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The Bluegrass Quiz

 How well do you know your favorite music?

Copyright 1984 by Bruce Jaeger. All rights reserved.
Published in Bluegrass Unlimited, April 1985

Author's Note: Those of us who have been performing with, or listening to, bluegrass bands over the years have heard these superannuated cliche's and overreaching puns far, far too many times. And the next guy that 1 hear blurting one of these out is likely to get some free root canal work with a Lloyd Loar-designed dental tool

I give these then, with all due respect to the persons mentioned in an effort to once and for all remove them from the Bluegrass Emcee's Phrase Book.

Unless, of course, I'm at a loss as to how to introduce that next song. . .

  1. Bill Monroe is the Father of:
    1. Marilyn Monroe
    2. Vaughn Monroe
    3. The shock absorber industry
    4. Bluegrass music.
  1. Tu-Ning is a:
    1. Pair of Nings
    2. Chinese folk song
    3. Job for an auto mechanic
    4. Banjo players' disease
  1. The best fiddle tune in the world is:
    1. The Orange Blossom Special
    2. The Orange Blossom Special
    3. The Orange Blossom Special
    4. The Orange Blossom Special
  1. Complete this phrase: "That's close enough for. . ."
    1. Jazz
    2. Folk Music
    3. Hand Grenades
    4. Bluegrass
  1. The movie Bonnie & Clyde made which banjo tune famous?
    1. Red Sails in the Sunset
    2. Dueling Banjos
    3. Cripple Creek
    4. That Song from Bonnie & Clyde
  1. What song will usually satisfy an audiences' request for "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"?
    1. Cat Scratch Fever
    2. Smoke on the Water
    3. Lonesome Fiddle Blues
    4. All of the above
  1. Why are lousy fiddlers like the Union Army in the War Between the States?
    1. I dunno
    2. Beats me
    3. Who cares?
    4. They have no Beauregard.
  1. The Wabash Cannonball is about:
    1. An artillery piece used by the Indiana National Guard
    2. A crack passenger train of the Wabash Railroad
    3. A riverboat on the Wabash River
    4. Two to three minutes long, unless you insist on doing more verses and letting the Dobro player take two breaks.
  1. "This here next song's one by Flatt and Scruggs. The banjo player's going to play Scruggs, and I'm gonna sing. . .
    1. Wonderfully
    2. Beautifully
    3. Superbly
    4. All of the above
  1. "Mountain Dew" is:
    1. A trademarked, patented, copyrighted soft drink name that we'd better not use anymore.
    2. A media name for a clandestinely distilled alcoholic beverage.
    3. A morning condensation of water occurring above the tree line.
    4. One of the few songs the non-bluegrass public recognizes, so we'd better include it in the first set.
  1. Pick two words that are seldom rhymed in a bluegrass song:
    1. Bail. . . . Jail
    2. Dust . . . . Trust
    3. Train . . . . Again
    4. Quaalude . . . .Joint
  1. How many strings does a mandolin have?
    1. Eight at the start of the show.
    2. Seven by the end of the first set.
    3. Five by the end of the fourth set.
    4. All of the above.
  1. What instruments are seldom heard in a bluegrass performance?
    1. Glockenspiels
    2. The medieval sackbut
    3. Theramins
    4. Guitars. The mike's never hot enough.
  1. Why is the little mandolin always played by the biggest, tallest person on stage?
    1. They can better defend themselves.
    2. The other guys got first pick.
    3. Mr. Freud might know, but I'm not going to guess anything.
    4. All of the above.
  1. The Dobro is also referred to as:
    1. The Bluegrass Flub-a-Dub
    2. The Duckbill Platypus of instruments.
    3. A cross between a guitar and a garden tractor.
    4. Too many of the above.
  1. Northern people should be careful about singing bluegrass because:
    1. They keep pronouncing "Holler" as "Hollow"
    2. They often sound as funny as a real hillbilly singing "I'm a Svede from Nort Dakota" which would sound like "Ah'ma Sweead frum Narth Dekoteh."
    3. Too many hillbillies still own guns.
    4. All of the above.
  1. The toughest thing for a bluegrass performer to do is:
    1. Chew tobacco and sing tenor
    2. Sing songs that don't use the word "cabin"
    3. Keep the bass player awake
    4. Smile and not get mad when some bozo in the audience requests something by the Police or the Clash.
  1. Electronic pickups still aren't accepted in bluegrass music because:
    1. Bill Monroe doesn't use one.
    2. They won't distort and feed back like the authentic microphone sound.
    3. Bluegrass musicians can't afford them.
    4. We haven't learned how not to trip on the cords.
  1. Bluegrass music has retained much of its original sound for an amazing 40 or so years because:
    1. Everyone who has "stretched it out" a bit has, somewhere deep inside, felt a little guilty.
    2. It's about the most social of all music; its fans are its performers, and its performers are its biggest fans.
    3. It's plenty good the way it is.
    4. All of the above


SCORING: Subtract 50 points for even trying to keep score.


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