Author: Daniel, Bert

Got Bluegrass?

"Got Milk?" You all know the slogan by now. A number of years has passed since the launch of that classic advertising campaign. I vividly remember the very first spot I saw on TV for "Got Milk?". An obsessed and possibly deranged individual is sitting in a room filled with memorabilia about the former vice president, Aaron Burr. A voice on the radio offers a prize to the first caller who can answer an arcane history trivia question. The answer to the question happens to be none other than Aaron Burr, but this poor guy is helpless to take advantage of his only chance at fame because his milk carton is empty and he can't wash his chocolate chip cookies down fast enough to speak intelligibly.

Some of you may be familiar with our monthly CBA bluegrass trivia question. Mark Hogan posted it for a long time and I became interested in it because I really love trivia. For the life of me, I never could answer any of the questions that Mark offered even though I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable bluegrass fan Well, I started sending Mark some of my own favorite bluegrass trivia questions and he actually used some of them. So when he needed a replacement to take over the job of trivia master, I accepted.

I've been posting the trivia questions for several months now, and it has been a ton of fun. I am astonished by how many truly perspicacious bluegrass scholars we have out there in CBA land! When I post a question, I try to make it just as hard as I possibly can short of the impossible. And when I hit that send button, I think of the Aaron Burr aficionado on the Got Milk spot. I visualize my counterpart out there on the other end of the internet connection waiting eagerly for my puzzle. Perhaps this one obsessed individual will be the one person who will be able to solve the riddle I have just posted. What a sense of power! I am the conduit that allows the average bluegrass trivia nerd to have his or her fifteen seconds of fame.

There is power there, but I never actually get to flex my muscle. Like I say, we have some really knowledgeable bluegrass experts out there. If THEY tried to stump ME, I wouldn't stand a chance. Every month so far except one, I've had to draw names out of a hat for the tee shirt prize among multiple winners. The other month came down to a coin flip.

Last month I made careful plans to have some fun by toying with my poor victims out there. I composed an inscrutable poem in two stanzas. My plan was to offer the first impossible stanza as a teaser:

Howard and Herman are comics you knew.
Make use of their names to derive our first clue,
For what two bluegrass players went by the same name,
And upon the same instrument both had some fame.

Impossible of course. After a week or two of torture, I would throw my victims a bone:

Seckler's name and instrument are also clues.
So don't let this bluegrass riddle give you the blues.
And if you like baseball, a player named Reese,
Can furnish this puzzle another small piece.

I posted the first stanza and was working on the third when I started to get some pretty interesting guesses. To make a long story short, I never got to post even the second stanza. By that time, three folks (by the names of Fox, Lesovsky and Kling) had already solved it: Pee Wee and Curley Lambert. Well at least it wasn't as bad as November when Ed Alston sent me the answer in the first hour and complained it was too easy!

I have a few more puzzles up my sleeves, just waiting in the pipeline. One of these days, maybe I'll stump these geniuses. But I could sure use your help. If you have a favorite bluegrass trivia question I'd love to hear it, especially if you can assure me that you know of nobody who knows the answer besides yourself. Send a good question to me at You'll have to recuse yourself and anyone else who is privy to the answer, but I'll gladly acknowledge my debt to you for a good question and we can share in the fun of tantalizing some of these bluegrass Know-it-alls!

Happy New Year!

Posted:  1/8/2012

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