This photographic history of tiny Bean Blossom, Indiana highlights many of the interesting people, including Bill Monroe, who have contributed to its success as a venue for the performance of music, including bluegrass, since 1940. The oldest, continuous running bluegrass festival in the world is held here every year in the month of June. Now played all over the world, bluegrass music has become a unifying force between people of very different backgrounds and Bean Blossom is an important center of this unifying force. The author, Jim Peva, includes a short story about the friendship between his family and Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music.
Dimensions: 8 1/2" X 11", 77pgs.
Bean Blossom Memories Reviewed by: Cary Allen Fields (6/14/2006) For anyone who has attended a bluegrass festival at Bill Monroe Music Park in beautiful Brown County Indiana this thoroughly enjoyable collection of written history, photographs, and personal recollections constitutes a “must-have.” As many fans and aficionados of Mr. Monroe’s music are aware, Mr. Peva began attending events in the small town of Bean Blossom back in the days of the old Brown County Jamboree. The Peva family is still a integral part of the festival, having attended every festival since it’s inception. The longest continuously-running bluegrass festival in the world (40 years old in June of 2006) has in James Peva both an advocate and spokesman for the park. With obvious love for bluegrass music and the lives it touches, he relates a story spanning decades with fascinating anecdotes recalled from personal experience, all rendered in an extremely accessible style more reminiscent of casual conversation than many of the exhaustive scholarly works that touch on the history of the “bluegrass mecca” that is Bean Blossom. For those who appreciate the fact that Mr. Monroe’s musical legacy is alive and well and living in Central Indiana, this book will provide many a valuable insight and some truly delightful reading.
Bean Blossom: Its Music and Its People Reviewed by: Mike Weber (6/21/2006) Jim Peva has taken the time to collect pictures and stories into a history of Mr. Monroes festival. For those who have many BBs under their belt this retrospective will bring back wonderful memories for them, and for those like me who have only been to two BBs it is a window into the "feel" of the place. HIGHLY recommended to all. At only $10.95 it would make GREAT stocking stuffers for Christmas. $10.95! Can you imagine a bargain like that? It's just about priceless....................... After you've been buying gifts for friends and family for a "bunch" of years you run out of new ideas. Well, here is a new idea. Jim Peva's book. ANY Bluegrass fan will love to have it. Trust me on THAT!
Mr. Pevas Book......... Reviewed by: Raymond E. Huffmaster (6/21/2006) Any of you folks that have visited the Festival at Bean Blossom probably know Jim Peva. Any that haven't,need to . The book is wonderful,full of really historic photos and facts that those of us that have been going there for years treasure.I've missed only a few of the forty and I love the place just like Mr.Peva.I'm reserved for next year...won't you all join us? RE
Precious Memories Reviewed by: Neil V. Rosenberg (7/4/2006) Jim Peva's been hanging out at Bill Monroe's old country music park in Bean Blossom, Indiana, for 45 years. He was a regular at the Sunday afternoon and evening shows there and I don't think he's missed a bluegrass festival there since the first one in 1967. He's taken a lot of great photos, and he is well-acquainted with the history of the musical scene at Bean Blossom. All of this is reflected in the contents of this book. I was happy to see so many images and read so much about people and events -- some familiar to me, some not -- of a place where I spent many happy hours enjoying great music. This book is a fine document of an important American musical institution.
Bean Blossom Reviewed by: Mike Butler (7/10/2006) Being a Mandolin player and tenor singer you can bet that Bill Monroe is my hero. Bill Monroe invented Bluegrass Music and Jim Peva has done a wonderful job of bringing this great man's festival to life in book form. Having been to every June festival since 1977 it was great to see pictures of Birch Monroe, the Sunset Jam, and Pap's Filling Station. It was fun to see a picture of Jack Zell, a powerful jammer, and many other old friends. Mr. Monroe would like this book. Well done Jim.
