George Lawrence StoneIt’s a fairly safe bet that, if you took a poll to find the single drum book that has been used by the largest number of drummers, Stick Control, by George Lawrence Stone, would be the easy winner. Perhaps there is no other book that can be applied so easily to so many different types of playing, be it rock, jazz, classical, or rudimental drumming, and this idea is validated by drummers from all of those fields who have referred to Stick Control as the drummers’ bible.

But for all of the drummers who have studied from and struggled with the book, very few seem to know anything about the book’s author, George Lawrence Stone. A few people we asked had a vague idea that he might have been a rudimental drummer; others thought of Stone as primarily being a teacher and author; a couple of people thought that he was actually more of a xylophonist than a drummer; another person mentioned that Stone worked in the family business: George B. Stone & Son. In fact, all of these things are true to a degree, and begin to give us a picture of a multifaceted man whose influence will be felt as long as drummers practice from drum books.

Born in 1886, George Lawrence Stone was the son of George Burt Stone, drummer, drum teacher, and drum manufacturer. In an article that appeared in the November 1, 1946 Bulletin of the National Association Of Rudimental Drummers, George Lawrence Stone wrote about his father and early family influences on his career. “Mother, who played the piano well, endeavored to teach me this instrument. I guess I was not up to it for the venture ended quickly. Later in the same year [1894] she tried it again—and again no soap.

“There are many musicians who knew and remember my father as a drummer and drum instructor, but not so many are aware that he was commissioned as a Drum Major in the Mass. Volunteer Militia, an instructor of bands and the conductor of his own Stone’s Military Band. And fewer still know that during this time he also played the violin professionally and taught on this instrument as well.

“It quite naturally followed that when I was nine my father bought a small-sized violin and tried me out on this. I made short work of it, not being able to keep my mind upon it nor my fingers around it. When I was ten the folks sent me to an outside piano teacher. This time I did better but again fell by the wayside and nothing further in music occurred until I was twelve, when dad sent me to a fine old timer, Len Lansing, to study the 5-string banjo. Len brought me to the point where I could play something called ‘Spanish Fandango.’ My interpretation of this opus was very much senza ritmo e molto lamentoso—so much in fact that after hearing it, father discontinued further lessons, and I guess by this time the folks were convinced that musically they had drawn a blank.

“But father was an exceedingly wise man. Further, his teaching experience had taught him that the preparation of a musician must be timed. Further still, his hobby, fishing (which he pursued in his spare time), had taught him to wait with due patience.

“I know now, but I didn’t then, that it was his intention that I become a drummer at the proper time. He would have preferred it to come in orderly progression, with piano first, but as it didn’t he bided his time and so far as I can remember, no suggestion of my playing a drum ever was made. But in fisherman fashion he had baited his hook and was waiting.

“In the meantime he had been maintaining a bandroom at Roxbury Crossing near where we lived, and every Sunday he would rehearse his band. He also occupied space in a nearby jewelry store, where he tucked drumheads and sold violins, fittings, drumsticks, etc. This is where the present firm of George B. Stone & Son, Inc. had its inception.”

George Stone continued to describe the early years of this business, along with his own development as a musician. “Somewhere around 1895 dad left the ‘Roxbury Crossing’ set-up and moved his business activities into Boston proper, hiring a little shop at 47 Hanover Street. Here he installed a few tools and now was ready not only to tuck heads, but to make drum repairs in general, turn drumsticks and make wooden foot-pedals. In the meantime the family moved to Everett, a Boston suburb.

“I was privileged to work around the Boston shop occasionally outside of school hours but my first experience in drumming itself took place at home when I was about fourteen. Father had five or six boys come to the house Sunday mornings for lessons. They were slightly older than I. I could not help overhearing some of the things my father told them, and occasionally, after they had gone, I would ask him about something he had said during the lessons.

“The hook, carefully baited, was now dangling just above my eyes, but of course I was unaware of this, and it came as something of a shock to me when my devoted father, previously so solicitous of my musical welfare, now barely found time to answer my questions . . . . When I found it wasn’t being handed out on a silver salver any more I began to dig it out for myself, and in a few weeks I was drumming the same beats that I had heard the pupils beat out.

“Still apparently disinterested, father now found time to correct certain details of handhold and lifting, and when finally he figured that the fish had hook, line and sinker well down its throat, my blessed father found plenty of time to show, guide and counsel me, from then to the day in 1917, when he passed away.

