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I Ordered The Osborne Chief (Part 8)

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Jul 15, 2019 - 2:46:48 PM

25 posts since 5/19/2006

Thank you Chief for the explanation on the serial numbers. I assumed that was it but wanted to be sure. I couldn’t remember.
I got Maple #127 from Gruhn’s guitar shop several years ago and absolutely loved it! Micky Flatt introduced me to Chief banjos and always had great things to say about you. Anyway, I had to let it go a couple years back due to a family emergency. Robby Boone bought it from me and seemed glad to have a Chief in his possession.
Thankfully, I was recently able to acquire Maple Chief #115 and am very pleased to have a Chief banjo once again! I am 55 yrs old and consider myself to be a beginner level player. The Chief banjo is much more banjo than I am a player. But it sure makes for pleasurable practice times and it sounds great when playing with my dad and brother in church! Thanks again for the response and God bless you.
Dale

Jul 17, 2019 - 1:29:36 PM

WesB

USA

178 posts since 12/17/2014

Sonny, the name Kathy Fiscus really jumped off the page at me. I remember that I was nine or ten years old when she fell down an abandoned well. It happened about three or four miles from where I lived. They eventually retrieved her by driving a second shaft alongside the abandoned well. By the time they got to her she had passed. It was a heart-wrenching thing to have happen. I don't doubt that a ballad would have been written about it.

Hey, we octogenarians can use all the help (and time) we can get....... Don't know about you, but I'm sticking around to about 100 or so, just to irritate 'em.

Edited by - WesB on 07/17/2019 13:30:45

Jul 17, 2019 - 1:47:52 PM

46 posts since 9/1/2018

Where can you order a new Chief now. Sonny's website is not working I think.

Jul 17, 2019 - 2:10:06 PM

149 posts since 11/21/2015

Order thru this site as I did.... he will answer...

Gary

Jul 20, 2019 - 8:18:48 AM

2979 posts since 3/6/2005

Clifton,

My web site has been a complete headache since it was started.

You want a Chief, I have two of them right now. A maple and a Mahogany. Call me, at 615-824-0096, or text me at chiefbanjo@comcast.net.

Thanks for your interest.

s

Edited by - TheChief on 07/20/2019 08:20:49

Jul 20, 2019 - 8:32:04 AM
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2979 posts since 3/6/2005

Wes, Kathy was 3, and fell ino the well in April 1949. Happened in California I think. 

On her grave marker is supposedly written..." One little girl who brought the world together for a moment."

S

Jul 27, 2019 - 4:05:14 AM

2140 posts since 10/12/2004

I sm looking for an Osborne Chief banjo strap, does Sonny still sell them?

Jul 27, 2019 - 6:23:18 AM

2979 posts since 3/6/2005

Stevespicking,
I sent a private message to you explaining the process getting a strap.
I look forward to hearing from you.
s

Jul 28, 2019 - 8:26:46 AM
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2979 posts since 3/6/2005

The subject of the WHO IS JIMMY BROWN has surfaced and guess what...I know exactly the answer.

Jimmy Brown's name is JOHN SLAGLE JR. and he is from Newport TN. I can't truthfully say whether he is still among the living. I have not heard from him since 1961, or there about.

He and Benny Birchfield were working in Cleveland at an automobile factory.  They would drive down to Wheeling when we were on and we got acquainted in hat manner. When Red Allen left in 1958, Johnny Dacus sang with us for a short time and when he needed replaced, Mr. Slagle said he could do that part so we asked him to join us. He and Benny were doing a thing in Cleveland with some local guys. Benny played the banjo. When Slagle joined us Benny just kinda hung around too. Slagle recorded with us on MGM and sang on some important songs with us during that time. So, when he decided to leave Benny asked for the job and became arguably the best third vocal part of our trio. He was with us when we joined the Grand Ole Opry in July, 1964. He stayed until 1965. 

I hope this gets to the person who asked the question. It would be an interesting question for someone to submit to my article ASK SONNY ANYTHING at Bluegrass Today.

s

Jul 28, 2019 - 1:39 PM

871 posts since 11/17/2018

I posted a link to your answer in that thread...

banjohangout.org/topic/355773/#4503668

Jul 30, 2019 - 3:43:18 PM
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2221 posts since 1/16/2013

Saw this today... thought it timely...


 

Jul 31, 2019 - 4:31:45 AM
Players Union Member

rbfour5

USA

997 posts since 11/9/2010

@ Jim Britton- And just like the great banjo player you are, timing is everything...wink

Aug 4, 2019 - 11:50:38 AM

Tim13

USA

3107 posts since 4/1/2008

Located on "Rural Route 1." You don't often see the term rural route much anymore.