Bean Blossom Memories Reviewed by: Tom Adler (7/27/2006) I couldn't wait until the festival this year -- I had to order Jim Peva's book ahead of time, and when it came, I read it right through. [Great job, Jim!] Later, I brought it to Bean Blossom for Jim to autograph. Even later, he asked me to consider writing this short review, and said to "be honest," and not to give it five stars as the others so far have all done. Sorry, Jim-- they were right to do so, and I agree. The book is a wonderful compilation of "precious memories" from my favorite music park, with an evocative photo on just about every page, many of them taken by Jim himself at the park since he began coming in 1961. The text and stories also explain why this park, of all the music parks and festival parks scattered across the country, deserved the title Jim gave it: "the Mecca of bluegrass." Jim Peva and I have talked Bean Blossom history for years now, and this book contains a very accessible selection of what he knows about and has experienced at Bean Blossom: the stories, recollections, and photos (Peva's and others) all make it much more than a souvenir booklet -- it is a compact history in its own right, and Jim's vivid memories (as well as those of others he quotes) bring the park and festival grounds to life. If you've been to Bean Blossom, you *need* this book. If you haven't been to Bean Blossom, you *still* need this book, and you also need to go there in June or September, and hang out with Jim at his festival campfire and experience the magic he describes. You won't regret it.
Beanblossum Reviewed by: Al Freedman (7/28/2006) Jim Peva has become the elder statesman of Beanblossum and it's music. Mr. Peva has an almost encyclopedic recall of the history of Blue Grass Music, Bill Monroe and Beanblossum. Having been one of the very few people, if not the only person to have attended all of the festivals it is only proper that he be the one to chronical the history. Along with his beloved friend Monroe, Peva has been totally honest, incorruptable and uncompromising in his every pursuit. Peva is to history what Monroe was to music. This is why the book is a must read for every fan of the music and the people.
It will take you to Bean Blossom Reviewed by: Doug Hutchens (8/3/2006) I first heard of Bean Blossom from Bill Monroe on Friday and Saturday nights on WSM as he would advertise who would be appearing at the Brown County Jamboree each Sunday afternoon. By this time I was about 15 or 16 (67-68) and really wanted to go to the festival there. I wrote the Bean Blossom Chamber of Commerce asking if there was a bus or train service nearby. I knew it was 40 miles south of Indianapolis on 135 because Bill always mentioned that. Little did I know that there was no Bean Blossom Chamber of Commerce but the kindly postmaster forwarded my request to the Brown County Chamber of Commerce and they contacted me and told me the bad news so I did not get to go. But thanks to two folks who were to become great friends as the years went by, Frank and Marty Godbey did a two page spread of photos from the festival in Blue Grass Unlimited and I have always said that Frank and Marty took me to Bean Blossom the first time. My first trip was in 70 with Calvin Robins who was a friend of Bill's. We went two weeks early and helped mow the fields, patch the fence, clear brush for more camping, string lights and pull lines for Spur's PA horns. We would eat breakfast with Bill in the little cabin near the lake; biscuits, red eye gravy, salt port shoulder, molasses, and coffee, then work all day, late in the evening we might pick a tune or two then go to bed and then do it all over again the next day. Bill and I became close friends that summer working out on the grounds and he asked me if I would like to work for him next summer . (71) I went down to Nashville in April and he said when I got out of school to go on to Bean Blossom and work with Birch and Bertha and get the grounds ready for the festival. I stayed there a month before the festival and then I took over duties of Joe Stuart playing Bass as he and Kenny Baker started played Twin Fiddles. I've done about everything that could be done there on those grounds, sat out on the cabin porch with the sun going down and Bill talking about the old days, and Uncle Pen, dug fence post holes, got up hay in what is now the parking lot, fed the stock when Bill wasn’t there, worked out in the lake to put down a line to pump water for the new restroom that Kenny Baker and I did the plumbing on (that was a disaster as neither of us had ever done any plumbing and didn't know about flux) sold tickets and played on the stage. Those grounds are magical to me and I have so many great memories and Jim Peva has taken me back with his wonderful publication Bean Blossom: Its People and its Music. This publication is the closest thing to being there during the days with Birch, Bertha, Spurs and Marvin and the others. The presence of Bill Monroe can be felt within these pages and if he could speak today he would say while grinning from ear to ear "Now Jim I don't know what I'm going to do with you boy, you're really working with me now". He would be so pleased. Jim thanks for allowing me to again visit each time I pick up the book and get lost in time among my friends and my hero’s on that patch of ground I love so well. Anyone who ever wants to understand Bill Monroe and his Music must have a copy of this book. Doug Hutchens August 3, 2006 Spencer Va.
