Lay for the Day 16th
the birth of bluegrass. The first fully formed pieces of a fresh type
of country music were recorded on this day by Bill Monroe and the Blue
Grass Boys, with recent recruit Earl Scruggs on banjo, and guitarist and
songwriter Lester Flatt singing lead.
was to country somewhat as bebop was to jazz a startling new high-speed
breed with a stress on fleet improvising virtuosity and both genres
grew up pretty much simultaneously, developing through the early Forties
and bursting into flower immediately after the end of the Second World
War. For bebop the equivalent to this 1946 Monroe session was one on 26th
November 1945 at which the Charlie Parker Ree-Boppers recorded,
among other numbers, Now's the Time, Billies Bounce
Bebop was sitting with his
hook thrown in
to the River Mercurius,
fishing for his fathers gold ring.
Bluegrass came down to the
leading his horses to water.
Over the current his voice rang:
Hey bro, hows
fishing? From Bebop no word
of reply, so up with a stone
comes Bluegrass to make him attend.
Intent on the bob of his float,
took note of nothing, suddenly,
else in that silver-framed moment.
But under the stone that was
meant to toss
to splash in the brook, look, the ring
winking like the sun at daybreak.
Meanwhile Bebops float
had swerved and vanished
and the big back broke the water
of a birdfish long as your arm,
when gold in the fingers of
Bebop said Ho!, dropping his rod,
and the birdfish sped off upstream.
Bluegrass, hearing the line
whizz, whining off
the reel, glanced up as the rod, dragged
down, disappeared underwater;
saw a yardlong birdfish leap
with it clamped
and snap it clean in two between
chain-cutter jaws. Open-mouthed he
stared forgetful he
fumbled the ring which,
falling, caught the fishs gold eye,
who spat out the hook and took it.
Bluegrass instantly snatched
him by the tail
and him and Bebop, rapidly
wading over, heaved him high till
the ring dropped from his
lips into Bebops
hand. He got his fathers gold band
and Bluegrass barbecued birdfish.
Then they both got down beneath
the blue moon
to the didgeridoos and spoons
and the banjos and valve trombones.
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