" C L A R E N C E W H I T E C H R O N I C L E S "
The Online Newsletter of A Guitar Virtuoso
March 15, 1997 (Number 5.)
Edited by Etsuo Eito
Copyright by Bluegrass Workshop "North Field" 1997
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Bluegrass Workshop "North Field" C/O Etsuo Eito
2-13-7,Kitahirano,Himeji,Hyogo, 670 JAPAN
No part of this newsletter can be reprinted in any format
without editor's permission.
<< Contents of This Issue >>
* "E-mails from the subscribers"
-- Wayne Moore Article -- Gene Goodale
---- CWC online ---- Sandy Rothman
---- Gene Parsons ---- Roy Josephson
--Subscribe to the digest-- R. Baker
* "Memories of Clarence White" -Part I- Written by Sandy Rothman
A Special Contribution from an old friend of Clarence...
Date: Sun, Mar 9, 1997 08:40:47 -0500
>From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gene Goodale)
To: email@example.com (Etsuo Eito)
Subject: Wayne Moore Article
> Fortunately, for country-rock fans, Nashville West's legacy was preserved
>on vinyl by Sierra Records in 1978, courtesy of Gene Parsons, who recorded
>the group on his Sony tape machine in a club in 1967. Clarence White's
>string bender playing is at the forefront in every tune on the album (Sierra
>SRS-8701) since Gene purposely placed his mike next to Clarence's amplifier.
Thanks for sending the previous issues of the Chronicles. Its great to see
a newsletter devoted to Clarence.
In the April/May '93 issue of Dirty Linen Gene Parsons is interviewed by
Mike Parrish. They talk about the Nashville West recording and Gene states:
... and I have to tell them to listen again because there's no stringbender
on that record.
Anyone have any futher info.
Date: Sun, Mar 9, 1997 12:39:13
>From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sandy Rothman)
To: email@example.com (Etsuo Eito)
Subject: CWC online
Tonight I finally finished reading all of the new online Chronicles you
sent today. It was a lot to receive at one time. But I can never rest
until I finish reading important things like your publications on
Clarence, every word of them!
Reading the story/letter in #1 from Rosie Evans, the tears fell from
my eyes when I reached the part about Susie and Clarence looking into each
Then I read it a second time a few hours later. Even now, as I think about
it, the tears do not stop. I'm not sure why. Another very tender memory
Rosie gave us was the story of Eric's love affair and how easily Clarence
understood the conflict his brother felt about going on the road with the
band. More than any other writing I have ever read on Clarence White, this
letter conveys the greatest amount of his humanity. It's closer to a photo-
graph, or a film, than most writing.
Utilizing the Internet's endless resources, I would like to say this
to Rosie c/o you c/o LeRoy: Rosie, please give us another letter. The
way you did it was perfect. You just roamed through your memory and let
things come to the surface. If you do it again, and even again,
different little memories will come out that may not seem like much to
you, because you were close to Clarence and the White family, but they
will be treasures for the rest of us. Just let it be random and natural.
You can see how much this means to us, and of course we have Etsuo Eito
to thank for making it available.
I like your "Letters" section. John Delgatto's idea (CWC online #4)for a
box set of Clarence's music sounds exciting.
Steve Pottier told me the same story in his letter (CWC online #4),
but when he told it to me, he mentioned something interesting: Before he
went over to his college friend Andy's house to play some tunes, he
didn't know that Andy's mother was a close friend of Clarence and the
White family. He was so surprised to find out this coincidence!
Thanks for the wonderful online reading. Oyasumi nasai.
Date: Sun, Mar 9, 1997 18:50:03 -0600(CST)
>From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Roy E. Josephson)
To: email@example.com (Etsuo Eito)
Subject: Gene Parsons
A lot of my internet Byrds friends and are real excited about the Clarence
White Chronicles. One key participant that I'd love to see
involved with your newsletter is Clarence's close friend and musical
collaborator Gene Parsons. Gene is on-line now
[firstname.lastname@example.org]. Have you contacted him to see if he'd like to receive
Roy Cocoa Beach FL
Date: Tue, Mar 11,1997 19:48:13 -1000
>From: email@example.com (Richard Baker)
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Etsuo Eito)
Subject: Subscribe to the online digest
Please enter my subscription to the Clarence online digest. I am a former
Byrds roadie/groupie from the early 1970's who spent many a concert on
stage camped next to Clarence's amp. He was a true gentleman, did not use
drugs, but smoked plenty of Viceroy cigarettes. Listening to him and Gene
Parsons jam backstage before a concert (Clarence on acoustic and Gene on
banjo and harmonica) was a priceless memory. The last time I heard
Clarence play was in June, 1973 in Annapolis , Maryland as part of a
country rock festival, which included The White Brothers (Clarence, Roland,
and Eric), Gram Parsons, the newly discovered Emmylou Harris, Sneaky Pete,
Chris Ethridge, Gene Parsons, Tracy Nelson, New Riders. Unfortunately we
were robbed of Clarence's future a month after this amazing concert.
