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A Birth of Country 1

A YouTube History of Music

Bluegrass Music

Group & Last Name Index to Full History:


Tracks are listed in chronological order by year, then alphabetically.

Listings do not reflect proper order by month or day: later oft precedes earlier.

Not on this page? See history tree below.



Red Allen

Norman Blake
John Carson    Vassar Clements
Lester Flatt
David Grisman
John Hartford    Roscoe Holcomb
Grandpa Jones
Dave Macon    Wade Mainer    Jimmy Martin    Bill Monroe
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Osborne Brothers    Brother Oswald
Eck Robertson    Peter Rowan
Earl Scruggs    Skillet Lickers    Fiddlin' Arthur Smith    Stanley Brothers
Tennessee Ramblers
Doc Watson    Chubby Wise    Mac Wiseman

Orange Blossom Special



Featured on this page loosely in order of first recording if not record release (as possible).

Names are alphabetical, not chronological, per year:



Eck Robertson

1923 John Carson
1924 Dave Macon
1926 Skillet Lickers
1928 Tennessee Ramblers
1935 Wade Mainer    Fiddlin' Arthur Smith
1936 Bill Monroe
1939 Brother Oswald
1943 Grandpa Jones
1945 Chubby Wise
1946 Lester Flatt    Earl Scruggs
1947 Stanley Brothers
1948 Osborne Brothers
1949 Mac Wiseman
1950 Vassar Clements    Jimmy Martin
1953 Red Allen
1957 Frank Wakefield
1959 John Hartford
1960 Roscoe Holcomb
1961 Doc Watson
1962 Norman Blake
1963 David Grisman
1965 Peter Rowan
1967 John Hartford    Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

1939   Orange Blossom Special


  Bluegrass (not called that at its first) is one of the three major veins out of which country western developed, folk and swing (originating via early jazz) the other two. As it isn't always possible to distinguish between genres except artificially, if what you're seeking isn't on this page you might find it in one of the other Country categories at the bottom of this page. All the blending aside, bluegrass was hillbilly music which more emphasized instruments while folk more emphasized song. It was a subgenre of folk, went country western in the latter forties, became its own genre in the fifties as country western began flirting with rock.



Among the earliest "bluegrass" recordings are those by fiddler Eck Robertson (Alexander Campbell Robertson). Though not from Appalachia, nor "bluegrass" coming into usage as a term denoting hillbilly music until the fifties, Robertson yet fills a spot at the grass roots of bluegrass for reason of dexterity with his violin. Robertson something reflects the Caucasian version of the itinerate folk musician as distinguished from black folk musicians who worked the Mississippi Delta region. Born in 1887 in Delaney, Arkansas, Alexander "Eck" Robertson began playing fiddle at age five while living on a farm in the Texas panhandle. He was 16 when he left home to travel with a medicine show in Oklahoma. As a young man he worked as a piano tuner for the Total Line Music Company when not playing playing fiddle at silent film theaters with his wife, Nettie. He happened to meet Henry Gaillard, a 74 year-old fiddler, at an Old Confederate Soldiers Reunion in Richmond, Virginia, when both decided to go to New York City to record. Simple as that the pair acquired studio time with Victor, putting down four tracks on June 30, 1922: 'Arkansaw Traveler' saw issue on Victor 18956. 'Turkey in the Straw' was released on Victor 19149. 'Apple Blossom' and 'Forked Deer' went unissued. The next day on July 1 Robertson recorded six more tracks with Gaillard out and Nat Shilkret at piano on four of them. Of six tracks gone down four were issued: 'Sallie Gooden' (Victor 18956), 'Sally Johnson and Billy in the Low Ground' (Victor 19372), 'Ragtime Annie' (Victor 19149) and 'Done Gone', (Victor 19372). Per Tony Russell's 'Country Music Records', those were the last that Robertson put down until August 12 of 1929 in Dallas for five issued titles as A.C. Robertson & Family: 'Texas Wagoner' (Victor 40145), 'There's a Brown Skin Girl Down the Road Somewhere' (Victor 40145), 'Amarillo Waltz' (Victor 40298), 'Brown Kelly Waltz Part 1' (Victor 40334) 'Brown Kelly Waltz Part 2' (Victor 40334). His Family consisted of wife, Nettie, on guitar, his son, Deuron, on banjo, and his daughter, Daphne, on guitar. October of '29 saw several sessions for ten titles variously with his family, five issued: 'Great Big Taters'/'Run Boy Run' (Victor 40205), 'Brilliancy Medley' (Victor 40298) and 'The Island Unknown' Parts 1 & 2 (Victor 40166). Wikipedia cites him recording 100 lost titles in Dallas in September of 1940 for Jack Seller Studios. Robertson's career was spent as a fiddler might: dances, theatres, radio, fiddling conventions. Robertson died on February 15, 1975, in Amarillo, Texas.

Eck Robertson   1922  

   Sallie Gooden

     Composition: Traditional

Eck Robertson   1923  

   Ragtime Annie

     Composition: Traditional

   Turkey in the Straw

     Composition: Traditional


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Eck Robertson

Eck Robertson

Source: Old Weird America



Birth of Bluegrass Music: John Carson

Fiddlin' John Carson

Source: Bluegrass Messengers


Fiddler John Carson released a number of popular songs in the twenties, his first in 1923 below. Born in Georgia in 1868, Carson was ready to busk the streets of Copperhill at age eleven. Not a lot is known about Carson's life in his twenties, other than that he married in 1894. In 1900 he found work in a cotton mill in Atlanta, which is the sort of employment he kept for the next two decades while playing fiddle at contests and minstrel shows. He was 55 years of age when he first recorded in Atlanta on June 14 of 1923: 'The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane'/'The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster's Going to Crow' (Okeh 4890). Those deeming Carson to hold potential, he was sent to New York City to record twelve more titles on the 7th and 8th of November, all issued including such as 'When You and I Were Young, Maggie' (Okeh 40020) and 'Tom Watson Special' (Okeh 40050). Carson recorded nearly 150 sides during his lifetime, usually with a group called the Virginia Reelers or his daughter, Rosa Lee. Tony Russell's 'Country Music Records' gives his last recordings on February 28, 1934, in Camden, New Jersey, five of seven tracks issued: 'I'm Old and Feeble' (Bluebird 5959), 'Old and in the Way' (Bluebird 5959), 'Stockade Blues' (Bluebird 5447), 'Do You Ever Think of Me?' (Bluebird 5447) and 'Ain't No Bugs on Me' (Bluebird 5652). His crew on those consisted variously of Bill Willard (banjo), Moonshine Kate (guitar/vocals) and Marion Peanut Brown (guitar/vocals). He wrote more than 150 songs, though copyrighted only nine [Wikipedia]. Carson died on December 11, 1949, in Atlanta where he had been employed as an elevator operator during his latter years.

