Happy New YEAR Top Ten: My Better Years (#5)

@FourWalls (13257)
United States
January 2, 2018 7:01pm CST
When I started this countdown of ten favorite songs that have the word “year” in the title I said the songs jumped out at me almost immediately. You can probably tell from the “bottom five” how rich the selection of songs was! Into the top five I go with today’s selection on that list. #5: My Better Years - Johnson Mountain Boys For years I wondered why punkers liked bluegrass music so much. Then it dawned on me: there’s nothing pretentious about bluegrass music, just as there was nothing pretentious about punk. Of course, in bluegrass you must play your instruments well (because there’s 200 people in the parking lot who can play just as well as you can), while that wasn’t exactly a requirement in punk (cough-cough Sid Vicious ). The Johnson Mountain Boys were the real deal. As I’ve mentioned before, they came along with the “authentic” bluegrass sound at a time when “progressive bluegrass” had all but taken over. (It’s sort of an “east coast”/“west coast” thing [except there aren’t people getting shot the way there was in the east coast/west coast rap argument]: “progressive” bluegrass tends to be more popular out west, thanks to things like Telluride and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in California; while the east coast (where most of the legends were born) held to the “original” sound. Funny how that was reversed in country music, with Nashville being the “progressive” sound and Bakersfield holding the traditions....but that’s for another time. This was the final Johnson Mountain Boys album, which is sort of sad. They’d probably be in the Bluegrass Hall of Fame if they’d continued. As it was, banjo player Tom Adams was dealing with a terminally ill wife and fiddler Eddie Stubbs was offered his dream job of playing fiddle for Kitty Wells and announcing for the Grand Ole Opry, so that was pretty much the end of that. Bassist Marshall Wilborn joined the Lynn Morris Band (not a random choice, given that he’s married to Lynn), Dudley Connell went on to do solo albums, the “supergroup” Longview, and the post-John Duffey incarnation of the Seldom Scene. Here you hear the harmonies, Connell’s incredible vocals, and Stubbs’ first-rate fiddling on a terrific Hazel Dickens number. A perfect package. My Better Years Written by Hazel Dickens Recorded by the Johnson Mountain Boys From Blue Diamond, 1993 All I can do now is wish you well:
Track off the JMB's 1993 album, Blue Diamond
4 people like this
2 responses
@JohnRoberts (53999)
• Los Angeles, California
3 Jan
Another stumper for me.
3 people like this
@teamfreak16 (40848)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
16 Jan
Yeah, as a bassist, Sid wasn't exactly Geddy Lee or Chris Squire.
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (13257)
• United States
16 Jan
Or Stan Lee or Chris George for that matter!
1 person likes this
@teamfreak16 (40848)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
16 Jan
@FourWalls -- Or me picking one up for the first time.
1 person likes this