********** Memories of Clarence Joseph White (1944 - 1973 ) ************
The following article was originally appeared in the back issue of CWC
magazine previously published in 1992. However, it was Japanese translation
edition. And we have had a lot of requests for the original English edition
from our overseas readers. The other day I asked Sandy Rothman if I could
reprint this amazing article again on my online newsletter. He kindly enough
gave me a generous permission. Please enjoy the memories of Clarence White
in their early days.
No part of the article can be reprinted in any format without permission.
[ About Sandy Rothman... ]
Sandy Rothman is a Berkeley-based bluegrass musician, who was a member of
the Black Mountain Boys in early 1960's.(Jerry Garcia on banjo, David Nelson
on mandolin, Robert Hunter on bass, and Sandy Rothman on guitar; Oh,what a
great line-ups, it was!) In this era, Sandy Rothman had had opportunities to
play together with Clarence White. (We can hear some cuts from their live-
recordings on a Rounder album.)
Through 1960's to early 1970's, he played the guitar for Bill Monroe's
Blue Grass Boys, played the banjo for Earl Taylor's Stoney Mountain Boys,
and then he had many activities in Ohio area. It is the most successful
career for him to have joined JERRY GARCIA ACOUSTIC BAND on mandolin and
also some dobro and some banjo ten years ago. (Available on GDCD-4005)
During last several years, Sandy Rothman has released two CD albums; one is
a tribute to Clarence White titled "Bluegrass Guitar Duets" (TBR-CD 1833)
an amazing twin guitar album CD by him and his good friend Steve Pottier,and
another one is Sandy's first solo album titled "The Old Road To Home" (TBR-
146CD). Both CD's are available at; TONE BAR RECORDS, 1678 Shattuck Ave #29,
Berkeley, CA. 94709. Great and Heartwarming Music! Why not enjoy!
[A Special Contribution from an old friend of Clarence White]
" M e m o r i e s o f C l a r e n c e W h i t e "
( Part I )
Written by Sandy Rothman
Growing up as I did here in the San Francisco Bay Area of nothern
California, very far from the homeland of bluegrass music, I did not have
the chance to see many important bluegrass musicians until I was old enough
to begin travelling to other parts of the country. In this aspect, a West
Coast bluegrass player is a similar to one from Japan or another country:
we have to travel far to see "the real thing". However, there were a few
exceptions on the West Coast. For genuine bluegrass singing, we had Vern
Williams (and fiddler/singer Ray Park, his partner at the time) and his
glass-shattering tenor voice. (We also had one of his students,Scott Hambly,
who was as close to a bluegrass singer as we had in my home town of
Berkeley.) And for bluegrass rhythm and lead guitar playing, we had Clarence
Clarence lived in the Los Angeles area, over 400 miles from where I grew up
in the Bay Area. It was a long trip to go there,but as soon as I heard about
Clarence and his band (the Country Boys, later the Kentucky Colonels),I went
to L.A. every chance I could to see them. I first heard about Clarence from
Pete Berg, banjo player in Scott Hambly's band, and from Eric Thompson, a
flatpicker who was the one of the first people I herad playing breaks in
I think the first time I went to see Clarence play at the Ash Grove, a folk
music club in L.A., I was 16 years old. This was in 1962. Clarence was 17
and a half at the time - he was born June 7, 1944, about one year and six
months older than me. Every time I saw Clarence I would talk to him a little
bit. He was not a talkative person, so we didn't say much, but I was trying
to be a rhythm guitar player and bluegrass singer, so we played two guitars
together whenever we had the chance. He was always looking for opportunities
to work on his lead guitar ideas with a bluegrass rhythm guitar player, so I
think that's why he played with me.
