Customer Review

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A note from the writer/co-producer, March 27, 2003
This review is from: Bill Monroe - The Father of Bluegrass Music (DVD)
Hi, Larry Nager here. I wrote and co-produced Bill Monroe: The Father of Bluegrass Music and I would like to clear up a few things.
First, as to Ms. crmchs, yes, the documentary is NOT a concert film. It was never meant to be and it clearly says so on the box. Steve Gebhardt has been a film-maker since the '60s, working most notably with John Lennon and Yoko Ono as well as the Rolling Stones. My background includes more than 20 years as a music journalist (I am currently music critic for The Cincinnati Enquirer). I also wrote the Book Memphis Beat (1998 St. Martin's Press) and I have been a musician since I was 14, around 35 years ago. I played bass with Red Allen & the Kentuckians for several years and was a member of the Allen-Lilly Band. Some of those recordings can be heard on the Smithsonian-Folkways CD Classic Bluegrass and the label's Red Allen collection. I've also performed with such bluegrass and country greats as Curly Sechler, Johnny Gimble, Josh Graves, Frank Wakefield, Kenny Baker, Marty Stuart, Red Rector and currently perform with Tony Ellis and his son, William Lee Ellis.

In other words, we do know the difference between a concert film and a music documentary. And no, we didn't try to make a concert film and it somehow turned into a documentary. It was a documentary from the start, albeit one with a lot of music, including a rare reunion with Mr. Monroe, Del McCoury, Bill Keith and Chubby Wise. For any true bluegrass fan, that alone is worth the price of the DVD. Criticizing it for not being a concert film is a little bit like saying Hamlet was Shakespeare's least successful comedy.
Concerning the Eastern/Western Kentucky controversy cited in another critique, the misconception came from a typo on the cover notes, which was never corrected.
As to working on the film, it was a true labor of love for all involved and, for myself, getting to know Mr. Monroe on a one-to-one basis will always be one of the highlights of my life. Even in his 80s he was completely engaged, leading his band, writing new music every day, flirting with every pretty woman in the room. He knew the secret of life.
(and I apologize for the five stars, but they wouldn't run the text without it).
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