John Carson   1923

   Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane

     Composition: Minstrel by Will S Hays   1871

John Carson   1924

   I'm Nine Hundred Miles From Home

     Composition: Traditional

     First recorded version

John Carson   1928

   Ain't No Bugs On Me

     Composition: John Carson

John Carson   1929

   Didn't He Ramble

     Composition: Bob Cole/John Rosamond Johnson



Birth of Bluegrass Music: Uncle Dave Mason

Uncle Dave Macon

Source: Bob Dylan Commentaries

Like Carson, banjo player Uncle Dave Macon (the Dixie Dewdrop) was another hillbilly one might list under early folk music but for the skill that he demonstrated with his instrument, bluegrass (term not used until the fifties) a genre apart from folk not only as a matter of region (Appalachia) or style, but for it's emphasis on instrumentals. Bluegrass was first marketed as folk, then country western in the latter forties, then became its own genre in the fifties. Born in Smartt Station, Tennessee, in 1870, Macon began playing banjo at age fifteen, learning the instrument from a circus comedian. He was married in 1889, whence he is found farming. Around 1900 he formed The Macon Midway Mule and Mitchell Wagon Transportation Company, which he ran for twenty years, playing banjo as he hauled freight by mule. The invention of the automobile, however, eventually put him out of business in 1920. His first professional performance was at a church benefit in 1921. Stories differ as to how he was discovered in 1923. But it's certain he began touring for the Loews Theatres chain doing vaudeville. Macon first got together with fiddler, Sid Harkreader, in 1923 to tour the southeastern portion of the United States. In 1924 they headed to (where else for country music?) New York City to record a number of tracks. Going down on the 8th of July were solo titles by Macon. Per Tony Russell's 'Country Music Records' (CMR) in matrix order: 'Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy' (Vocalion 14848), 'Hill Billie Blues' (Vocalion 14904), 'Old Maid's Last Hope' (Vocalion 14850), 'All I've Got's Gone' (Vocalion 14904) and 'The Fox Chase' (Vocalion 14850). A session on the 9th witnessed 'Papa's Billy Goat' (Vocalion 14848) with four others unissued: 'Muskrat Medley', 'Old Ship of Zion', 'Just from Tennesee' and 'That High Born Gal of Mine'. Harkreader joined Macon on the 10th for six titles to issue: 'I'm Goin' Away to Leave You Love'/'(She Was Always) Chewing Gum' (Vocalion 14847) and 'Jonah and the Whale'/'The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane' (Vocalion 14864). Come the 11th for 'Bile Them Cabbage Down'/'Down by the River' (Vocalion 14849). [See also discogs.] Macon strung numerous titles in sessions three to several times a year after that into 1934, recording little afterward: one session in '35, one in '37, a couple in '38. Macon's first performance for the Barn Dance show on WSM radio in Nashville was October 15, 1925, only about a month after the program, which would begin to be called the Grand Ole Opry in 1927, began. (See DeFord Bailey in Blues 2 as to how Barn Dance became the Grand Ole Opry.) Macon would tour with Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs in the forties. It's said he wasn't real impressed by Scruggs, nor cared for the direction that the newer bluegrass in general was taking mountain country music [Wikipedia]. Howsoever, Macon died on March 22, 1952, eighteen years after what CMR lists as his last commercial name session on January 6, 1938, in Charlotte, North Carolina: 'Give Me Back My Five Dollars' (Bluebird 8325), 'Railroadin' and Gamblin'' (Bluebird 8325), 'Cumberland Mountain Deer Race' (Bluebird 7951), 'Johnny Grey' (Bluebird 8379) and 'The Gayest Old Dude That's Out' (Bluebird 8379). 7951 was later credited to the Carter Family in 1941 on Victor 27494. Macon recorded privately following those. Among others joining him on recordings were Kent McGee (vocals), Sam McGee (guitar), Mazy Todd (fiddle) and Smoky Mountain Glenn Stagner (guitar). Macon was the tenth inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966. In addition to songs below, he composed such as 'Down by the River' ('24) and 'Going Where the Sugar Cane Grows ('34).