“If I have had my share of success in teaching others, its origin was in the way my father taught me and in his counsel, so often repeated: ‘If you accept a pupil you accept a responsibility. In one way or another you’ve got to go through with him There’s no alibi if you don’t.'”

Later, George Lawrence was trained also on xylophone by his parent. In addition, he studied under Harry A. Bowers and Frank E. Dodge, and learned timpani from Oscar Schwar of the Philadelphia Symphony. Finally, George studied music theory at the New England Conservatory of Music.

George Lawrence Stone’s heritage in the world of drumming extends farther back than one generation. An uncle on one side of his family played a drum in the Civil War, and a great-grandfather on the other side of his family drummed as a minuteman in the Revolutionary War. George Stone eventually passed on the tradition to his own son, George Lawrence Stone, Jr.

George Lawrence Stone, Sr., joined the Musician’s Union at the age of 16, becoming its youngest member. In 1901, he got his first job as a musician, which consisted of playing for an afternoon dancing school session for $2.10. However, he soon began playing quite frequently, while also working at his father’s shop. In 1910, he worked as a xylophonist on the Keith Vaudeville Circuit. He also played in the percussion pits of the Palace, the Tremont, and the Park. As a timpanist and bell soloist, he played in the Boston Festival Orchestra under Emil Mollenhauer, and he played in the pit of Boston’s Colonial Theater under Victor Herbert. In an article for the March 25, 1947 Bulletin of the National Association Of Rudimental Drummers, Stone wrote about his experiences in working with both men. “Playing under Victor Herbert is a never-to-be-forgotten memory. He was a most exacting leader and his drum parts HAD TO BE PLAYED. Somebody once told me that he had a brother who was a drummer. If so, Mr. Herbert must have forgotten about brotherly love when he wrote that xylophone part in his Fortune Teller . . . . I learned to ‘take it’ from Boston’s Emil Mollenhauer, one of the great conductors of oratoria. With the manner of a she-bear about to be deprived of her cubs, he drove his musicians with a most stern baton. When he criticized he spared not the tongue. As I write this, some forty years after my first experience under this conductor, the sensitive muscles of my stomach quiver ever so slightly as I recollect the outraged glare of those eyes and the out-thrust of that truculent lower lip when I inexpertly juggled the percussive thoughts of one of the great masters. I resented harsh criticism then, but now look back gratefully upon it, for through it I was being given the best of all lessons—those of actual experience—and being paid, in the bargain.”

Additionally, Stone worked with Stewart’s Boston Band, Walter Smith’s Broadcasting Band, the Aleppo Temple (Shriner’s) Band of Boston, and various concert and broadcasting orchestras. He was with the First Corps of Cadets, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, where he played drums rudimentally. In 1910, George was one of the drummers at the debut of the Grand Opera in Boston. He was a member of the Boston Opera Orchestra for five years, where he performed under such conductors as Caplet, Moranzoni, Conti, Weingartner, and Goodrich. Also in 1910, while in Chicago with the Boston Opera Company, he met Bill Ludwig. Bill and his brother Theobald were breaking into the manufacturing business at the time. George obtained the Eastern agency for their original Ludwig pedal, which was a fiber footboard pedal. This began their friendly business relationship.

Stone turned down a three-year contract with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a trip around the world with John Phillip Sousa and his band, due to the ill health of his father. George Lawrence was kept busy overseeing the factory, where 23 workers were employed. During World War I, they supplied military drums to the U.S. Government. In addition to working in the family business and the aforementioned positions as a performer, Stone wrote columns for various publications. He wrote the Technique Of Percussion column for International Musician. He also wrote for Jacob’s Orchestra Monthly, beginning in 1911. At first, he collaborated with his father on these articles. However, when George Burt Stone died in 1917, George Lawrence continued this column on his own. Furthermore, he was the column coordinator for both Jacob’s Orchestra Monthly and Jacob’s Band Monthly.

Stone became the head of his father’s drum factory, a principal of the Stone Drum and Xylophone School of Boston, a radio artist, and a lecturer on music appreciation. Ralph Eames recalls his lessons with Stone. “Personally, I studied with Mr. Stone for several years, starting at the time that I was 12 years old. One of his characteristics in teaching was that he would never go to the second lesson until you had mastered the first one. He taught modern drumming as well as rudimental drumming, but was principally known for his expertise as a rudimental drummer and instructor.”

