Tut's Story Pages
of Tut and his friends.
Tut will be adding more here so check back regularly ...
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,
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.
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.
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...
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".
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......."
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.
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
"The Pit Cooked Barbecue King"
My Motto.......I will eat barbecue at the drop of
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"
or Not to Pick
throws water on an online fire)
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."
Lead a Mule to a Bucket of Water ...
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......"
response to the controversy of traditional vs.
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....."
channel WSM radio
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 ............"
photo to this story on Tut's Photo Page 2)
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
Scrugg's and "that fancy banjo"
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
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....."
© Copyright 2009 R. A. Taylor
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