Uncle Dave Macon   1924  

   Bile Dem Cabbage Down

     Composition: Dave Macon

   Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy

     Composition: Dave Macon

   Love Somebody

     Composition: Traditional

   Soldier's Joy

     Composition: Traditional

Uncle Dave Macon   1929  

   Over the Mountain

     Composition: William Scanlan   1882



Birth of Bluegrass Music: Gid Tanner

Gid Tanner

Source: Jukka Joutsi

Fiddler, Gid (Gordon) Tanner (b 1885) and the Skillet Lickers popularized "hillbilly" music in the twenties during the same period that the Carter Family (Country 2) took country the folk direction. Blind guitarist, Riley Puckett (b 1894), was a member of the Skillet Lickers, together with fiddler, Clayton McMichen (aka Bob Nichols b 1900), who also performed lead vocals. Bert Layne and Fate Norris (Charlie Norris, Faith Norris) were also early members. Before Tanner's Skillet Lickers he and Puckett both made their first recordings together on March 7, 1924. Most the titles on that date were for Puckett: 'Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane' (Columbia 107), 'Knoxville Girl' (reject), 'Johnson's Old Grey Mule' (Columbia 150), 'Old Joe Clark' (Columbia 15033) and 'Casey Jones (Columbia 113). Puckett backed Tanner on 'Boll Weevil Blues'/'I'm Satisfied' (Columbia 15016). Puckett and Tanner recorded variously together until joined by McMichen. McMichen had made his debut recordings with his Home Town Band in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 7 of 1925: 'Bully of the Town' (Okeh 45034), 'Sweet Bunch of Daisies' (Okeh 40445), 'Silver Bell' (Okeh 40445) and 'Alabama Jubilee' (Okeh 45022). Norris and Tanner first recorded together as the Georgia Boys on October 3 of 1925: 'Old Time Tunes'/'Just Gimme the Leavings' (Columbia 15059). Tony Russell's 'Country Music Records' (CMR) has the first Skillet Lickers session with all the aforementioned on April 17, 1926, for eight issued titles like 'Hand Me Down My Walking Cane' (Columbia 15091) and 'Turkey in the Straw' (Columbia 15084). With the Skillet Lickers now launched, Tanner then held a session with Norris aka Faith on April 20 to yield 'S-A-V-E-D'/'Where Did You Get That Hat' (Columbia 15097) and 'Goodbye Booze' (Columbia 15105). McMichen recorded under the pseudonym of Bob Nichols with Puckett on April 22. He supported Puckett on 'I'm Driftin Back to Dreamland' (Columbia 15095), followed by Puckett backing him on 'My Carolina Home' (Columbia 15095). The Lickers disbanded in 1931 after titles like 'Miss McLoud's Reel'/'Whistlin' Rufus' (Columbia 15730) in Atlanta on October 24. Reuniting in 1934, latter March in San Antonio saw their last of several tracks: 'Prosperity and Politics' 1 & 2 (Bluebird 5446) and 'Practice Night with the Skillet Lickers' 1 & 2 (Bluebird 5559). Tanner recorded no more after that, though he remained active at such as fiddle competitions until his death on May 13, 1960, in Dacula, Georgia. His grandson, Phil, keeps the Skillet Licker name yet alive in Dacula. As for McMichen, he moved onward with his Georgia Wildcats formed in 1931 upon the Skillet Licker's demise. He recorded extensively for several years with such as Slim Bryant, Kent Norton, Jerry Wallace and Carl Cotner until what CMR lists as last sessions in NYC on June 1, 1939. The second session was with Wallace at banjo and Bryant on guitar for five sets of three titles each. First up were 'Turkey in the Straw', 'Old Hen Cackle' and 'Fiddler's Dram' (Decca 2647). Set 6 wrought 'Devil's Dream', 'Rickett's Hornpipe' and 'Fisher's Hornpipe' (Decca 2649). Wikipedia has McMichen settling in Louisville, Kentucky, after that, performing until retirement in 1955. He played occasionally after that, such as at the Newport Folk Festival in '64. He died on January 4 of 1970 in Battletown, Kentucky. Among his compositions were 'My Carolina Home', 'Dear Old Dixie Land', 'Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia' and 'Georgiana Moon'. As for Puckett, the more famous of Skillet Lickers' personnel, he moved onward to a highly distinguished career touring between the Midwest and the East Coast, eventually to settle in Georgia. After the Lickers last session he recorded a couple of unissued tracks with both McMichen and Tanner in October of '31. A session in between on the 29th resulted in his solos: 'East Bound Train/Careless Love' (Columbia 15747) and 'Twenty-One Years/'All Bound Down in Prison' (Columbia 15719). CMR has his first session afterward on the same date as the first Skillet Lickers reunion session on March 29, 1934. Of numerous titles gone down that day for the Skillet Lickers were such as 'Georgia Wagoner' (Bluebird 5433) and 'Hinky-Dinky-Dee' (Bluebird 5633). Of the seven tracks Puckett recorded that day for himself six were issued: 'Careless Love' (Bluebird 5532), 'Chain Gang Blues' (Bluebird 5818), et al. Puckett recorded extensively after that to as late as October 2, 1941 for such as 'Where the Shy Little Violets Grow' (Bluebird 8989), ''In a Little Garden' (Bluebird 33-0500) and, last in the set, 'Railroad Boomer' (Bluebird 8989). Puckett died a few years later on July 13, 1946, in East Point, Georgia.

Riley Puckett   1924

   Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane

      With Gid Tanner

      Composition: Will S Hays   1871

Georgia Boys   1925

   Old Time Tunes

      With Fate Norris

Skillet Lickers   1926

   Hand Me Down My Walkin' Cane

      Composition: James Bland   1880

   Dance All Night With a Bottle In Your Hand

      Composition: Traditional

   Farmer's Daughter

      Composition: Traditional

   The Girl I Left Behind Me

      Composition: See Wikipedia

   Pass Around the Bottle

   Ya Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dog Aroun'

Skillet Lickers   1928  

   Cotton-Eyed Joe

      Composition: See Wikipedia

   The House Carpenter

Skillet Lickers   1931  


      Composition: See Wikipedia

Skillet Lickers   1934  

   Hawkins Rag

      Composition: Ted Hawkins

Clayton McMichen   1939  

   Soldier's Joy/Arkansas Traveler/Mississippi Sawyer

Riley Puckett   1941  

   Railroad Boomer

      Composition: Carson Robison   1930


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Riley Puckett

Riley Puckett

Source: Find a Grave


The Tennessee Ramblers recorded in 1928, '29 and '30, documentation and matrices for Vocalion for the latter year lost. The Ramblers were a string band based in Tennessee, not to be confused with the Tennessee Ramblers of North Carolina, a country western band (Country 3). The Ramblers consisted of Fiddlin Bill Sievers (b 1875), James Mack Sievers (son b 1904) on banjo and Willie Sievers Wiggins (daughter b 1909) at guitar. Bill was a barber when not performing music. Walter McKinney, Bill's cousin, played steel guitar with the Ramblers and appeared on their 1929 session. The Ramblers were formed in 1922. As they toured they performed at radio stations in Tennessee and Ohio. In latter February of 1928 the Ramblers trio recorded six sides in Ashland, Kentucky, put together as 'Arkansas Treveler'/'Cackling Pullet' (Brunswick 225), 'A Fiddler's Contest/'Satisfied' (Brunswick 257) and 'The Preacher Got Drunk and Laid Down His Bible'/'Medley of Mountain Songs' (Brunswick 259). The '29 session also in Ashland saw six titles issued as 'Rambler's March'/'Give the Fiddlers a Dram' (Vocalion 5362), 'Garbage Can Blues'/'Tennessee Traveler' (Vocalion 5378), 'Hawaiian Medley' (Vocalion 5394) and 'My Dear Old Sunny South (Vocalion 5398). Per above, a session in Knoxville in 1930 is lost ['Country Music Records' Tony Russell]. Though the Ramblers ceased recording they were far from finished as a group. McKinney departed in 1931, replaced by mandolin player, Jerry Taylor. As they toured the Southeast they were joined by JT Jones in 1938. The group disbanded upon Bill's death in 1956, after which Mack and Willie formed Mack's Novelty Hawaiians. That group, for which Joe Adkins played drums, performed locally in Knoxville into seventies.