Much of Stone’s fame as a rudimental authority came from the fact that he was one of the original members of the NARD (National Association of Rudimental Drummers), and later served as its president for 15 years. In a 1947 article, Stone wrote of his involvement with this group: “While in a way I was one of its organizers, NARD is first and altogether the brain-child of Bill Ludwig [Sr.]. It was he, who during the 1933 A.L. Convention held in Chicago corralled 13 well-known drummers into the Lyon & Healy building and induced them to show their wares. This they did (and how!) for ten hours, stopping then at 4:30 A.M., only because they got fired out. It was Bill who had first, the vision to foresee and second, the ability to put into being an organization which has done more to cement the members of the drumming fraternity into an intimate group of brothers, dedicated to a common cause, than any agency I have ever known.”

A couple of years later, another significant event took place, as evidenced by the following announcement which appeared in the December, 1935 issue of Leedy Drum Topics: “Geo. Lawrence Stone, famous Boston drummer who conducts the country’s largest drum school at 61 Hanover St., Boston, Mass., is now offer- ing a new book of drum technique (not rudiments) which will definitely improve one’s drumming by a series of exercises for the sticks. Any drummer, regardless of what type of work he does, will benefit by using this book. It is called ‘Stick Control’ and has the endorsement of many leading drummers as being unique in the field and a very wonderful means for improving a drummer’s ability. Those interested in this new text may secure it by writing to Mr. Stone direct at the address mentioned above. The cost of the book is $1.50.”

It is interesting to note that, at the time, it seemed necessary to mention that the book was not about rudiments. Indeed, one of the primary reasons for Stick Control’s continued use is the fact that its exercises can be applied to any style of music. And where did Stone come up with the idea for such an innovative book? Ralph Eames once asked him, and Stone replied that the book was modeled after the Arban Trumpet Method—a book that Stone often used with his xylophone students. Stone eventually combined the ideas from the Arban book with Slick Control, resulting in Stone’s book called Mallet Control.

The publication of Stick Control made Stone even more in demand as a teacher, and professional drummers such as Gene Krupa, Sid Catlett, George Wettling, and Lionel Hampton sought out Stone’s expertise and advice. Another notable Stone student was Joe Morello, who began studying with Stone at the age of 16. According to Morello, “Every lesson was a joy to go to. There was always something very interesting going on. If you did something wrong, he had a way of letting you know about it, but without belittling you. In other words, he’d tell you and be very strong about it, but it was never in a put-down kind of way. He was a very gentle kind of man, and he had a good sense of humor.

“For two or three years, I went for a lesson just about every week, and then every other week. When I started working and traveling a lot, I naturally couldn’t go, but I’d stop in to see him when I was in Boston. He’d cancel all his students, and we would just rap. He was a very inspiring, jovial, and energetic kind of guy, but he had a certain calm about him. He had a way of bringing out, in me anyway, some of the best.”

Morello, in return, did his part to inspire Stone. Joe was going through Slick Control with Stone, but Morello was never one to be content with taking things at face value. “I would get ideas and change things,” Morello laughs. “For example, on the first three pages I would add accents to the exercises. Mr. Stone always seemed to like the things I was doing.” Stone liked them so much, in fact, that he used some of Morello’s ideas for the basis of his book Accents And Rebounds, which he dedicated to Morello.

Stone frequently suggested that Morello write a book himself, but Morello wanted Stone to be involved. “I asked him to collaborate with me,” Morello explains, “and he agreed. I started working on some ideas, based on his exercises, but I was on the road by that time, and before we were able to get together on it, Mr. Stone died.” Morello eventually finished the book himself (Master Studies). It contains many of Stone’s original exercises, along with Morello’s ideas for expanding those technical studies.

