Een de dingen die mij opviel in dit gedeelte van het Bill Clifton interview is het feit dat Bill Clifton en Jim Eanes elkaar kenden. Waarschijnlijk waren ze elkaar meerdere keren tegengekomen, maar ze kenden elkaar beter dan toevallige voorbijgangers. Niet alleen Bill Clifton is een van mijn helden. Jim Eanes hoort zeer beslist ook bij mijn favorieten. Ik heb altijd bijzonder genoten van Jim’s optredens, net als dat ik altijd bijzonder genoten heb van optredens van Bill Clifton. Interessant om te horen en lezen dat A.P. waarschijnlijk veel meer met Bill Clifton had willen werken dan uiteindelijk is gebeurd omdat Bill zijn held op een te hoog voetstuk had geplaatst… Veel plezier met lezen en luisteren deze keer…
Well I think a guy like Jim Eanes has had the same problem, isn’t it? Yeah, Jim. Of course Jim and Mac Wiseman are two of the finest singers going as far as I’m concerned and could have sung anything, really. But when Jim had Allen Shelton playing banjo for him and Roy Russell on fiddle, I mean Roy is an old-time fiddler but he could play bluegrass too, but he was more of an old-time fiddler. But [with] the combination of Allen Shelton and Roy Russell Jim’s band was a bluegrass band, that’s all there was to it. So he became a bluegrass singer, but he was really a country singer and he was somebody who could croon or he could do anything he wanted to do, you know. The same as Mac Wiseman. He was just a fine singer. He didn’t have the training that Mac had. Mac went to a Shenandoah… what they call it… where he had voice training and, you know, got real control. He’s the only singer I know personally in bluegrass that has studied voice and had voice training and can totally control his voice and can sing anything. Jim Eanes didn’t have the vocal training but he sure had a voice that was capable of anything. And they’re the only people I know singing bluegrass. I’m sure there are younger people, newer people but there’s a young fellow who played with the Seldom Scene for a while, Moondy Cline… Have you heard his name?
I’ve heard of him, yes, but… He was trained for opera and I’ve heard him sing opera. But he’s not somebody who could croon or do anything like that. Certainly, Moondy has a voice that can sing bluegrass and he can sing opera. I’m sure of those two things, but I don’t think he could do much in between there. But with the other two, Mac [Wiseman] and Jim Eanes, you could get anything.
I’d like to get back to your meetings with A.P. and especially when you performed together. How did you go and get bookings? Well, we didn’t get bookings. We didn’t actually go out and do bookings. He wanted to do that and I would have liked to have done that. But at the time he wanted to do it I was at a point where I’d already had the band up at Wheeling and left Wheeling and I felt like I wanted to continue more band music. So that was something that… it didn’t include A.P. and I didn’t see any way to do it that way. And first of all I would have felt [that] he was too much of a, to me, too much of an idol for me to include him as part of my program in any other way that it would have been his program. I mean, I would have wanted to make it his program. And that was not the way I was perceived by the recording company or by any of the audience that I was getting at that time. So I felt it was not a thing I could do. But he always wanted to do that, he always wanted to make bookings and so forth. No, we’d just do radio programs mainly and things of that sort. Well, things of what sort? No, I guess we never even sang in the church together. I mean, that was something he would do. But, no I guess we just did radio, come to think about it.
How did that come about? Well, that would come about simply because I would be an advertisement for his park date. In other words: I would be down there to do the park date and I would go up and do a radio program and if not maybe we’d just go up there because he thinks it’s time to do something locally. And we would go up to the radio station knowing that they would put us on, you know, and that was that. We never got paid for radio, it was always a thing that you did for free. Unless you had a sponsor.
But then you had a regular program? Yeah, then you’d have a regular program and your sponsor would pay your fees but, I mean I worked for radio a long time before I ever had any sponsors. And when I did get sponsors they were not well paid. It would be a furniture company or a used car lot or somebody who’d not pay you a great deal of money you know. Just a little bit of extra money so that’s all.