Jethro Burns solo

Discussion of history's greatest guitar player.

Jethro Burns solo

Postby rhirvine » Wed May 01, 2013 4:58 pm

A long time ago one of my aunts sent me a tape she made of the Prairie Home Companion radio show that was hosted by Chet Atkins rather than Garrison Keillor. On it, he had Jethro do a mandolin solo. Jethro's introduction: I'd like to dedicate this song to all the ladies in the audience who have varicose veins. It's called "Deep Purple". Man it was a great solo! I wish I still had it. Does anybody have an MP3 of him playing that tune? I tried looking on Youtube but couldn't find it. Thanks.
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Re: Jethro Burns solo

Postby cmcbeth » Wed May 01, 2013 5:29 pm

I've got several of those programs on cassette tape somewhere. If I can figure out how to do it I'll dig them out and attempt to transfer them to mp3. It could take awhile!! Check with me in a couple of weeks.

Cheers, Charles
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Re: Jethro Burns solo

Postby rhirvine » Thu May 02, 2013 1:12 am

thanks CM Beth
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Re: Jethro Burns solo

Postby Norm » Thu May 02, 2013 12:00 pm

Jethro Burns was so good he was scary.

I remember hearing a tale told about him.
He was playing with some hot fiddler, I think it was Joe Venuti, a violinist in the jazz form, like Stefane Grappelli. Grappelli, of course, played with Django. Joe played for years with guitarist Eddie Lang.
Venuti was a bit condescending to Jethro.
Joe: “Do you know how to play _____?”
Jethro: “Yes”
Joe: “Will you be able to play it in this key?” (names the key)
Jethro: “Yes”
This went on for several songs and Jethro, being Jethro, finally got fed up with it and said, “Look, Joe. I can play any song you want in any key you want so all you need to do is call it and we’ll do it, OK?”

I may be off in the final dialogue but I do remember the tale from years ago.
It certainly sounds like our Jethro!
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples:
That should do it.
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Re: Jethro Burns solo

Postby rhirvine » Thu May 02, 2013 3:20 pm

I also heard that story about Jethro playing along with Joe Venuti. I've heard faster mandolin playing than Jethro Burns but never better.
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Re: Jethro Burns solo

Postby George Beasley » Sat May 04, 2013 9:41 am

Jethro and Venutti, along with Eldon Shamblin and Curly Chalker, recorded an album together. It's called "S'Wonderful". Great playing by everyone. It is all jazz tunes....Limehouse Blues, Summertime, Caravan, Lady Be Good, etc. I would imagine that Jethro/Joe story came from this session.
George Beasley
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Re: Jethro Burns solo

Postby rhirvine » Mon May 06, 2013 12:54 pm

Thanks for the reply. I think I'll purchase that album. I'll bet there is some listening gold there considering the four men's talents. It does seem likely that the anecdote about Joe Venuti and Jethro Burns would have happened during there mutual recording sessions (probably the first session). I had no idea an album like that was ever done.

Rich Irvine
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Re: Jethro Burns solo

Postby Richard Hudson » Mon May 06, 2013 12:58 pm

Jethro had a quiet look of confidence about him. He didn't throw it in your face, but he knew who he was.
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Re: Jethro Burns solo

Postby ajbremer » Tue May 07, 2013 8:58 am

Speaking of "Grappelli", John McClellan played in his band for 11 years.
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Re: Jethro Burns solo

Postby DWolfram » Tue May 07, 2013 10:34 am

I was at that show at the World Theater in St Paul. I flew up there from Jacksonville to see Chet, of course, and because it was a special moment, IMHO, for Chet to host the PHC.

I don't remember Jethro's solo but I do remember Chet playing Sails on his J45? See pics. First time I heard that tune and it was a real treat hearing the bear guitar solo as opposed to his tricked out studio version.

Speaking of Jethro and his musical ability reminds me of the time he was at Chastain Park,an amphitheater in Atlanta, with Chet. At sound check the wind was just a blowing and road manager George Lunn sent me and Robert(Henry) to get clothes pins to secure the sheet music to the stands. When I approached Jethro with the clothes pins I noticed at the last second, but too late, that he didn't have any music on his stand. Jethro stared at me with a wry, half annoyed but whimsical smile and said something like he did not need the clothes pins or he did not need sheet music. Whatever. I slinked away embarrassed over my blunder.

I had great memories about that trip especially having breakfast with Chet the morning after the show. See pics.
It was at that time I had asked him why he had redone the tunes on the IN Hollywood album. "Oh", pausing, and looking down and a little timid, "I guess to try and make them a little better". And I'm thinking, to make them better???? Man, what was wrong with the first time????
Well, this was before the mystery of the In Hollywood album was exposed by Pat Kirtley in the Mister Guitar newsletter. I was speaking about the Studio version out of ignorance of the Nashville version controversy. Being that that whole story was not widely known, I would conclude, the bigger mystery was why Chet did not challenge me about the source of my information. Being ignorant of the facts I did not press the issue any further and he did not say anything more. How close I came to the lowdown from the lips of the master and missed out.

St. Paul Aug1986 (800x611).jpg
Breakfast St Paul Aug1986
World Theater Aug1986.jpg
PHC Aug1986
Last edited by DWolfram on Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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