Around the same time that Stone was becoming even more well known as a teacher through the publication of his books, the George B. Stone & Son drum manufacturing business was on a decline. “When mechanization hit the drum industry,” explains Ralph Eames, “it sort of passed Mr. Stone by. His business was primarily a handmade operation, and he didn’t want to convert to the equipment that would have been necessary for him to compete with companies like Ludwig, Slingerland, and Gretsch. So the business gradually petered out.” The factory closed for good in the late ’30s, and the equipment was idle until 1950. Then, Ralph Eames asked Stone if he could buy the drum-making equipment from him. “I had a drum shop of my own, where I gave lessons and repaired drums. I wanted to get into the manufacture of drums, so I approached Mr. Stone about buying his equipment. He said, ‘I will give you a price; take it or leave it.’ In other words, there was going to be no bargaining. I accepted his price and used that equipment to begin the manufacture of Eames drums.” Today, Eames shells continue to be made on the equipment purchased from George Lawrence Stone.

Stone continued to be active as a teacher through the ’40s. One of his notable students during that time was a young man from Maine named Vic Firth, who recalls his lessons with Stone. “Mr. Stone was a droll Yankee type, but a very sweet man. He was a guy who always had a twinkle in his eye. His secretary used to maintain his schedule. If you went in for an hour lesson and didn’t come out in an hour, she would go in there and tell him that the next one was waiting. If you didn’t pay, he never knew the difference, but she’d grab you as you were going out the door.

“His real forte was teaching drums. Stone put a great deal of emphasis on the Stick Control book and on developing technique. He was probably one of the first technique builders of the teachers. He had a fine technique, and he felt it was terribly important to make music. You can be a sculptor by virtue of owning a hammer and chisel, but you don’t really sculpt anything until you have the technique to do it. You just have tools, but you have to have something to go along with that. That was his theory. Before you can do something ‘shapely’ in music, you’ve got to have the hands to do it with. Stone had the ability to develop technique in even an untalented person.”

One of Stone’s methods for checking a student’s technique involved the use of carbon paper. He described it in a 1959 article for International Musician: “The carbon paper method of reproducing drumbeats has long been a part of the teaching equipment at the Stone School, it is a simple device for giving a pupil a visualization—a picture of a rudiment or a figure that he has played and, often, how he has played it. The carbon paper check-up is quite simple to operate. Just lay a sheet of white paper on a desk or table-top, place a sheet of carbon paper inked side down on top of this, put a pair of drumsticks into your pupil’s hands, and he is ready to go. Direct him to execute a rudiment or roll on the carbon; lift the carbon off, and there it is—his drumming signature on the paper before him!” Joe Morello remembers being given the “carbon test” to check the number of rebounds he was getting in a buzz roll.

Berklee faculty member Les Harris studied with Stone for two years in the late ’40s. He recalls that Stone had a unique way of signaling to students that they had made a mistake. “George chewed tobacco and always had a spittoon beside him. If you were playing something in your lesson and you made a mistake, you could hear that squirt of tobacco into the spittoon. He’d stop you sometimes in the middle of a lesson if you hadn’t practiced, and just tell you to go home and prepare. He’d also tell you that, if you didn’t have it by the next week, you shouldn’t bother coming back. He was very strict, but it was all kind of a prearranged strictness.

“He had a method of teaching where he put splints on your wrists, so you wouldn’t have any wasted motion with them, and you wouldn’t get any curvature there. He’d tape your fingers to the sticks in the correct way that you were supposed to hold the sticks. By the time you started a lesson, it looked like you came out of the hospital with all the splints and bandages on your hands. That was the way you practiced all week—with those splints and bandages on your hands to make sure that you got the correct hand positions.

“He also taught the rudiments in levels. Take a paradiddle for example. Your left hand was two inches and your right hand was 12 inches. Your right hand would come down on the first beat and stop at two inches without coming up and down. He called that wasted motion. Then your left hand would come up and stop at approximately 12 inches. You really developed a great pair of hands with George. He wasn’t a jazzer, but he really gave you the ability, the hands, and especially the technique to get around a set of drums. He was a great teacher.

“George always went with the idea that you should develop your hands, reading, and the ability to get around the set, and then apply that to whatever you want to apply it to, whether it be rock ‘n’ roll or country & western. He’d have you practice paradiddles and rudiments on a pillow that didn’t have any bounce. He’d have you practice tight, squeezing the heck out of those sticks. Sometimes in the course of a lesson, he’d make a grab for your stick. If he could pull that stick out of your hand while you were playing, he’d really lay into you because you were supposed to be holding those sticks tight enough so that, at any moment, he couldn’t pull them out of your hand. His motto was, ‘Practice tight, so that you can play loose.’ It really worked.”