Unfortunately, I never took a lesson from him or asked him to show me any
guitar playing. I'm sure he would have,but I didn't ask. He did give lessons
to some people at the time, but I didn't know about that until later. Mostly
I just played rhythm for him,but sometimes I tried to play some lead guitar.
I liked his style. I remember one time Clarence looked at my right hand and
said,"I don't know what you're doing with your pick." That made me more
conscious of my picking hand and from that time I tried to be more careful
in my right hand - which direction the pick was going,how smooth I could be,
and how clean a sound I could make. I am left-handed, so I think my right
hand has always been weak in comparison with my left. I have worked to try
and balance the right hand with the left. I have to thank Clarence for
saying what he did, even though he was not clear about it; he made me think
about my right hand seriously for the first time. The person who influenced
me most about my left hand at that time was Pete Berg. I like his style
because it was very economical and looked graceful. He left hand moved so
little,from a distance it looked like it wasn't moving at all. I think
economy of motion is an important form, and Clarence had great economy of
motion in both his hands, especially his right hand. This is true of Doc
Watson too (and,later,Tony Rice and others), but to me, Clarence looked and
sounded the most elegant.
In 1963, the same year I saw Bill Monroe in Berkeley for the first time,
the Colonels came through town and they played an informal show outdoors,
next to a music shop where I had a job. This was the Campus Music Shop,
owned by legendary guitar repairman and country musician Campbell Coe.
I don't know how Campbell arranged to have the Colonels come to play in the
alley near the shop, but he did. He had a small sound system, and when I got
there I couldn't believe I was hearing Clarence White very loud on the
street corner. It was exciting! This is near Telegraph Avenue, which is
Berkeley's oldest hippie district. Rick Shubb, several other bluegrass
friends, and I stood around this alley just a few feet away from Clarence
and the Colonels and watched them for over an hour; even though I had seen
them onstage at the Ash Grove and other places,this was the first time I
could watch them so closely. We all remember very clearly seeing Clarence
and the band at Campbell Coe's shop that day. And the Colonels always
remembered Campbell,too, because he is such an interesting person.
The next year, in April, the Colonels came to Berkeley again. They were
booked at a folk club called the Cabale for four nights. It was the most
exciting week in my life at the time. I spent almost every day and every
night with them. Unfortunately, very few people knew who they were (or what
bluegrass was) and so the audiences were always quite small. When I listen
to the tapes from those nights,I'm shocked to hear just a few of us clapping
in the audience, to such great music. The tapes were made by an old friend
Brooks Adams Otis, who introduced a lot of us to bluegrass in the early days
in the Bay Area. He had been in the Army with Roland White and he knew a lot
about bluegrass and played guitar and banjo. (He now owns a music store and
plays country swing music in Arcata, California.) Brooks lived in Woodside
(near Palo Alto) at the time, and he sometimes had music parties at his
house; one time, later in 1964 (November), he had the Colonels at his house
for a party. Jerry Garcia and I were there, along with many other friends.
Brooks made a tape of me and Clarence playing two guitars in his upstairs
bedroom, sitting on the edge of his bed. Many years later, he gave his tapes
to the owners of Rounder Records and they released one or two tunes from
that session on one of their records of Clarence. Brooks Adams Otis and John
Delgatto are two people who know a lot about Clarence,Roland and the
On the last day of the four-day gig at the Cabale, Clarence and Roland came
over to Campbell Coe's apartment near Telegraph Avenue and Campbell made a
tape of them playing together. I played backup guitar. Campbell owned an
original Selmer Macaferri guitar and played some of Django Reinhardt's style
so Clarence played "Sheik of Araby" and asked Campbell to play a guitar
break..... (That Macaferri is now owned by Bob Wilson, a swing guitarist in
the Bay Area who plays with Rick Shubb.) That was another great opportunity
for me to see Clarence play lots of lead guitar very close-up.
-- to be continued to the next issue --
[No part of this article can be reprinted in any format without permission.]
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| C/O Etsuo Eito |
| 2-13-7,Kitahirano, |
| Himeji,Hyogo, 670 JAPAN |
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________________| |______________________| |_________________________
Your Always Kentucky Colonelly,
Etsuo Eito / Himeji,Hyogo, JAPAN
e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clarence White Chronicles 6
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