Aug 4, 2019 - 12:52:15 PM

5319 posts since 10/13/2007

Sonny,
On page 163 you answered a question for me. Man that was a lot said in a small space and I'm still chewing on it. But you said " I knew my weaknesses and struggled mightely to defeat them." I always thought of you as super gifted. Seems I read when you heard tones, you saw colors. Now I know that even someone as talented as Roger Federer has to work his tail off to play like he wants to and can, but I wondered what with your gift, you had to struggle mightely with? If you care to answer.
Thank you again,
ken

Aug 5, 2019 - 1:42:08 PM
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1397 posts since 3/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by TheChief

The subject of the WHO IS JIMMY BROWN has surfaced and guess what...I know exactly the answer.

Jimmy Brown's name is JOHN SLAGLE JR. and he is from Newport TN. I can't truthfully say whether he is still among the living. I have not heard from him since 1961, or there about.

He and Benny Birchfield were working in Cleveland at an automobile factory.  They would drive down to Wheeling when we were on and we got acquainted in hat manner. When Red Allen left in 1958, Johnny Dacus sang with us for a short time and when he needed replaced, Mr. Slagle said he could do that part so we asked him to join us. He and Benny were doing a thing in Cleveland with some local guys. Benny played the banjo. When Slagle joined us Benny just kinda hung around too. Slagle recorded with us on MGM and sang on some important songs with us during that time. So, when he decided to leave Benny asked for the job and became arguably the best third vocal part of our trio. He was with us when we joined the Grand Ole Opry in July, 1964. He stayed until 1965. 

I hope this gets to the person who asked the question. It would be an interesting question for someone to submit to my article ASK SONNY ANYTHING at Bluegrass Today.

s


Thank you very much, Sonny, for answering this question and for all of your wisdom, memories and history that you share.

Aug 11, 2019 - 8:59:59 AM
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2979 posts since 3/6/2005

Ken. We go back to 1970.

The six string banjo was my idea of getting around the need to play a lower note which was not possible unless I added another string. I fought with this problem for a couple years...I called Clairman E. Ward (good banjo player and great banjo repair/builder from Charlotte NC) and asked if he could build a six string neck for me that would look exactly like the neck, and inlay in my Sonny Osborne model Vega which I was committed to playing at that time. He said he could so I took the neck to him and he did it to perfection. My point was that if I couldn't learn to play it, no one would know if I went back to the 5 string neck...they looked exactly alike. I received the 6 string neck on a Sunday, Dale Sledd and I installed it on the banjo, I learned to play it and recorded "Listening To The Rain" with it on Wednesday.  Worked out  pretty good for me, for a few years. But, the 5 called and I just had to answer. Still there too...until 2003. Rotator called  and I couldn't pass it up.

s

Edited by - TheChief on 08/11/2019 09:04:03

Aug 11, 2019 - 2:16:15 PM
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77 posts since 3/6/2007

Sonny:
Weren't you playing the 6-string during the Osborne Brothers portion of the movie "Bluegrass Country Soul " - you all are doing "Ruby" While Bobby was holding out that long note and you were doing the John Henry walk-down snippet he gave you a look as of to say "let's pick it up a little bit brother, I'm holding this note and I'm not as young as I used to be!" That a was a great performance. It looked like you all were having a great time in the heat that day. I think I was in the audience for that filming. Good memories!

Aug 13, 2019 - 4:17:55 AM

2140 posts since 10/12/2004

My Chief serial number is 42003-0070. Is that number 70 for 2003, ot number 70 over all? Thanks, Steve.

Aug 13, 2019 - 5:26:14 AM

5319 posts since 10/13/2007

Sonny,
I have been listening to some old Flatt and Scruggs CDs taken from live shows: among them Martha White Biscuit Time 1953 Radio Gems and Flatt & Scruggs 1958-1959 197# Collectors Classics. It seems to me like there is something special in them. The band and Earl are a livelier than most of the Bear Family CD recording. It seems like Earl is more on fire and "jumps" on it a bit more. Is that my bad ear imagining this? Is it the hype? Or was there a difference in their live shows versus their studio play? If so, why? The energy, or so it seems to me, in their live stuff is a wow factor.
Thank you again for your time.
Ken

Aug 16, 2019 - 7:16:36 AM
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2979 posts since 3/6/2005

Ken....that's hard to answer because we are all wired differently. You are correct about Earl,  particularly the earlier days of Scruggs. He and Flatt were beginning to be a big success and they were not road weary in 1953. I think their recordings show this too. Earl really loved the banjo. It shows on Foggy Mtn. Breakdown, Flint Hill Special, Dear Old Dixie, all show a fire, hunger, pride, want to, different attitude than Randy Lynn Rag. True, his playing was different then. I first met Earl in 1952, and later when we moved to Nashville Earl and I became closer friends and I saw a different Earl. Secure, successful, road weary. He made a mental statement to me then that I didn't understand until 1978. He made a verbal statement directly to me (not hearsay) in about 1966; "I HAVEN'T BEEN INTERESTED IN THE BANJO IN 10 YEARS."  It broke my heart in 1966, but then I came to understand it in 1978. Ken, I realize this is way too much information than was necessary, but...I get carried away when I talk about a subject that I also loved that much. If it were somehow possible, when I leave this life I would come back as a 1934 Granada...9584-2 heartsmiley

