One great addition to Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs' Foggy Mountain Boys occurred in 1949, with the addition of a mandolin player and tenor singer named Curly Seckler. Seckler would remain with Flatt & Scruggs until 1962. During this time, they recorded well over 100 songs and many still consider the 1950's Flatt/Seckler duets to be some of the best bluegrass music performances ever. Here is a video that I wanted to share, that which I do not own, that will give an idea.
Bluegrass music's Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys were hired by Martha White in 1953. At the onset, this bluegrass band was pretty much unknown. This would soon change as they were hired to travel across the southern U.S. in the "Martha White Bluegrass Express" to promote the company's flour and cornmeal. The "Worlds's Greatest Flour Peddlers" performed at many local concerts, on Nashville's early morning radio show and as hosts of the Flatt and Scruggs television program - all sponsored by Martha White. With all this came increasing popularity which took them to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and on to Carnegie Hall. "Goodness Gracious!!" I don't own video.
Howard Watts, mostly known by his stage name Cedric Rainwater, replaced "Cousin Wilbur" Wesbrooks as the bass player in Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in 1944. Fiddle player Chubby Wise had introduced Cedric Rainwater to Bill Monroe; as the two had played together in Florida before moving to Nashville, TN. Watts would leave and rejoin Bill Monroe several times over the next four years; although he would continue to play on all of Monroe's recordings during this time. He sang bass and baritone harmonies, along with playing the bass. These recordings were dated 2/13/1945, 9/16 & 9/17/1946, 10/27 & 10/28/1947 and 7/6/1951....which included the classic bluegrass music lineup of Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Chubby Wise, Cedric Rainwater and Bill Monroe. Cedric Rainwater left Bill Monroe in 1948 to join the newly formed group of Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys. He stayed with this group until 1950. He would go on to perform in country music with Hank Williams, Ray Price, Hank Snow, Ferlin Husky and also the "King" of bluegrass music Jimmy Martin.
One of the most well-known bluegrass music lead singers is Lester Flatt. You can ask alot of bluegrass music lovers who their favorite singers are and it's a safe bet to say that you will hear the name Lester Flatt more often than not. I found a video that I wanted to share with you. I don't own this video. I'm only sharing it with you. After listening to it, you can decide for yourself. Lester Flatt is on my list. Lester is joined in this video with another bluegrass great, Mac Wiseman.
I have been talking about bluegrass music but I hadn't got around to telling why I'm such a fan of this genre of music. I would have to say that alot of it came from me actually growing up around the music. I have an uncle and aunt who formed a bluegrass music band in the late 1980's. This band that I'm talking about is known as Big Country Bluegrass. I can remember many times as a kid going to the local fire department on a Saturday night and listening to them with my grandparents. As the years passed, this small local band made their way from this local fire department in the late 1980's all the way to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in July 1999. They earned this honor by winning the 100th anniversary Martha White jingle contest. Big Country Bluegrass is often nominated for various SPBGMA awards. That story reminded me of a story that was told in a very popular song that Big Country Bluegrass recorded a couple of years ago. This song, entitled The Boys in Hats & Ties" was written by Tom T. and "Miss Dixie" Hall; along with Don Rigsby. This song plays tribute to the "who's who" of traditional bluegrass music: Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, Carter and Ralph Stanley....all whom paved the way for bluegrass music. The original idea for this song come up with in a conversation between Miss Dixie and Don Rigsby. Miss Dixie had stated that: “Don was considering doing a concept album of super-tradition, a salute to the boys who wore the hats and ties. That in itself was a magic title and it ended up being basically the true tale of Tom T. as a child being taken to see Earl and Lester!” If you listen close, you will hear a "hint" of the Martha White jingle that took Big Country Bluegrass to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. As for me, since back in my childhood, I have been a bluegrass music enthusiast. Although I can't play any instruments or hold a tune in a bucket, there's something about that high lonesome sound and tight instrumentation that trips my trigger. Until next time.... (Videos do not belong to me..only for entertainment purposes)
Robert Russell "Chubby" Wise (October 2, 1915 - January 6, 1996) began playing fiddle at age 15. He started out by playing locally around the Jacksonville, Florida area. In 1938, Chubby Wise joined the Jubilee Hillbillies and began playing for bluegrass music pioneer Bill Monroe in 1942. He would continue playing in Monroe's band through 1948. After leaving Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, he played with Clyde Moody in 1948-49. Wise would also play with Flatt & Scruggs, Connie B. Gay and the York Brothers. Chubby Wise would become a member of Hank Snow's Rainbow Ranch Boys in 1954. He remained with Hank Snow until 1970. Along with this, he worked as a session musician with Red Allen and Mac Wiseman, among others.
I'm hoping to have a couple of posts coming up about the "Original Bluegrass Band" of Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys. This lineup featured Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Chubby Wise and Cedric Rainwater back in 1945. I had talked about Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs before; but I'm going to gather up some information on Chubby and Cedric and have posted on here soon. Thanks for reading my blog about bluegrass music. I hope you find it informative and an enjoyment to read. You are more than welcome to leave a comment to let me know how I'm doing and what you would like to see different. I'm new at blogging; but I enjoy sharing my interests with others about my love for traditional bluegrass music.
Posted by J. Holdaway
In 1938, after breaking up with brother Charlie Monroe, Bill Monroe formed his own band. He named is band the. Bill joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1939. He remained a member until his death in 1996. For over 50 years, being a Blue Grass Boy was a crowning achievement for many musicians. Many of the Blue Grass Boys would go on to form their own bands. Some notable mentions would be: The Stanley Brothers, The Osborne Brothers and Flatt & Scruggs. List of Blue Grass Boys
Posted by J. Holdaway
Labels: Bluegrass Music
One might wonder what exactly defines traditional bluegrass music. As is the case with country music, bluegrass music's sound and style has changed since Bill Monroe first recorded "Blue Moon of Kentucky" alongside Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. Most think of two types when thinking of bluegrass. It's either traditional or progressive. I am personally very much partial to the sounds of traditonal bluegrass music. You can call me old-fashioned I guess. The progressive style of bluegrass music is just too "jazzy" for my taste and I love the "High Lonesome Sound" that just isn't heard in today's progressive bluegrass music. Traditional bluegrass musicians usually play folk songs on acoustic instruments. They may use their instruments in different ways. A couple of examples of this could be using two fiddles or maybe playing "claw-hammer" banjo. But, they still keep that tradtional sound! The guitar rarely will take the lead in traditional bluegrass music except for the bluegrass gospel songs. Most traditional bluegrass musicians won't even consider the newer "progressive" bluegrass music to be "real" bluegrass.
Posted by J. Holdaway
Labels: Bluegrass Music