Tennessee Ramblers   1928

   Cackling Pullet

      Composition: Traditional


      Composition: Traditional

   Preacher Got Drunk and Laid His Bible Down

      Composition: Traditional



Banjo player Wade Mainer first recorded with his brother, fiddler, Joseph Emmett, in 1935 with the J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers. Born in Weaverville, North Carolina, in 1907, Mainer worked in cotton mills before joining his brother's band in 1934. Russell's 'Country Music Records' has his first session with Emmett's Mountaineers on August 6 of 1935 to put down eleven tracks in Atlanta, Georgia, beginning with 'Ship Sailing Now'/'This World Is Not My Home' (Bluebird 6088) and 'Maple on the Hill'/'Take Me In the Lifeboat' (Bluebird 6065). Emmett's Mountaineers in that session were Zeke Morris (guitar) and Daddy John Love (guitar). Mainer continued with the Mountaineers on numerous tracks to 1939. In the meantime he had begun recording his first name titles in duets shared with Zeke Morris in Charlotte, North Carolina, on February 14, 1936: 'Come Back to Your Dobie Shack' (Bluebird 6551), 'Just as the Sun Went Down (Bluebird 6383), 'What Would You Give in Exchange' (Bluebird 8973) and 'A Leaf from the Sea'/Brown Eyes' (Bluebird 6347). Five more tracks went down with Morris the next day, including Part 2 of 'Maple on the Hill' ('Driftin' to That Happy Home' (Bluebird 6293). Six more duets went down on June 15. October 12 saw tracks in a trio with Homer Sherrill (fiddle). Come more duets on February 16 of '37 before a trio with Steve Ledford (vocals)on August 2. It was Mainer's Smilin' Rangers on the same date, he and Morris variously joined by Robert Buck Banks (guitar), Morris Buddy Banks (vocals) and an unknown guitarist on four tracks including 'Ramshackle Shack'/'Memory Lane' (Bluebird 7274). Four more titles went down the next day with the unknown guitarist out. Mainer led his first session with the Sons of the Pioneers on January 27, 1938, with titles like 'Lonely Tomb'/'All My Friends' (Bluebird 7424) and 'Pale Moonlight'/'Don't Get Too Deep in Love' (Bluebird 7483). That grouping consisted of Steve Ledford (fiddle), Clyde Moody (guitar) and Jay Hugh (guitar). Julia Mainer (wife) sang 'Where Romance Calls' (Bluebird 7753). Ledford and Mainer led another session with Moody and Hugh on September 26 with Julia out and others uncertain to yield numerous titles like 'Farther Along/'She Is Spreading Her Wings for a Journey' (Bluebird 8023). [See also Praguefrank's 1, 2.] Mainer performed often for radio shows, increasing record sales, and was invited to play the White House in 1942. In 1953 Mainer moved with his wife to Flint, Michigan, where he took employment with General Motors from which he retired in 1973. A devout Christian, Mainer dropped out of the music business and stopped playing banjo, though he and his wife continued to sing gospel for church purposes. Eventually reconsidering that banjo was not an instrument of sin, Mainer began playing it again in 1961, recording and touring with his wife as well. Like Uncle Dave Macon above, Mainer was a bridge between old mountain music and what would become bluegrass via the influence of such as Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs. Mainer died on September 12, 2011, 104 years old. Among Mainer's numerous compositions were such as 'He's Passing This Way' and 'God's Radio Phone' in '51, 'Standing Outside' and 'I'm Not Looking Backward' in '52, 'On the Banks of the Ohio' and 'My Home Is Down in Dixie' in '61, and 'Don't Write to Mother Too Late' and 'No Place to Lay Your Head' in '62. Songwriting credits to some of Mainer's earlier recordings on 78 RPM.

