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Saturday Song: Grandpa Jones “Banjo Am The Instrument For Me”

January 17, 2009

You really do need to turn the volume up on this one…it is really quite remarkable.

The memory of many a Saturday night at the grandparent’s home in Hancock, Wisconsin leaves warm images of everyone gathered around in the livingroom watching “Hee Haw”.  One of the regulars that intrigued me, and helped to start my fascination with the artists that were formative figures of the Grand Ole Opry, was a man who had perfected the five-string melody on the banjo, while creating a personality of being someone much older than he really was.  As an adult I would get to see him live on the Opry, and made my way to the stage and watched (under the guise I was taking pictures) as he made his banjo smoke….one of the memories that will never die.

I speak of the one and only Grandpa Jones and “Banjo Am The  Instrument For Me”.

“Grandpa Jones” was born Louis Marshall Jones on Oct. 20, 1913 in Niagara, Kentucky. As a teenager he spent  time in Akron, Ohio singing country songs for a small radio station. In 1935 Jones went to WBZ,  in Boston, Massachusetts. It was there he first got the nickname ‘Grandpa’.  Bradley Kincaid, a songwriter and musician remarked that Jones was grumpy as a grandpa, and the name stuck.

Since we are on a nostalgia kick some of my readers may recall the humorous touches that Grandpa  Jones added to the show, such as the famous ‘What’s For Supper, Grandpa?’ skit that was always just fun.



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