Jim Warren's Dobro© Pages

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Check out my youtube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/jim7233/videos?view=0&flow=grid

 Email me at dobro87@comcast.net

 

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I'd like to present "Herman"

Click on the coverplate to hear about me !

A little history of Myself and my Dobro's® 

  I started listening to old Roy Acuff '78's (remember those ?) when I was about 10 years old, as my older brothers went into the armed forces and left behind many country music records. ( It was known as "Hillbilly" back then.) I loved the sound of whatever "that" instrument was. I later on found out by listening to WWVA in Wheeling West Virginia. I worked 2nd. shift in one of the local woolen mills, and when I went to bed I turned on the radio and listened to "Lee Moore, the Coffee Drinkin' Nighthawk" til I went to sleep. Little did I know at that time that I would become friends with Lee later on in life.

  One of the sponsors on his show was "Campbell's Corner and record shop" in Oxford, Pa. They had a set of 45 rpm extended play records (pretty high tech stuff) for sale that they would play during the show. A man by the name of "Deacon Brumfield" was playing Dobro on the recordings. My favorite was "Steel Guitar Chimes" I was hooked. If you purchased these recordings, you would get an 8x10 color photo of the band (Alex, Olabelle and the New River Gang) with Deacon and his Dobro guitar. Well, that was enough to get me to buy the music. I had to see what a Dobro looked like ! See photo below. Item of interest, Dick Blattenburger, pre-war Dobro collector has informed me that Deacon's son has posession of his Dad's guitars, and still operates the Barber Shop that was his Father's in Rising Sun,Maryland.

 

  A fellow I worked with had been out of town the previous weekend, and said he had seen a Dobro in a music store in Burlington, Vt. Well, it didn't take me long to hit rt. 7 north. Turned out it was a "Conrad" Japanese guitar with a biscuit bridge. I didn't know the difference as I had no idea what the insides of a Dobro looked like. I had to stop a couple of times in different turnouts on the way home and mess with it. I had no idea how to tune it. I had previously fooled around with a cheapo flat top guitar with a nut raising attachment, and tried different tunings on it. I liked to try and play along with Tut Taylor's "12 String Dobro" album with it.(My first Dobro instrumental recording) One tuning I tried was pretty close to the regular "G" tuning, but I didn't realize it at the time. I saw an ad in some music magazine,might have been "Sing Out" for Josh Graves style tablature lessons.( I was also a Flatt and Scruggs fan.) You could order a sample for 25 cents. I sent for "Home Sweet Home" and spent about a week learning it. About drove my ex wife nuts. Had it down pretty good, so I figured if I could learn one song I could learn more. I was on my way !

  The following year I saw a flyer for a Bluegrass contest as a spectator and saw my first real Dobro. This belonged to a fellow by the name of Ralph Jones from New Hampshire, who at one time played for Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper among others. He was also a songwriter. Hank Williams and many others recorded songs that he wrote. He was there with a bunch of young folks that entered the contest. "Dobro Hank and the Sunshine trio" (See photo below.) He also had his "Real" Dobro with him and let me play it. Needless to say it sounded some better that my Conrad. Soon after I saw a "Real" one in a window of a music store in Claremont, N.H. It was a roundneck one. I asked the owner to order me a squareneck model which I still have today. It's a model 1975 model 60 with a stamped cone. serial #       D-803-5. The only thing I have changed is the tailpiece.

  I played with various fiddle groups, Jamborees and Saturday night square dances doing rhythm guitar with my old Martin until I got bored with it.What I really wanted to do was be in a Bluegrass band and play my Dobro! Then I had a chance to play in a country band "Green Mt. Express" on Saturday nights. It was an improvement and paid a lot better. I played Dobro and six string lap steel for about a year with them. We had a monthly jamboree on Sundays where many bands came to show their stuff. One band that came caught my attention I don't remember if the band had a name or not, but it was Stan and Dan Tymimski with their uncle. The uncle sang country, and Stan did some GOOD bluegrass. I asked them if they would mind if I got up and played with them. To my amazement they were tickled to have me. Dan had just turned 13 at the time. We picked up Doug Green who was the country bands leader and started an offshoot band called "Green Mountain Bluegrass" We played together with various bass players for three years. When I left in 1983, David Bevins from Ticonderoga, N.Y. took my place. They stayed together for about another five years until Dan went with the "Lonesome River Band". Of course, he eventually wound up with "Alison Krauss and Union Station" where he still is today besides fronting his own band and doing a lot of studio work in his "spare" time. I am proud to have been associated with the Tyminski Brothers.

                                                

Green Mt. Express

  When I left Green Mt. Bluegrass, I went with Smokey Greene. I stayed with him along with Brian Jiguere for ten years. Smokey finally decided it was too much of a hassle to front a full band any longer, so he continued on as a single act, where he still has a very large following. That man is not just a performer, but an entertainer. He can have you laughing one minute, and crying the next. I learned a LOT from Smokey in the time I spent with him. I owe him a lot for what he taught me just by being on the same stage with him. We still get together for a band reunion occasionally, which brings back a lot of fond memories. He wanted to spend more time with his grandchildren and his golf clubs. Can't fault a man for that !

  The next band I played with was "Back To Basics" from Brunswick, Maine. I got a phone call from one of the members when they heard I wasn't playing with Smokey any longer asking me if I was interested in playing. They sent me a tape of one of their practice sessions to play along with. This was in October of 1995. By spring, I had everything More or less learned. (Back to Basics was 200 miles from me) We had a lot of fun doing a variety of songs. Our mandolin player has written a lot of songs, some of which have been recorded by bands like the Gibson Brothers. I played with them until 2005.

  I have done backup work on a dozen or so recordings,(see projects) and have done two instrumental recordings of my own

  Pete "Bashful Brother Oswald" Kirby was, and still is my idol, although I play other styles as the music dictates     Jim

 

 

   Candi Sawyer, A good friend who with her husband Seth, promote the "Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival" annually in Tunbridge, Vermont. Candi also previously published the "Bluegrass Guide", which was a listing of festivals all through the northeast, and included some very interesting articles and biographies. Unfortunately, It became cost preventative. 

 

  "Dobro Hank, and the Sunshine Trio" . Back row Noma-Lee, and Naomi. Front row Debbie and "Dobro Hank" Brown. This was an up and coming family act from Randolph, Vermont about 1980. Ralph Jones taught Hank to play at a very young age. They were a very enjoyable act to see. They did only old time traditional country music. I always wondered what became of them. They were real nice kids. (see footnote below)
  Speaking of Ralph Jones, here he is with the "Rainbow Valley Folks" back in the 1960's. Pictured L-R are Norm Delaney,Grace French,Ralph, and Bob French. Note Ralph's early 1960's Dobro.
  I recently heard from (Dobro) Hank Brown. He is living in Tennessee with his wife and three children. He pursued a different career than music, but is doing well. Still loves to play when he has the time. The girls all have families of their own also, and live in Va, Mass, and Ohio !  

 

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