Wade Mainer   1935

   Seven and a Half

      With Joseph Emmett Mainer

      Composition: Traditional

Wade Mainer   1936

   I'll Be a Friend of Jesus

      With Zeke Morris & Homer Sherrill

      Composition: Johnson Oatman   1922

Wade Mainer   1937

   Goin' to Georgia

   Train 45


      Wade Mainer/Zeke Morris/Steve Ledford

Wade Mainer   1941

   Old Ruben

Wade Mainer   1944

   Sparkling Blue Eyes

      Composition: Billy Cox

Wade Mainer   1953

   Little Birdie

      Composition: Traditional

Wade Mainer   1971

   Wild Bill Jones

      Composition: Wade Mainer

Wade Mainer   1989

   Crick In the Water

      Live with Julia Mainer

   I Can't Sit Down

      Live with Julia Mainer


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Wade Mainer

Wade Mainer

Source: Find a Grave


Mandolinist Bill Monroe was born near Rosine, Kentucky, in 1909. it was 1929 when Bill joined his brothers, Birch and Charlie, at a Sinclair oil refinery, also putting together a band with them [*]. Bill, Charlie, Birch and Larry Moore formed a quartet, leaving Bill and Charlie a mandolin and guitar duo when Birch and Moore quit the group. The Monroe Brothers strung along their first duets on February 17, 1936, in Charlotte, NC, putting down ten titles from 'My Long Journey Home'/'Nine Pound Hammer Is Too Heavy' (Bluebird 6422) to 'What Would You Give in Exchangge'/'The World Is Not My Home' (Bluebird 6309). [See Praguefrank's which uses Russell's 'Country Music Records' (CMR).] CMR has Bill and Charlie recording sixty tracks together for Victor's Bluebird label between 1936 and '38, the year they went their different ways. CMR shows their last session on January 28, 1938, also in Charlotte, to yield ten tracks from 'Have a Feast Here Tonight/'Goodbye Maggie' (Bluebird 7508) to 'A Beautiful Life'/'When Our Lord Shall Come Again' (Bluebird 7562). Charlie went on to form the Monroe Boys with Zeke Morris and Bill Calhoun. Bill formed a group called the Kentuckians which lasted only three months before putting together the Blue Grass Boys, the band after which the whole musical genre of bluegrass would be named. It was 1939 when Monroe debuted on the Grand Ole Opry show. CMR picks them up on October 7, 1940, in Atlanta, GA, recording eight titles to include 'Mule Skinner Blues' (Bluebird 8568), 'No Letter in the Mail' (Bluebird 8611) and 'Cryin' Holy Unto My Lord' (Bluebird 8611). That configuration with Monroe at guitar included Tommy Magness (fiddle), Clyde Moody (mandolin) and Willie Westbrooks (bass). [See Praguefrank's 1, 2.] It was March of 1943 that Chubby Wise joined the Blue Grass Boys, the same month as Lester Flatt in 1945. Earl Scruggs signed on in December the same year [*]. Their contributions to the group were key to its development and success until 1948, when Flatt and Scruggs left to form the band, the Foggy Mountain Boys. The Bluegrass Boys were a hot potato, though by the late fifties mainstream country music, not to mention rock and roll, were putting the squeeze on bluegrass. The folk revival in the early sixties, however, put air in its sails again, which is when Monroe began being called the "father" of what started to be commonly called bluegrass. The compilation, 'The Music of Bill Monroe from 1936 to 1994' was issued by MCA in 1994. Monroe died on September 9, 1996, four days before his 85th birthday. Among his numerous awards was induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970, a Grammy for 'Southern Flavor' in 1988 and, oddly enough, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 as an early influence [*]. Among Monroe's earlier compositions were 'Mule Skinner Blues' ('40), 'Wicked Path of Sin' ('46), 'I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky' ('47), 'Along About Daybreak ('49), 'Kentucky Waltz' ('54), 'Good Woman’s Love' ('57) and 'Wayfaring Stranger' ('58). Highlighting the seventies was the issue of 'Bluegrass Memories' in 1977, seven of its tracks written by Monroe. Monroe later composed such as 'My Last Days on Earth' ('81), 'The Days Gone' ('88), 'Southern Flavor' ('88), 'Stone Coal' ('88) and 'Sugar Loaf Mountain' ('88). Songwriting credits for titles released on 78 RPM and 45 RPM. See also secondhandsongs 1, 2. See allmusic and secondhand songs for compositions by Monroe covered by others.

Bill Monroe   1936

   New River Train

      Composition: Traditional

      First recorded: Henry Whitter   1924

      Copyrighted by Maggie Andrews in 1936

      (Maggie Andrews is a pseudonym for Carson Robison)

Bill Monroe   1940

   Mule Skinner Blues

      Composition: Bill Monroe

Bill Monroe   1942

   Orange Blossom Special

      Fiddle: Art Wooten

      Composition: Ervin Rouee   1938

      First recorded November 18, 1938:

      Roy Hall & His Blue Ridge Entertainers *

      First issued recording by the Rouse Brothers 1939

Bill Monroe   1946

   Blue Moon Of Kentucky

      Composition: Bill Monroe

   Heavy Traffic Ahead

      Composition: Bill Monroe

Bill Monroe   1947

   Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong

      Composition: Lester Flatt/Bill Monroe

Bill Monroe   1950

   Brakeman's Blues

      Composition: Jimmie Rodgers

Bill Monroe   1951

   Highway of Sorrow

      Composition: Bill Monroe/Pete Pyle

Bill Monroe   1952

   I Hope You Have Learned

   Sugar Coated Love

      Composition: Audrey Butler

Bill Monroe   1953

   Get Up John

      Composition: Bill Monroe

Bill Monroe   1954

   I'm Working On a Building

      Composition: Traditional

   A Voice From On High

      Composition: Bessie Maudlin/Bill Monroe

   Y'all Come

      Composition: Arlie Duff

Bill Monroe   1955

   Brown County Breakdown

      Composition: Bill Monroe

   Tall Timber

      Composition: Bill Monroe

Bill Monroe   1956

   Uncle Pen

      Composition: Bill Monroe

Bill Monroe   1962

   Bugle Call Rag


      Billy Meyers/Jack Pettis/Elmer Schoebel

      Album: 'Bluegrass Ramble'

Bill Monroe   1966

   Live In Madison

Bill Monroe   1973

   Mule Skinner Blues

      Composition: Bill Monroe


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Bill Monroe

Bill Monroe

Source: DC Metro


It was New Year's day, 1939, that Beecher Ray Kirby joined the Grand Ole Opry with Roy Acuff's band. Other members would soon be calling him Bashful Brother Oswald. Recording for the first time on July 5, 1939, with Roy Acuff, though Brother Oswald was a banjo, guitar and slide guitar wizard he played Dobro, a resonating guitar, as well. ("Dobro" is a contraction of the "Dopyera brothers" who invented the instrument in 1928, "dobro" meaning "goodness" in their native Slovak. The Dopyeras would own Dobro throughout most the history of country music, not acquired by Gibson until 1997.) Born in Sevier County, Tennessee, in 1911, it was 1934 when Oswald joined Acuff's band, the Crazy Tennesseans, later to become the Smokey Mountain Boys. He began to be called Brother Oswald in order to feign familial relationship with singer, Rachel Veach, making her place in the band more embraceable by audiences. Oswald was with the Smokey Mountain Boys per above on July 5, 1939, to record such as 'Haven of Dreams' (Vocalion 05244), 'Answer to the Sparkling Blue Eyes' (Vocalion 05041), et al. The next day saw such as 'A Vagabond's Dream' (Vocalion 05041), 'Old Age Pension Check' (Vocalion 05344), etc.. Oswald remained with the Smoky Mountain Boys until Acuff's death in 1992. In the meantime, after 25 years with Acuff he ventured a second solo career in 1962 upon releasing the album, 'Bashful Brother Oswald'. His second album didn't arrive until 1972: 'Brother Oswald'. He also appeared on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken' in 1972. About eight albums later Oswald released his last, 'Carry Me Back', in 1995. He died on October 17, 2002, in Madison, Tennessee. As a pioneer of the Dobro, he played the instrument on such as 'Old Age Pension Check', 'Wreck on the Highway', 'Precious Jewel', 'The Wabash Cannonball', 'Fireball Mail' and 'The Great Speckled Bird'. For who like Dobro, Oswald also appeared on the 1994 collection of Dobro performances by various, 'The Great Dobro Sessions'. Acuff composed all titles below except as indicated (* = undetermined).

