .... but just keep on pickin' and you'll be a winner"

To Pick or Not to Pick

(Tut throws water on an online fire)

       "Food for thought......If you are busy picking you don't have time to say 'who's best' .... If you are busy picking you don't have time to analyze everything .... If you are busy picking you don't have time to bash folks .... If you are busy picking you don't have time to wonder if it's bluegrass or not.... You can take time to be very thankful that they kept on picking so we could have a lot to listen to. Just think where the music would be If Bill had kept Sally Forrester on the accordion and Stringbean on the banjo and if The Solemn Ole Judge, Geo. D. Hay had not called them "Those Bluegrass Boys from Kentucky" and what if Bill played a Kay mandolin and lived in Ga. Oh for a bumper sticker that says... "Let's put the accordian back in Bluegrass where it belongs" I was going to make this sticker many years ago but the uninitiated would have banished me to the Isle of Patmos......Moral....just pick and pick instruments and not the folks."

You Can Lead a Mule to a Bucket of Water ...

       "One time my brother went to spend a summer with our Uncle Fred. In those days everyone was expected to do their share of the chores. It was my brothers job to water the mule each day at noon when Uncle Fred came in from the field to have his lunch. The very first day when it came time to water the mule my brother offered him a drink from the bucket and he wouldn't drink it. Uncle Fred then said that the mule wouldn't drink the water, he had to be taken down to the creek. Well, one day Uncle Fred went away for a few days.The first day my brother offered the mule a drink and he wouldn't have it. My brother didn't take him to the creek. The mule didn't get a drink. The next day, the same thing happened. But the next day the mule could hardly wait to drink his fill from the bucket. My brother was happy because the mule was happy that he had someone to give him a cool drink and he didn't have to make the long trip to the creek. Sometimes you can lead a mule to a bucket of water and he will drink.... On the other hand I don't know about horses......"

Grandma's Soup

(Tut' response to the controversy of traditional vs. progressive Bluegrass)

       "A long time ago my grandma used to make a big pot of soup that was just delicious, with all the right ingredients and everyone loved it. Right now I would pay some big bucks for a pot of that soup..... Anyway one day grandpa decided the soup needed a little something different so he added a little bit of this and a little bit of that and kept tasting and thought it still needed something a little different. He kept adding stuff and the soup never did taste right so he gave up. Grandma continued making her soup the same way and it was always good. Well, times have changed .... Now, today there are many, many soups available, dehydrated, frozen, canned, powdered, etc. And there are many people who buy and use all these soups and they love them. Most of them never had the opportunity to taste grandma's soup....... Moral: you figure it out....."

Clear channel WSM radio

       "If had not been for WSM Radio with a clear channel station that reached across America we may not have known this music today. A fond memory .... up on the banks of the Oconee (muddy) river on Saturday nights listening to that clear channel (WSM) radio on a 6-volt battery operated radio, waiting to run a trot-line to get them big ole catfish so we could have that fish fry. On comes Bill Monroe with the Bluegrass Boys Quartet singing in the most beautiful harmony "Angels Rock Me To Sleep" ........ folks that is life ... Thank you WSM ............"

The "Reno Ride"

(See the photo to this story on Tut's Photo Page 2)

       "I grew up in Milledgeville, Ga, a little sleepy town with wide shady streets and lots of antebellum homes. It was also the home of the 2nd. largest mental institution in the world at that time. They built a large auditorium at the complex and it was available, sometimes, for shows, etc. Not too long after Don Reno came to pick with Bill Monroe they came to Milledegeville to do a show at the auditorium. In order to to use it they had to do an afternoon performance for the patients. This was a sight to behold. Bill and the band did about two or three numbers and left the stage. Here is the interesting part. Don had told me earlier to bring my steel guitar. As soon as Bill and the band left Don and I finished the dance, Don playing guitar and I the steel. It was a National made by National Dobro Co. with a matching tube amp. Needless to say this was quite an experience....getting to pick with one of my many heros back then. Bill and the boys came in two cars with Don driving an old green Dodge sedan. Bill was heavy into playing baseball at this time. He had booked a game with Sparta, GA so I rode in the car with Don to show him the way. Needless to say, after a hair-raising ride in that Dodge, when we got to Sparta no one showed up to play. I will never forget that ride with Reno...That was the fastest that I'd ever been in a car. Don had that piercing, straight-forward look in his eyes and a mighty hand on that steering wheel. Which later, and even then, was showing up in his banjo picking. He drove the way he picked. So....I will never forget my 'Reno Ride' "

Earl Scrugg's and "that fancy banjo"

       "Back in the early 1940's I acquired my very first Philco floor model radio and it contained, believe it or not, a disc recorder that would record from the radio or live. Needless to say I immediately ordered some blank recording discs that were aluminum covered with, I think, some kind of acetate material. You placed the disc on the turntable, lowered the arm with the little cutting needle and you began cutting a record. Saturday nights always found me listening to the Grand Ole Opry and needless to say Roy Acuff and Bill Monroe were my favorites. I kept these discs for years and later put a lot of it on reel to reel. I finally traded or gave away the discs to a friend of mine in Nashville back in the seventies.
       Anyway, on listening to Bill Monroe on Saturday night when he had Stringbean, Sally Forrester and others, you can imagine my surprise when one Saturday night the Solemn Ole Judge ( being the head announcer at the time) came on and after introducing Bill and those "bluegrass boys from the state of Kentucky" said, "Here is Earl Scruggs and that fancy banjo..." That's when the Ryman almost came apart. Folks had never heard anything like that before and it all came over Radio Station WSM, clear channel with 50,000 watts of clear uninterrupted power...Wish you could have been there and heard it with me....."




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