June 17, 2009
I finally got around to looking at the photos from this book drawn from the Leon Kagarise Archive. I recommend it. He was the dude who took pictures of all the country and bluegrass greats at Sunset Park in Rising Sun, Maryland during the early 60s.
He also recorded 4000 hours of these shows too, which are supposed to have great sound and which must be utterly unbelievable to hear. Why they haven't been released yet I don't know.
Sunset Park was one of the little country music parks that had the biggest stars there playing on a tiny little stage about the size of a flatbed truck. I've been fortunate enough to see all the original bluegrass greats in exactly this kind of setting many times, which means I can die with a satisfied soul, but to have seen Roy Acuff, George Jones, Porter Wagoner, Johnny Cash and all the others--yeah man.
The pictures are all great and a lot of fun to see. There are a lot of photos of the Stonemans, I guess Kagarise was kind of obsessed with them. The color stock from that era makes them even better.
The only flaw I can find in the book is that Carter Stanley is identified as Ralph Stanley, which is weird since the author apparently wrote a book with Ralph (which isn't out yet --but definitely is going to be a must read. I've been wanting to read more about Carter's final days. Was it Traveling the High Way Home that has the story of him vomiting buckets of blood?).
Kagarise went and visited Sara Carter once and she gave him a pamphlet written by A.P. called "Bible Questions and Answers". I personally cannot think of a single better thing in this world than A.P. Carter's "Bible Questions and Answers".
The company that published this book is called Daniel 13. I checked out there webpage, and see they also have a book of photographs of sex machines which looks like something worth a perusal.
(Kagarise was a pious dude, I wonder how he would feel to know his photos are in this company.)