Bean Blossom: Its People and Its Music Reviewed by: MaryE Yeomans (8/6/2006) Colonel Jim Peva is a man who knows what he loves and he's not the least bit afraid to share his passion for the music of Bill Monroe - and the music park Monroe held dear to his heart - with any and all who will listen. Here in Peva's captivating book of memories and anecdotes, illustrated with photographs he and others have made, is a gem of a book that each and every bluegrass lover should well consider adding to their collection. Here's a bare bones Bean Blossom history from a man who has well earned the right to share it. Along the way Peva dishes up some general bluegrass history as well. Written in a casual, down home style, you'll find this right-priced guide to Bean Blossom an exceedingly easy read. Go sit out under a tree and read this book from cover to cover, linger over the photographs contained herein and take yourself back to a time when the world was content to move a little slower. Savor the precious moments Peva shares and dream about having similar times at Bean Blossom or a bluegrass festival near you. Peva's book is especially noteworthy for his keen insights into the heart of Monroe. I particularly found Jim's perception of the way Monroe took the sights and sounds of the natural world, filtered them through his soul and then gave them a voice through his fingertips on the fretboard of his mandolin as a true revelation; on that could only be made by a person who had the good fortune to know Mr. Monroe well. In this book Jim Peva talks about the musical melting pot at Bean Blossom - and it surely is. With more than a few Bean Blossoms under my belt I can attest to his assertions. Peva points out that Monroe's music bridges "social, economic, educational, political cultural and international boundaries." Mr. Peva pays special homage to the Japanese visitors who have been making pilgrimages to Bean Blossom since 1971 (in fact, this year Bluegrass 45, the Japanese group that played at BB 35 years ago, returned to BB and put on wonderful shows which were very well-received). Along the way Peva points out some thought-provoking political insights. I enjoyed the anecdotes Jim shared about Monroe's life as a farmer and the way he liked to drive fans at Bean Blossom around the grounds in a wagon pulled by a team of mules. Peva offers in this book a good picture of Monroe - the man - a clear sense of the ambiance and grounds that make up Bean Blossom, the people who come again and again to share memories on this hallowed ground, and the special feeling we return to there among the trees. Peva has a nice, easy way with words and his photos convey a clear sense of "what is Bean Blossom." In additon to his many photographs and long-ish story captions, Peva adds 9 pages of narrative further describing his heartfelt, personal connection with the place - and with Bill Monroe. This may be Peva's first book about Bean Blossom, but I hope it won't be his last. It's that good. Buy it!
Jim Peva's Long Awaited Book Reviewed by: Jerry R Paul (8/20/2006) Having just finished Jim Peva’s long overdue book, “Bean Blossom Its People And Its Music”, I sit here in reverent awe, both of Bill Monroe and Jim Peva’s remarkable ability to accurately capture the mental and physical essence of the Father Of Bluegrass, and all that he represented. Many of these rare and historic photos I have never seen before, some I have, as the privileged guest of Jim, while gathered around his campfire at one of the many Bean Blossom festivals, absorbing his fascinating and treasured recollections of his long term friendship with Bill Monroe. I do not know of any other person more qualified to honor Bill Monroe’s story than Jim Peva. I say this because Jim Peva did not write this wonderful book as a result of compiling a borrowed fact here and there, nor accumulated articles from a variety of sources. Jim truly writes from the heart, his own, driven with a respect for accuracy unknown to most people, unless you are in the “inner circle” as well. As I was reading, there were countless references about Bill Monroe that Jim made, often times as subtle passing statements, that I happen to know is absolutely true, but little known by the general public. This is what makes this book special, the absolute detail of it, nothing embellished, nothing added, only documented priceless recollections of one of Bill Monroe’s best friends. I’m not going to tell you that you should buy this book. The mere fact that you are reading my review exposes you as Monroe enthusiast, earning this historic archive a mandatory addition to your bluegrass library. I have waited years for this book, pestering Jim Peva every inch of the way. Thank you Jim Peva.
"Bean Blossom: Its People and Its Music" Reviewed by: Martha H. Adcock (8/20/2006) Author Jim Peva has long been a friend of Bean Blossom, the most tradition-rich place on earth for bluegrass music. Mr. Peva was a personal friend of bluegrass patriarch Bill Monroe, who bought the old Brown County Jamboree Park property in south-central Indiana and turned it into a mecca for bluegrass fans and musicians. In Mr. Peva's slender volume of remembrances and photos, he manages to give us more than a sketched-in account of the park's history and its magnetic charm. Though this book's author has seen, and here conveys, the changes the place has undergone, he also presents convincingly the sense of why we are continually drawn to this spot in Indiana's wooded hills: it is the spirit of Bill Monroe himself, added to the camaraderie of the musical events, and good old bluegrass music in its most natural home. This book is recommended as an introduction to this fabled place, or as a souvenir of a cherished visit.