Brother Oswald   1939

   Old Age Pension Check

      With Roy Acuff

Brother Oswald   1940

   Precious Jewel

      With Roy Acuff

Brother Oswald   1964

   Black Smoke*

      Live performance

   Columbus Stockade Blues

       Live performance

      Composition: Tom Darby/Jimmie Tarltor

   Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad

       Live performance

      Composition: Traditional

Brother Oswald   1972

   Dobro Chimes

      Composition: Brother Oswald

Brother Oswald   1995

   Mountain Dew*

Brother Oswald   1999

   Precious Jewel

   Stuck Up Blues

      Composition: Jim Anglin


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Brother Oswald

Brother Oswald

Photo: Jim McGuire

Source: Jim McGuire

Birth of Bluegrass Music: Grandpa Jones

Grandpa Jones

Source: Find a Grave


Born Louis Marshall Jones in Niagara, Kentucky, in 1913, banjo/guitar player Grandpa Jones (Louis Marshall Jones) first recorded in 1943 with guitarist Merle Travis. It was 1943 when he, Travis, Alton Delmore and Rabon Delmore formed the group, Brown's Ferry Four, to perform gospel music [1, 2]. That group wouldn't record, however, until 1946. It was about that time that Jones recorded his first name titles backed by Travis as Bob McCarthy in September of '43: 'The Steppin' Out Kind'/'You'll Be Lonesome Too' (King 500). That wasn't issued until October of '45 per 45Worlds. Those are thought to be producer, Syd Nathan's, initial matrices for the label he founded, King Records. It was Jones supporting Travis as Bob McCarthy on the next two matrices 003 and 004: 'When Mussolini Laid His Pistol Down/Two-Time Annie' (King 501), which 45Worlds has released in November of '43, making those the first issues by King Records. It was Jones backed by Travis again in January of 1944 for 'It's Raining Here This Morning'/'I'll Be Around If You Need Me'. 45Worlds has Nathan issuing those in December the same year. Jones and Travis laid more tracks in later '44 both together and apart. Among those issued in '45 per 45Cat and 45Worlds were 'I'll Never Lose That Loneliness for You'/'That's a Grave in the Way' (King 508), second versions of 'The Steppin' Out Kind'/'You'll Be Lonesome Too' (King 513) and 'Don't Sweet Talk Me'/'Maybe You Will Miss Me When I'm Gone' (King 517) [See also *]. Travis had headed to California in latter '44, Jones to find himself in Army in 1945. His next recordings were circa March of 1946 when all concerned gathered in California to record Brown's Ferry Four: 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken'/'Just a Little Talk With Jesus' (King 530), et al. Jones also spread several titles of his own in California circa March: 'Get Things Ready'/'East Bound Freight Train' (King 545) and 'Darling Won't You Love Me Now'/'Heart Sealin' Mama' (King 575). Jones hung with Brown's Ferry Four for several years as all but Travis headed back to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry where Jones performed on radio. Brown's Ferry Four held their final session on August 28 of 1952 for 'When the Redeemers Are Gathering', 'Praise God! He Loves Everybody', 'You Must Be Born Again' and 'What Shall I Do with Jesus'. Jones recorded extensively for King Records, RCA Victor and Monument. King released the album, 'Strictly Country Tunes', in '59. His next LP followed in 1962: 'Make the Rafters Ring'. Jones became a member of the cast of the television show, 'Hee Haw', in 1969, performing with the Hee Haw Quartet for a couple of years. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1978. Discogs has Jones leading or co-leading above thirty albums to 'Farm & Home Hour' in 1985 with Travis. Jones died on February 19, 1998 in Nashville, Tennessee. Jones did a lot of composing during his career. He wrote such as 'It's Raining Here This Morning' ('44), '8 More Miles to Louisville' ('46), 'East Bound Freight Train' ('46), 'Old Rattler's Treed Again' ('48), 'Hello Blues' ('56) and 'Falling Leaves' ('59). Compositional credits for titles issued on 78 RPM and 45 RPM. Others who've covered a few of his compositions at secondhandsongs.

Grandpa Jones   1943

   When Mussolini Laid His Pistol Down

      Backing Merle Travis

      Composition: Jim Anglin

Grandpa Jones   1944

   It's Raining Here This Morning

      Composition: Grandpa Jones

Grandpa Jones   1945

   You'll Be Lonesome Too

      Composition: Syd Nathan?

Brown's Ferry Four   1946

   Rockin' on the Waves


      Grandpa Jones/Alton Delmore/Rabon Delmore

      Bass: Red Foley

      Composition: Arthur Sebren

Grandpa Jones   1947

   Mountain Dew

      Composition: Bascom Lunsford/Scotty Wiseman

   Old Rattler

      Composition: Traditional

Grandpa Jones   1952

   Old Rattler's Son



Rather the obverse of mining and trucking, country music more representing the trucker and miner than those industries, so did country more represent the railroad industry (: the train) than the railroad laborer in general. Nevertheless, fiddler, Chubby Wise,  began his career in 1930 at age fifteen, playing local gigs in Jacksonville, Florida. He is thought to have first recorded per several titles as Russell Wise for the Library of Congress in September of 1936 at Cherry Lake Farms in Madison, FL: 'Train Blues', 'Mocking Bird', 'Chicken Reel', etc.. He was recorded by Margaret Valiant and joined by Mr. White on guitar. Issues of those eleven tracks are unknown. His authorship of 'Orange Blossom Special' with Ervin Rouse in 1938 is both accepted and contested, the preponderance of authorities in the latter camp. Nevertheless it was first recorded without issue for Vocalion by Roy Hall & His Blue Ridge Entertainers on November 18, 1938 [*]. It was first recorded to issue by the Rouse Brothers (Gordon and Jack duo) on June 14, 1939 (Bluebird 8218), made famous in 1942 by the Blue Grass Boys with Art Wooten at fiddle, and reached to #3 on Billboard's Country chart for Johnny Cash in 1965. (The Rouse Brothers consisted variously of Earl, Gordon, Irvin and Jack, first recording in June of 1936.) 1941-42 found Wise in Gainesville, FL, with the Jubilee Hillbillies, radio WRUF among their gigs. Wise joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in March of '43 replacing Howard Forrester who had joined the Navy. He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry the same year. His first identified session with the Blue Grass Boys was also Monroe's first for Columbia per February 13, 1945, at radio WBBM in Chicago: 'Rocky Road Blues', 'Kentucky Waltz', et al. Wise appeared on all of the Blue Grass Boys's recordings for Columbia, performing with the band into 1948, moving on to Clyde Moody's gang in 1948-49. In 1954 he joined Hank Snow's Rainbow Mountain Boys with which he remained until 1970. Snow produced Wise's first album, 'Tennessee Fiddler and the Rainbow Ranch Boys', issued in 1962. Discogs lists 22 more to 'In Nashville' in 1994. Others with whom Wise recorded through the years include Hank Williams Sr., Red Foley, Ernest Tubb, Eddy Arnold, Merle Haggard, Hylo Brown, Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman, Red Allen, Hazel & Alice, Charlie Moore, Larry Sparks, the Good Old Boys and the Bass Mountain Boys [*]. Wise died on January 6, 1996, 80 years old. Songwriting credits to some of Wise's titles issued on 45 RPM.

