The November 2007 Bluegrass Newsletter
with: Jesse McReynolds "Bluegrass in the 1960s" Part 4 & Neotek Pro Studio Consoles part 2,
BGNEWSLETTER: Being one of Bill Monroe's
Bluegrass Boys, by Wayne Lewis
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World Tour 2004
The Frank Wakefield Band in UK : PLYMOUTH, LIVINGSTON, BRISTOL
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Review of an inspirational bluegrass performance
Hootenannys, Inverness, Scotland, 2004.
Little did we know it but the unassuming guy standing next to us in the
crowd as the stage was getting set up was actually a bluegrass mandolin
legend whose band was about to blow our socks off with hugely entertaining
music, presented in a fun and unique style.
The first set was average while the band visibly struggled with a poor
micropohone on their star mandolin player. I was wondering what all the
buildup was about. Then everything changed for the second set, when Frank
(up to that point very much in the background) Wakefield stepped to the front
of the stage and took the reins with a 3 part harmony on his 1 part
mandolin. FW's stage presence lifted the whole band for the second set. As
well as FW's obvious skill and creativity on the mandolin I was also bowled
over by the energy of Jim Lewin's flat-picking guitar and sweetness of Jim
Moss's fiddle. FW's verbal delivery with his swapsy words was also
entertaining and a nice departure from the norm. The band clearly enjoyed
performing! I guess a lot of people like myself outside the usual circles
don't get to see much bluegrass and this special show will feature as an
influential point on our musical journey.
The Frank Wakefield Band at the Famous Bein Inn, Perth, Scotland
The UK tour by legendary Frank Wakefield was my opportunity to see the man himself
in person having only listening to him on tapes and more recently hearing him play and speak
the "Bluegrass Extravaganza" Mandolin CD.
He seemed to be an interesting character after listening to the No 2 CD, and hearing a
with David Grisman about the purchase of his Mandolin's
This conversation comes 3 minutes after the last track "Rawhide" and is very interesting!
Photos: WAKE & DAWG
The 250 mile journey to Perth was really worth the effort, an afternoon picking session
organized by the SBA gave me an opportunity to meet Frank, Fiddler Jim Moss and
A long conversation with Frank gave me an insight into the life, thoughts and philosophy
of this great character who has played for many years, written innumerable songs and
in many band line ups.
Frank in his latter years, 10 years older than me, by the way, was enjoying his first trip
to the UK but naturally a little tired from the exhausting tour schedule. A few cups
of coffee later and listening to the picking in the Inn proved to be a relaxing respite,
the Concert was to due begin at 8 pm.
A full house greeted Frank and the Band and the first half was under way and the numbers
were an excitement as we only get with visiting American pickers and players. Frank may be
advanced in years but he still plays in his own inimitable style and power that has been
trade mark in the Mandolin field.
The 1923 Lloyd Loar may have seen better days, but still rings like a bell despite the cracks
scuffs received over the years and was obviously still loved by Frank.
Jim Lewin a guitarist of real talent with a style that blended perfectly whatever number
was chosen, his rhythm style and lead breaks were really what Bluegrass guitar is all about.
Jim Moss is a Fiddle player of high quality and his fills and lead breaks were just what the
doctor ordered, right there to make you feel good. Frank Wakefield may not be the
singer but with the two Jim's the harmonies created were the making of the show.
To sum up The Frank Wakefield Band if you have a chance to catch their performance at
a venue near you, then take in the experience as Frank is a vintage performer and certainly
Arthur S Robinson
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