Being a performer, teacher, author, and drum manufacturer wasn’t enough for this man of many talents. George Stone was an invited member of the American Drummers Association, and a rudiment expert of the percussion committee of the National Band Association. In 1940, Stone received the Gold Drum, which was awarded to only a few drummers for outstanding accomplishments. It was presented to him at the World’s Championship Drumming Contest, held at the New York World’s Fair.

George Lawrence Stone died at the age of 81 on November 19, 1967; his wife passed away two days later. He had four daughters and one son, George Lawrence Stone, Jr., who died 32 days after his father. Writing about Stone’s death in the Ludwig Drummer, William F. Ludwig, Sr., summarized this great man’s contribution: “George was always helpful to everyone—his motto was ‘Service before self.’ And that is the way he treated any drummer or student that asked for help. May he rest in the satisfaction that he did his best for the percussion field for many, many years.”

 

Selected Writings Of George Lawrence Stone

Here is a collection of excerpts from Stone’s column, “Technique Of Percussion,” which ran in International Musician during the ’50s and early ’60s. These articles not only showed Stone’s great knowledge about a variety of subjects, but also demonstrated his sense of humor.

Drumming In Two Easy Lessons

A reader writes: “A brother drummer claims that there are only two rudiments in drumming, the single stroke and the double stroke, and that these are all you have to know. Is this right?”

Yes, reader, it’s right as far as it goes. Tell the brother there are only twenty-six letters in the alphabet, and that’s all he has to know, until he finds out they have to be strung together in some sort of way before they make sense.

That Light Touch On The Drumhead

The ability to lay a pair of sticks down onto a drumhead at lightning speed together with accuracy and withal, at whisper-softness, is supposed to be a “gift” possessed by but a few of the favored ones in the upper echelons of art drumming. I’ll go further, and say that this ability definitely is a gift which few possess.

The reason is simple: not many of the practicing gentry are far-seeing or willing enough to devote a portion of their daily practice period to the development of beats in which volume is toned down to a whisper.

The average eager beaver has a pair of lusty arms just aching to bang those sticks down onto the drumhead or any striking surface at hand, at break-neck speed with all the power he can muster. He is speed-crazy, and has no interest in the many niceties of light and shade. To quote an old wheeze, to him the dynamic mark pp means pretty powerful.

To be sure, speed is a must in many types of playing encountered today and power, also, is often so considered. But these two elements fall far short of representing the sum total of the technical equipment required by the modern drummer—musician-drummer, that is. There are innumerable instances wherein this individual is required to play his part with the same finesse and skill as that of the other players. And this is acquired only through adequate preparation, not alone on the practice pad, but on the drumhead itself.

Quiet Please

Well up front among the factors which contribute gray hairs to the school bandmaster’s head is that of EXTRANEOUS ISSUES—that thousand-and-one conglomeration of “notes” which do not appear in the score. Distractions are, unfortunately, part and parcel of any public performance . . . .

Little can be done about many of these distractions . . . . But there are some extraneous additions to the average concert that can be avoided, and since drummers, by the very nature of the instruments they juggle with, are apt to be the worst offenders, my observations will be largely confined to the “hardware department.”

Public Enemy No. 1 is THE DROPPER. This guy, provided he crashes the Pearly Gates, will not be given a harp to play in St. Peter’s Celestial Band. He will not even be given a drum. They will give him a basket! He is the villain who drops his drumsticks during a piannissimo passage . . . who, after playing the triangle, drops the beater on a wooden chair, thus accenting a silent measure in his drum part . . . who, if he plays the bells piano, can be depended on later to drop his mallets on the bell barsforte. These “concussionists” add unasked-for notes to the score and deepen those furrows in the bandmaster’s forehead.

HARRY OF THE HEAVY HAND is another offender. When he picks something up he grabs it, and when Harry grabs an article it stays grabbed. Everyone knows when Harry plays the tambourine; he has it in his hand measures before its proper entrance time and, under his awkward manipulations, each little jingle loudly rings its message to the world. Harry always manages to play before, during and after what the composer, in his ignorance, thought was the proper time.

Joe Fingers

The following is an old-timer from my private collection of practice routines, this one designed to develop speed plus endurance of the left (or weaker) hand. (For the lefty it should be practiced with his weaker hand, which is the right.)