Chubby Wise   1936

   Chicken Reel

      Library of Congress   Issue unknown

      Music: Joseph Daly   1910

      Lyrics: Joseph Mittenthal   1911

Chubby Wise   1948

   Bluegrass Breakdown

      With the Blue Grass Boys

      Composition: Bill Monroe

Chubby Wise   1962

   Memphis Blues

      With the Rainbow Mountain Boys

   Peacock Rag

      With the Rainbow Mountain Boys

   Smoky Mountain Waltz

     With the Rainbow Mountain Boys

Chubby Wise   1971

   Lee Highway Blues

      Live performance

      Composition: G.B. Grayson/Henry Whitter   1929

   Orange Blossom Special

      Live with Mac Wiseman

      Composition: Ervin Rouee   1938

      First recorded November 18, 1938:

      Roy Hall & His Blue Ridge Entertainers *

      First issued recording by the Rouse Brothers 1939

Chubby Wise   1973

   Cacklin' Hen

      Composition: Traditional

Chubby Wise   1994

   Westphalia Waltz

      Live performance

      Composition: Cotton Collins


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Chubby Wise

Chubby Wise

Source: Banjo Hangout


Born in Duncan's Chapel, Tennessee, in 1914, Lester Flatt, guitarist/mandolinist and vocalist, is found with Charlie Scott's Harmonizers in Roanoke, Virginia, at age 21. He played with Clyde Moody and Jim Hall in the early forties before joining Charlie Monroe's Kentucky Pardners from '43 to '45. He shifted over to Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in '45. Praguefrank's picks him up therewith on September 16 and 17 with Earl Scruggs (banjo), Chubby Wise (fiddle) and Howard Watts (bass) in Monroe's gang. Issued from that session in 1946 per Discogs was 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky' flip side to 'Goodbye Old Pal' (Columbia 20370). (The latter gone down in February of '45 with Wise in the session, but not Flatt). Titles issued from the Sep 16 session the next year in '47 were 'Mansions For Me'/'Mother's Only Sleeping' and 'Blue Yodel No. 4'. 'Heavy Traffic Ahead' and 'Toy Heart' saw release in '49. The next day (17th) saw 'Will You Be Loving Another Man' issued flip side to 'Blue Yodel No. 4' in '47. 'How Will I Explain About You' also saw record shelves in '47. Praguefrank shows Flatt with Monroe to latter 1947, reuniting in '57, '61, '73 and '74. More than recordings emerged from Flatt's membership in Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. He and Scruggs ventured out on their own to form the Foggy Mountain Boys in 1948, which group enjoyed great popularity until disbanding in 1969. Praguefrank's begins their sessions per November of '48 for issues in '49: 'God Loves His Children'/'I'm Going to Make Heaven My Home' (Mercury 6161) and 'We'll Meet Again Sweetheart'/'My Cabin In Caroline' (Mercury 6181). They released their first of eleven LPs [per Discogs] ten years later in 1959: 'Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs and The Foggy Mountain Boys'. As Wikipedia comments, Flatt and Scruggs parted company in 1969, they heading different musical directions, Flatt preoccupied with bluegrass and musical roots, Scruggs liking to experiment with more contemporary fare, such as performing with King Curtis and covering recordings by Bob Dylan [*]. Praguefrank's shows last sessions on August 21 and 22 in Nashville, their last set consisting of 'Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance' and Tonight Will Be Fine'. Titles on those dates went toward their last album, 'Final Fling'. Upon parting ways Scruggs went on to form the Earl Scruggs Revue, while Flatt to reshape the Foggy Mountain Boys into a group called Nashville Grass with which he remained until his death of heart failure on May 11, 1979, in Nashville. Discogs has Nashville Grass good for nine albums from 'Flatt Gospel' in 1975 to 'Fantastic Pickin'' issued in 1979. Flatt was inducted into the Country music Hall of Fame in 1985 and International Bluegrass Hall of Fame on 1991. Flatt and Scruggs both contributed numerous compositions to their repertoire, both in collaboration and individually. Flatt had written such as 'Why Don't You Tell Me So' ('49), 'Bouquet in Heaven' ('50) and 'I'll Never Shed Another Tear' ('61). Compositional credits to issues on 45 RPM at 45Cat 1, 2. See also Discogs 1, 2, All Music and Bluegrass Museum. Compositions by others that Flatt and Scruggs covered at SecondHand Songs.