I know I get carried away by the past...but all I tell you is true...AND,  you can always hit the delete button.

s

Aug 16, 2019 - 7:34:31 AM

5319 posts since 10/13/2007

Sonny,
That is great stuff and I/we greatly appreciate your sharing your insight into all things banjo. Fascinating stuff indeed. I might hit the print button.
Did Earl ever get over the effects of being road weary so that he enjoyed the banjo somewhat akin to the way he did? Sounds like it hit you also for a bit but you sure have recovered.
I know from tennis that some years after being on the road 26 weeks of the year and watching over 1,000 matches or parts of each year, it became a job. But with a break, the love came back sometimes with even more appreciation.
Thanks for your time Sonny.
ken

Aug 23, 2019 - 11:46:24 AM
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2979 posts since 3/6/2005

Ken, I don't know whether he actually got past that loss, but I do believe that after he and Lester split he really got into working with his boys. I know for a fact that he never recovered the urge to play the same as he had played in the 51-53 time period. In places where he would really work to find the right roll, or combination of roll and notes that fit...he would tend to take short cuts...realizing perhaps that few in the audience would understand it anyhow and the majority came to SEE the GREAT Earl Scruggs, not to be as critical as I, and a few more would be. He might have realized at about this time that HE had changed a form of music, WORLD WIDE! 

As far as I was concerned, by 1978 I had lost the urge to try as hard because of the Banjo I was playing. I got the Granada and it just wouldn't give up as others I played would. It produced everything I asked of it, and prolonged my career 25 years. Every day was a challenge.

s

Aug 24, 2019 - 1:04:20 AM
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5 posts since 3/22/2019

Keep in mind that I’m a hack banjo player with a full time day job, but even at my level, after about 20 years I got tired of the band thing and quit playing. I figured once I got that participant ribbon at the Galax Fiddlers Convention, I’d go out on top... ;-)

I have 3 kids and I never made them play music with me, but did insist they play formal violin for school. I saw some screwed-up kids whose parents braw beat them into playing bluegrass music, I guess, thinking that was their ticket to Nashville and $$$, and I wanted no part of that.

This is where I relate to Earl Scruggs...

My oldest boy, on his own, has grown to love bluegrass music, Flatt, Scruggs, Monroe, Reno, Smiley, etc and even some Hylo Brown stuff. Of course Osborne Brothers music too. He has picked up a guitar, learned to play it and sing. He especially likes dragging out old, obscure, but great tunes. He also likes old real country music and he wants to play.

This has me excited about playing again. For the first time in a number of years, I pulled my banjo out of the attic, changed oil in it and we are going to (and have) played out a bit.

It’s a great feeling to pick and be on stage with your kids - when they want to do it. In this I can relate to Earl and his boys. I have to believe the opportunity to play music with his boys breathed new life in enjoyment of the music for Earl. It has for me.

YMMV...

Aug 25, 2019 - 8:11:20 AM
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2979 posts since 3/6/2005

You know LEEEVE96,

That brought back a memory. We were filming a thing for CBS and Earl was there too.  Must have been somewhere around 1980...give or take...I just had bought the Granada from Tom McKinney, so make that 1979.  Earl and Louise came over and commented on the instrument, she went out to smoke, and Earl and I had a few minutes to talk. I asked him how he was doing and he said: "I'm really enjoying playing with my boys!"  He continued "You know, there was just so many ways you could play Cumberland Gap!" That told the whole story. He got so sick of it, that it really didn't matter any longer and his boys opened a new door for him. 

Going back to the comment about the banjo....Louise said; "So, is this the baby?" Earl plucked every string 1 through 5 and  said; "They've got a sound all their own, ain't they?"

Thank you for bringing back that memory. I had lost that one and in my opinion when Ear Scruggs says anything directly to you, it should be documented somewhere. He is that important to the music of the banjo. Because of him, millions of people are listening to and playing the banjo...trying to do tit like Earl. . And we were fortunate enough to be here when it happened.  UNREAL!

s

Sep 19, 2019 - 3:11:38 AM
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5823 posts since 7/12/2004

Sonny, I have been of the BHO for almost 4 years, My wife passed away and My computer blew up, I let it ride. BUT now I'm back, but way behind time. I was wondering if You ever got Your book published? If so I'd like to buy a copy.
And THANKS for the memories Son.

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