The George Plimpton of Bluegrass

        You remember George Plimpton?  He’d pitch for the Tigers or be QB for a day with the Lions.

        Well, now I’m the George Plimpton of bluegrass.  Not long ago, I went to a show by the Circuit Riders.  Boy are they a hot band- strong in every position, great singers, the works.

        At the break I went up to shake and howdy.  I had talked to them at MerleFest, and one of them had read my weblog, so they knew I played the mandolin.

        “Hey, Doc,” Greg said.  “I’m gonna fiddle a few in this set, and Darin is gonna switch off and play guitar.  Did you bring your mandolin?”

        “Don’t leave home without it, Mr. Luck.”

        “You wantta play a few tunes this set?” he asked.

        “Do I wantta play!?”  I didn’t give him a chance to change his mind.

        And so it was.  I got up near the end  of the show and we did ‘Sally Good’in,’ ‘Ashokan Farewell’ and then closed with this set with one called ‘John Riley’ something or another.  I might woulda tangled that one up, but when they kicked it off Darin Aldridge turned to me and said, “It goes to the seven where you’d think it’d be the five Doc,” so I got through it fine.  (That’s some more music theory there.)

        I’ve played in regional bands all my life, but now I can claim at least for one night to be a professional mandolinist.

        And I’m gonna tell tell you it was some kinda big time.  That was as tight a band as I’ve ever sat in with.  Pretty cool for an old Doc.  The George Plimpton of bluegrass was fun.  I hope they let me be him again.

Dr. B

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6 Comments on “The George Plimpton of Bluegrass”

  1. pandemonic Says:

    That’s really cool, Dr. B.

    I’ve heard your pickin’ (if only on CD) and I can tell you that you’re world class. But it’s good that you have that day job too. 🙂

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Pande,

    To tell you the truth I can’t carry the case for the best ones, but I love to try.

    I heard we had a bootleg copy going around up North. Cool.

    Dr. B

  3. Smitty Neuse River Pres. Says:

    Well, George congratulations on again being a kid in a toy shop. I can tell that you really had fun sitting in with the Circuit Riders. I think your next adventure should be a hockey goalie armed with the mando.

  4. drtombibey Says:


    I’m afraid those guys might knock my teeth out, and I’m too old for pain.

    Maybe a golf gig would be good- the ball doesn’t hit back in that game. (at least not very often)

    Dr. B

  5. Ted Lehmann Says:

    Good show doc. I’ll be seeing the Circuit Riders this coming weekend, so I’ll get the scoop right from the horses mouth. By the way, Irene and I drove through Harnett County today on our way north towards the festival at Denton and looked for your shingle in every little town we drove through. Couldn’t find any sign of you anywhere. I’ll keep on looking, though. – Ted

  6. drtombibey Says:


    The Circuit Riders were hot as a firecracker that night.

    Lord I quit advertising years ago- about got over run. There’s a big call for mandolin picking Docs and not many of ’em.

    Dr. B

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