Earlier today (technically yesterday, but since I haven’t gone to bed yet, it’s not today tomorrow until daylight) I mentioned an upcoming “about media” post, even though, at the time, I couldn’t make up my mind about what to post about. Well, while sitting here in the late night special magic gloaming, I am browsing the tubes of you.
Not particularly looking for anything in particular, I decided to check out my “recommended” videos.
This is where I discovered that a new Grandpa Jones Live video had been posted.
Why would I care? Only because Grandpa Jones is one of the most badass mothertruckers to ever plonk the ol’ banjo.
I know most of you geeks out there reading this, who may have stumbled on this site because of some random Dragon*Con-related mess, are thinking, “Banjo? Grandpa Jones? What?”
Just because you love techno or Lady Doodoo or whatever it is the typical D*C attendee likes (I’m assuming some sort of industrial gothic whatsit is in there somewhere too), does not mean that you have terrible taste… but it doesn’t help.
Here is the new Grandpa Jones video I discovered yesterday, followed by some more Grandpa Jones madcap antics and jaunty tunes.
This first video features Grandpa before he was too terribly old. Early in Grandpa’s career, he was not an old man. He was on a radio show (this is pre-tv) every morning and since he had to be there very early for the show, he was a grumpy sumbitch. His fellow castmembers started calling him Grandpa because of this ornery demeanor. It stuck and Grandpa Jones was born, even if it meant wearing makeup and fake glasses to appear old. This clip features him and his wife doing a number together, entitled, “I Wonder Where My Darlin’ Is Tonight”. Creaky Willowtree Funk Monster, take note.
Wasn’t that wonderful, friend? Now, sit down with yer percolator and brew some coffee and watch Grandpa tear up the peapatch with this next tune, called “Are You from Dixie?” this tune will be recognizable to many of you as it has been used in a lot of movies and tv shows (different versions of course). This is from the tv show called Hee-Haw, which may be one of the greatest television programmes to ever exist, the likes of which will never be seen again.
Here’s another one from Hee-Haw. This time Grandpa flails out his undying love for his most favorite instrument in the world… the banjer. I recently performed this tune live in a pub in a tiny village in Ireland. Needless to say, I think the locals were a bit taken aback. Great tune and fun to play.
Grandpa and his wife Ramona performing “When It’s Time for the Whippoorwills to Sing”. Try not to cry. At this point in his life, Grandpa was clearly genuinely a Grandpa and genuinely old.
Apparently at some point, Grandpa hosted his own television show filled with live music (mostly performed by him) and his own brand of folksy wisdom. This is my favorite video from that show that I’ve found. He’s doing a yodel. The backing band consists of his sons, who played with him on this show and at various other times in his life. I would also highly recommend THIS VIDEO of him performing the standard “Falling Leaves” and playing guitar, instead of banjo. Also, THIS VIDEO of him and Ramona playing “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” on cowbells.
In this video, just look at that bastard. I mean, just LOOK. That is one man who truly loves what he is doing and is having the time of his life. A consummate performer.
(while reviewing this post, I realized that this video won’t play anywhere but on youtube because some mean-spirited rascal never learned to share. anyway, you can follow this link to it over there, it’s well worth it. Plus, as a bonus, you get to leave here!)
There are lots of other Grandpa Jones videos on youtube, but I’m sure if you look for them, they’re not hard to find. That said, I will leave you with this last one, which is my personal favorite. It’s a clip from Hee-Haw featuring (left to right): Stringbean, Grandpa Jones, Roni Stoneman, Roy Clark, and Bobby Thompson.
Stringbean and Grandpa were best friends, having both been proteges of the late Uncle Dave Macon. They lived next door to each other for many years and loved to play music together and go fishing. One night Grandpa came home and discovered a horrific scene of Stringbean and his wife having been murdered and their home ransacked. String was notorious for not trusting banks and, therefore, supposedly had a lot of cash hid in his home. Cheers to you, String and Grandpa Jones, hope yall are catching the big-uns up there in that big cripple creek in the sky.
Roni Stoneman was a member of the incredibly famous and influential Stoneman family, who were intricately involved in country music for many, many years. Get down with that women’s lib.
Stop That Ticklin’ Me.
I don’t know why I like Grandpa Jones so much. I think one reason is because he is just such a great performer. Being taught by Uncle Dave, he had the chops to be a one-man show, like many of the early vaudeville performers. He’s a throwback to a time when a fella like String or Uncle Dave would come out onto a tiny lamp-lit stage and have to carry the show for a few minutes by themselves. He also just seems so pure and good. There’s something to be said for that. I mean, I love dirty shit just as much as the next guy (90’s booty music? give it to me. Black metal from the depths of hell? sure. I love it.), but the opposite end of the spectrum is, many times, just as effective, if not moreso. Everybody these days wants to prove that they are the baddest mofo around, but it takes a great man like Grandpa to just come up and show that purity, goodness, and a simple philosophy on life can be just as moving, and just as much fun, as tearing down the past just to build yourself up and prove how much of a badass you are. But make no mistake, it was this that made Grandpa one of the baddest badasses to ever bad the bad.
I realize that most people who would be reading this blog have no interest in Grandpa Jones, but like I said in an earlier post, it’s our differences that make us kind of geeks in the first place. The fact that we “geek out!” over esoteric shit that no one seems to give a crap about… like random Grandpa Jones videos on youtube.
For the record also, I didn’t upload any of these vids. Thanks go out to whoever did.