Author: Cornish, Rick


Hate the wind, but I’ve got a good reason for it. As a child I suffered from a learning disability…..spatial relations disorder…..which is a fancy way of saying that when I look at words on a printed page the letters seem more like ants scurrying about than they do letters from the alphabet. Hence, it was not till the third grade that I could read, and then, very poorly. What’s this got to do with the wind, you ask? Well, when you’re in the primary grades and you cannot read and it’s 1956, (before the concept of learning disabilities, much less spatial relations disorder, are widely accepted), an assumption is made that you’re ‘slow’. And, of course, slow students are put into slow classes with other slow students…doesn’t matter which area in which the slowness occurs. Slow is slow, and once a child is branded ‘slow’, well, that’s just pretty much how it is from then on. (Took me three years to convince my high school counselor that I was going to attend college, with or without his help.) My self-confidence, which had never been wanting until then, took a nosedive and all the self-doubt and self-loathing and fear of the future I felt was intrinsically tied to school. School equaled pain…summer equaled happiness and joy and renewed self-love. But then, without fail, summer would fade away, autumn would arrive, invariably with lots and lots of wind, and school with its attendant loss of self-respect would start back up. So then….wind=fall=school=I am a loser slug. And you know, friends, understanding all of this, being able to put the pieces together and appreciate the psycho-dynamics of the whole wind thing, doesn’t help at all. We’re in a major wind advisory up here at Whiskey Creek this morning and I’m doing everything in my power to fight back feelings of inadequacy.

The Scene
As you hopefully know, Early Bird Tickets have gone sale for the Thirty-Seventh Annual Fathers Day Festival. For the past few days it’d been my plan that this morning I’d write a Welcome column reviewing this year’s line-up, and, of course, I’d begin it by talking some about the headliner of our headliners, the Seldom Scene. Little did I know when I went to bed last night I’d awaken to a very special for the Scene. As always, before doing any update on the web site, I check my mail and, what do you know, today’s column has been written and posted on the Bluegrass L for me by Barry Lane, a regular on the L.

“FORTY YEARS AGO--It was the 1st of November 1971 that the Seldom Scene was formed. To me, it does not seem all that long ago..... but something like half a lifetime ago! Having been a fan of the Country Gentlemen since those Folkways LPs were issued around 1960, I followed that band and particularly John Duffey through many releases of great records until the disappointment at his leaving the 'Gents in the late 1960s. I followed the tiff with amusement that he had with another of my new aquaintances Tut Taylor, through the pages of the early Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a dobro player with a leaning towards F5 mandolins, both these gentlemen were top favorites of mine.

When John linked up with John Starling at a picking party in Washington in 1971 something magical happened. Mike Auldrige and Ben Eldridge of the Cliff Waldren band were there too and Tom Gray who had earlier been a Country Gent with John Duffey completed the formation. The Seldom Scene (once referred to in the pages of BU as "Duffey's new band") were to set a new high standard in bluegrass music that continues through to today, forty years later.

The band were quick to enter the recording studio and the quirky title for the band soon became a household name. The instumentation, the singing and the choice of material set a standard in our music that has not dated to this day.

There was little doubt that John Duffey was the leader. His dry humor on stage and his soaring harmony vocals were a hallmark of the band. I have most all of the recordings that the Seldom Scene ever made and they still form the core of my collection on the same level as the irreplacable recordings by the first generation of bluegrass. I can honestly say that I was playing 'Act One' just last week introducing a new convert to bluegrass to the band. I ordered my copy of that first LP as soon as I read that it had been recorded and must have had about the first copy to arrive in England. Those guys had a pedigree already and the new record was no disappointment. Very soon, I heard other bands doing songs off that first Seldom Scene LP.

My world and I would guess the same for many others has been enriched by the music of the Seldom Scene. It doesn't seem forty years ago.......

Barry C. Lane

On-Line Questionnaire
Many of you reading this morning’s Welcome have received an email from Larry and Sondra Baker inviting you to complete a questionnaire. Here’s the introductory narrative to the survey….

After a sub-par 2011 Plymouth festival, and as we attempt to proceed to next year, we need your help with this survey to help us determine whether or not to go forward with the festival in 2012. Yes the economy is a major factor but for the most part over a years time we all have to make choices on when and where to spend our entertainment dollars. We realize many of us can not attend all events as we have in the past. We have striven to make our festival one of those that you would want to make a "Don't Miss" event, therefore your feedback is important as we gather information for the future. For those who attended: we are hopeful you will return! And more importantly, those who did not attend: we could really use your feedback as to why you did not attend. Please tell us what would make you attend Plymouth so we can make changes as appropriate. Every person completing this survey will be entered into a drawing to win a pair of 3-day festival tickets with camping to either Plymouth (assuming we go forward) or our Lake Havasu Bluegrass on the Beach. If you choose to submit this anonymously, then of course you are not eligible to win. But we want to leave that as your option in the hopes of getting honest feedback. Your information is just that. Nothing will be published or passed on. It is for our information only and is confidential. We appreciate you taking the time to help and we hope to have a formal announcement by the end of the year.

I saw Larry and Sondra at a jam last weekend and he and I had a chance to discuss the results of the questionnaire. Our friend shared that he’s gotten some valuable feedback from respondents but that he’d like more…..hence, I promised him that we’d place a link to the online survey web site here at Click here to head over to the questionnaire page and do your duty.

If you’ve enjoyed the Plymouth Festival over the years, if you’d like to see it continued, you owe it to yourself and our bluegrass community to help our two friends out and speak your piece.

Pre-emptive book ad explanation
I think I’d better take a moment to get something out on the table. Some of you may have noticed that one of the sponsorship tiles in the Message Board header promotes a collection of short stories I’ve recently published. Since I’m the web master of the CBA’s web page and control all of its content, some might conclude that I’m abusing my position to get some free publicity for the book. Not the case. The little icon with the buffalo and the fish have actually taken the place, temporarily, of my wife Lynn’s watercolor sponsorship tile, for which she, along with all of our other sponsors, pays $200 per year. The tile money we collect each year goes to pay for the costs of maintain and improving the web site. Which is a perfect lead in for my last comment of the morning…..

We need help with the CBA web site. If you can create simple graphics using PhotoShop or any other graphics software, you have what it takes to help generate content for How big is the job? As big or as small as you’d like. What we’re doing now is just trying to create a team of content developers, in the same way that we have a team of Welcome column writers. Free content equals brisk web site traffic equals a strong, healthier CBA. Please consider helping. Drop me a note at

Have a good first day of December and remember, if you can make the drive up to the Mother Lode this Saturday…..Copperopolis to be exact… can watch two of the greatest musicians on earth perform together—Rob Ickes and Jim Hurst. Click here for details and check the online calendar for other appearances Rob and Jim will be making in Northern CA.

Posted:  12/1/2011

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