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Sam Bush and Poor Richard's Almanac

Sam Bush, Alan Munde, Wayne Stewart

Sam Bush and Poor Richard's Almanac

Saturday, Oct 21, 2017 by Mark Gunter *

audio Listen to Poor Richard's Almanac

One of today's top mandolinists, Sam Bush was a teenage Kentuckian in 1969 when his mentor and music teacher, Wayne Stewart, suggested that they form a bluegrass group with banjoist Alan Munde and call the group Poor Richard's Almanac. In the words of Oklahoman Alan Munde:

Wayne Stewart had this idea for a group with this kid he knew in Kentucky named Sam Bush, who was probably 15. So I moved to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and we formed Poor Richard's Almanac. Not long after, I got my draft notice, but before I left, Sam, Wayne and I made this tape, later released by Ridge Runner Records, called Poor Richard's Almanac, that was a lot of the instrumental things we were doing. I then went back to Oklahoma, was rejected by the Army, and worked in Norman that summer.

These three are well known as great musicians today, but the thing that intrigues me about people like Sam Bush is the virtuosity that folk can acheive in their youth on multiple instruments. Sam got his first mandolin at age 11, and by the time he joined Poor Richard's Almanac (actually 17 at that time) he was already an award-winning fiddler, having won first place three times in the junior division of the National Oldtime Fiddler's Contest in Weiser, Idaho.

The album they produced is out of print and available only on vinyl, as far as I am aware. On it are two Sam Bush original compositions: Poor Richard's Blues (mandolin) and Other Side of Baker (fiddle).

The remaining songs are a compilation of traditional tunes, tunes written by Stewart and Munde, and collaborations of all three. Alan Munde's banjo playing on this early recording is influential on banjo players even today, and Bush's Poor Richard's Blues remains a favorite among many mandolinist's.

Update: At the bottom of the homepage of this site, Wayne Stewart left the following comment using his son's Facebook account: "Thanks Mark for your kind words regarding Poor Richards Almanac. I'm somewhat surprised an album recorded so many moons ago is still being talked about. Again, thank you. Wayne Stewart"

Follow the links on this page to find our digital archive of these somewhat rare tunes.

Poor Richard's Almanac Song Archive

This site contains a playlist of about 18 of Poor Richard's Almanac's recordings, so be sure to listen to this incomparable catalog of acoustic blues.

Acoustic Blues Music Educational Program

I invite you to listen freely and enjoy these 18 early tracks recorded by Poor Richard's Almanac, and contribute to this site by transcribing the lyrics and sending them to me for addition to the Poor Richard's Almanac music collection here.

audio Listen to Poor Richard's Almanac

* Originally published Friday, Apr 08, 2016, last updated on Saturday, Oct 21, 2017

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