Author: Poling, Chuck

Pencils Down!

We’re still months away from sunny weather and outdoor festivals, jamming under the pines and cooking up grub on the camp stove. It’s tough to keep in bluegrass shape during the cold, dreary winter months. Sure, you can woodshed with your instrument to keep you fingers limber, but you’ve also got to keep your mind sharp. To assist you, I’ve composed a California bluegrass trivia quiz, designed to exercise the specific part of the human brain that controls the bluegrass function.

Following are an even dozen questions that are the equivalent of mental push-ups. The answers are at the bottom, but, of course, you are all much too ethical to sneak a peek.
Sharpen your #2 pencils and have at it!

1. When High Country founder and mandolin player Butch Waller was a teenager in Berkeley, he began singing with this notable musician:

a) Country Joe McDonald
b) Herb Pedersen
c) Jody Stecher
d) Billie Joe Armstrong

2. Gold Rush pioneers were exhorted to come from Alabama with the following on their knee

a) a banjo
b) a shovel
c) a canoe paddle
d) a frying pan
e) all of the above, in one tidy package

3. Considered by many to be the Godfather of California Bluegrass, this Arkansas native teamed with Ray Park to inspire generations of West Coast pickers and singers

a) Vern Gosdin
b) Jimmie Driftwater
c) Vern Williams
d) Arkie the Arkansas Woodchopper

4. This California native began his bluegrass career playing with Vern and Ray and went on to perform with the Country Gentlemen, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Lonesome Standard Time, and to record with Dolly Parton:

a) Herb Pedersen
b) Chris Hillman
c) Vince Guaraldi
d) Keith Little

5. Name the eccentric San Francisco financier who founded (and funded) the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival:

a) Adolph Sutro
b) Emperor Norton
c) Walter Shorenstein
d) Warren Hellman

6. This predominately female South Bay bluegrass band has been delighting audiences for three decades:

a) Sidesaddle
b) Sidewinders
c) Side Project
d) Chicks with Picks

7. How many bands include Larry Cohea on banjo?

a) 6
b) 10
c) 15
d) you mean today?

8. Where can you find the longest-running bluegrass jam in San Francisco?

a) The Plough and the Stars
b) The Atlas Café
c) Amnesia
d) Mabuhay Gardens

9. Fiddler Paul Shelasky developed his offbeat sense of humor

a) in prison
b) as a reaction to being picked on as a child because he played violin
c) because of a chemical imbalance in his brain
d) just to annoy the rest of us

10. Which 1970s bluegrass album featured a member of the Grateful Dead on banjo?

a) Will the Circle Be Unbroken
b) Dark Side of the Blue Moon of Kentucky
c) Old and In the Way
d) Bluegrass for Allah

11. Which of the following quotes by J.D. Rhynes best describes his attitude toward “newgrass?”

a) “What is that #@^#?”
b) “I hate that #@^#!”
c) “Get that #@^# out of here!”
d) “That ain’t no part of nothing!”
e) All of the above #@^#!

12. The Central Valley Boys are noted for their great traditional bluegrass chops and their bright polyester suits. Which of the following state and federal laws do their outfits violate?

a) The Polyester Abatement Act of 1987
b) Hazardous Color Code - Sec. 5, Paragraph 7
c) CEQA – the California Entertainment Quality Act
d) No Fabric Left Behind
e) all of the above

ANSWERS: 1) b, 2) e - just sayin’, 3) c, 4) d, 5) d, 6) a, 7) still counting, will get back to you later, 8) b, 9) d, 10) c, 11) e, #@^#! 12) e

Posted:  1/28/2013

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