This is dedicated to Joe Morello, for it was one of his favorites when studying here at The Stone School.

Slow practice is indicated at first, with wrist action alone. Finger action is added when faster speeds are reached. Endurance is developed by going through the set of ten exercises many times each and finally, on a non-stop basis; that is, by going in this way from one number to another without a pause for, say, thirty minutes.

Two-Beat Roll VersusThe Buzz

“Why do some teachers and instruction books stress practice of the long roll in the ancient two-beat style and ignore the finer grained buzz roll used by so many drummers in their everyday playing today?”

Questions along these lines have been received from several readers, one in particular . . . who continues: “These teachers brand anything texturally finer than the two-beat as a fake roll, and look down on its use. I have heard this so-called fake roll played to advantage not only in jazz combos but in other types of music as well, even in symphonic playing, where one would least expect to hear fake drum- ming.

“Don’t you think that if a style of drumming is worth its use, it is worth its practice and recognition?”

In answer, don’t look at me in that tone of voice, brother, for in this matter I am with you 100 per cent. I will add that since 1929, . . . I have, in teaching, writing for various periodicals and in clinics waved my arms and banged my typewriter to emphasize the importance of the buzz (sometimes called press or crush roll) and justify its use in modern drumming. Why? Because it is a natural extension of our traditional two-beat roll, not merely a good enough or get by device to take its place ….

The origin of the drummer’s roll—our long tone—dates back many years. Originally and exclusively it was of the two-beat variety and was intended to be beaten on a giant-sized drum with giant sticks as a time-beater for the steps of marching soldiers. Invariably rolls under such circumstances were coarse and powerful, and here buzzing would have been as out of place as pink tea at a lumberman’s picnic

Through the intervening years, new developments in music and in drumming have come into existence one by one. New and different instruments have been introduced into our percussion section. These in themselves have called for innovations, new techniques; and one of the latter has been the buzzing of the roll.

Roll Versus Sandpaper

Today the all round drummer finds use for as many degrees of coarseness and fineness in his rolls as there are in sandpaper, with each degree dedicated to its particular purpose and type of drum. While it is agreed that the pure, two-beat roll comes first in rudimental importance and still is the preferred roll of the professional, modern drumming, especially on a wire-snared drum of today, played with sticks of toothpick size, more often calls for a finer, smoother roll, said to resemble “the patter of raindrops on a tin roof” or “the tearing of a piece of silk cloth.”

Swat The Fly

Answering several recent inquiries about the origin of jazz brushes, alias fly swatters, alias sink cleaners, these have been with us for better than forty-seven years. But not all this time have they been put to use by drummers. According to the records, they were originally patented under the name “fly killer,” with the purpose, as the name implies, of exterminating or at least reducing the fly population.

The same wires were sheathed and unsheathed in the same cylindrical casing as of today, by a sliding metal button situated at about the center of the casing, and they sold, I believe, for one thin dime apiece.

It was years later when some of us lit on the possibilities of this item being used to swat the drumhead. The first instance of such use might well have been a misguided dab at a fly lighting on a drumhead and the ensuing delighted surprise at the sound evoked. No one has come forward, however, to claim the honor of actually discovering the gadget’s role in drumming. However, here in the East, it was I, George Lawrence Stone, who was truly the pioneer of swat, and I’ll tell you how this came to pass.

I had discovered the calibre of the new sounds produced from merely wiping one brush across the drumhead while swatting down and around with the other, and for months I demonstrated this new and exciting method to all who would listen. However, the consensus of opinion of those who bothered to listen was that “Stone is beginning to lose his marbles.” However, you can’t keep a good idea down, and finally, through the years, jazz brushes have caught on to the extent that today’s modern would feel lost without this now-so-important tool of his trade.

The Wheat From The Chaff

An eager seeker after more light on the whys and wherefores of percussion states he collects books and literature on drumming subjects as some people do postage stamps. However, he beats his breast in despair over the conflict of opinion apparent in the writings of various drum authorities.

Don’t let it disturb you, brother. Conflict, or difference of opinion, is and always will be with us and it is only through the aforementioned that a meeting of minds on any given subject will finally, we hope, be achieved. Get information on your favorite subject from all sources, brother drummer, then separate the wheat from the chaff, as they say up-country, and settle for whatever meeting of minds you may detect.