Lester Flatt   1946

  Blue Moon of Kentucky

       With Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys

      Composition: Bill Monroe

Lester Flatt   1951

   I'll Just Pretend

      With Earl Scruggs

      Composition: Jessie Mae Martin

  Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms

      With Earl Scruggs

      Composition: Charlie Monroe

Lester Flatt   1961

   Old Salty Dog Blues

       With Earl Scruggs

      Composition: Traditional

      First recorded by Papa Charlie Jackson 1924

Lester Flatt   1973

   Bluebirds Singing for Me

       Mandolin: Marty Stuart

      Composition: Mac Wiseman


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Earl Scruggs

Lester Flatt

Source: Australian Bluegrass

Birth of Bluegrass Music: Earl Scruggs

Earl Scruggs

Photo: David Schenk

Source: KALW

Born near Boiling Springs, North Carolina, in 1924, phenomenal banjoist, Earl Scruggs, had opportunity to perform with the Morris Brothers at age fifteen. It fell to greater necessity, however, for him to be employed at a textile mill in North Carolina from 1939 to 1945 in support of the World War II effort. That paid 40 cants an hour. Per Wikipedia, his return to music that year occasioned performing at WNOX radio in Knoxville, Tennessee. He joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys at age 21. That paid $50 a week, a decidedly better deal than the factory all around. Praguefrank's has him recording with the Blue Grass Boys on September 16 and 17 of 1946 with Lester Flatt (guitar), Chubby Wise (fiddle) and Howard Watts (bass). Issued from that session in 1946 per Discogs was 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky' flip side to 'Goodbye Old Pal' (Columbia 20370). (The latter gone down in February of '45 with Wise in the session, but not Scruggs). Titles issued from the Sep 16 session the next year in '47 were 'Mansions For Me'/'Mother's Only Sleeping' and 'Blue Yodel No. 4'. 'Heavy Traffic Ahead' and 'Toy Heart' saw release in '49. The next day (17th) saw 'Will You Be Loving Another Man' issued flip side to 'Blue Yodel No. 4' in '47. 'How Will I Explain About You' also saw record shelves in '47. Praguefrank shows Scruggs with Monroe to latter 1947, reuniting in 1983. More than recordings found existence from Scrugg's membership inMonroe's Blue Grass Boys. He and Flatt ventured out on their own to form the Foggy Mountain Boys in 1948, which group enjoyed considerable popularity until dissolving in 1969. Praguefrank's begins their sessions per November of '48 for issues in '49: 'God Loves His Children'/'I'm Going to Make Heaven My Home' (Mercury 6161) and 'We'll Meet Again Sweetheart'/'My Cabin In Caroline' (Mercury 6181). They released their first of eleven LPs [per Discogs] ten years later in 1959: 'Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs and The Foggy Mountain Boys'. As Wikipedia comments, Flatt and Scruggs parted company in 1969, they taking different musical paths, Flatt preoccupied with bluegrass and traditional music, Scruggs liking to experiment with more contemporary fare, such as performing with King Curtis and covering recordings by Bob Dylan [*]. Praguefrank's shows last sessions on August 21 and 22 in Nashville, their last set consisting of 'Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance' and Tonight Will Be Fine'. Titles on those dates went toward their last album, 'Final Fling'. Upon parting ways Flatt went on to reshape the Foggy Mountain Boys into a group called Nashville Grass, Scruggs forming a group called the Earl Scruggs Revue, running that outfit for eleven years before going solo. Scruggs was inducted into the Country music Hall of Fame in 1985 and International Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 1991. He died on March 28, 2012, of natural causes in Nashville. Flatt and Scruggs composed numerous titles both collaboratively and individually. Among Scruggs' own were 'Earl's Breakdown' ('52), 'Flint Hill Special' ('54) and 'Lonesome Ruben' ('71). Scruggs' son is guitarist, Randy Scruggs, who began recording with Earl in the early seventies and contributed a number of compositions to Earl's catalogue through the years. Songwriting credits per the Foggy Mountain Boys. Per the Earl Scruggs Review see 45Cat 1, 2. See also Discogs 1, 2, Bluegrass Museum and All Music. Compositions by others that Flatt and Scruggs covered at SecondHand Songs.

Lester Flatt   1946

   Blue Moon of Kentucky

       With Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys

      Composition: Bill Monroe

Earl Scruggs   1948

   Foggy Mountain Breakdown

       With Lester Flatt

      Composition: Earl Scruggs

Earl Scruggs   1962

   The Ballad Of Jed Clampett

       With Lester Flatt   Vocal: Jerry Scoggins

      Composition: Paul Henning

Earl Scruggs   1968

   The Story of Bonnie & Clyde

       With Lester Flatt   Vocal: Jerry Scoggins

      Composition: Tom Hall

Earl Scruggs   1986

   Orange Blossom Special

      With Lester Flatt

     Live with Mac Wiseman

      Composition: Ervin Rouee   1938

      First recorded November 18, 1938:

      Roy Hall & His Blue Ridge Entertainers *

      First issued recording by the Rouse Brothers 1939

Earl Scruggs   2001

   Foggy Mountain Breakdown

       Live performance with Steve Martin

      Composition: Earl Scruggs


The Stanley Brothers consisted of Carter (b 1925) on guitar and Ralph (b 1927) on banjo, both born in Virginia. Their formed their first band, the Lazy Ramblers, for their first professional gig was at WJHL radio in Johnson City, Tennessee. But World War II put music on hold, both of them enlisting in the Army. Upon discharge from service they tried again, putting together the Clinch Mountain Boys in 1946 for an appearance at WCYB radio in Bristol, Tennessee. The Stanley Brothers held their first recording session at WOPI Radio in Bristol, Virginia, circa November 1947, stringing along 'Death Is Only a Dream' and 'I Can Tell You the Time'. 'Girl Behind the Bar'/'Mother No Longer Awaits Me at Home' were issued on December 20, 1947, on Rich-R-Tone 429 per Discogs. Joining the Stanley Brothers on those were Pee Wee Lambert (mandolin), Leslie Keith (fiddle) and Ray Lambert (bass). Come February of 1948 at WOPI with Ray out for 'Little Glass of Wine'/'Little Maggie' (Rich-R-Tone 423) and 'Jealous Lover'/'Our Darlings Gone' (Rich-R-Tone 435). Another session on an unidentified date in '48 yielded  'Molly and Tenbrook'/'The Ramblers Blues' (Rich-R-Tone 418). [See also 1, 2.] The Stanley Brothers toured the South, also making television appearances. Their debut album, 'Country Pickin' and Singin'', appeared in 1958. Being largely radio stars, they performed on WNER in Live Oak, Florida, from '58 to '62 on their 'Suwannee River Jamboree' radio program. They toured Europe in 1966. Unfortunately, despite their large repertoire of gospel music Carter was an extremely heavy drinker, Ralph the main force of the pair especially during their last year together. Carter eventually fell ill enough during a performance on December 1, 1966, in Kentucky to die of cirrhosis of the liver, only 41 years of age. Ralph, resuscitating the Clinch Mountain Boys, carried onward for several more decades. The Stanley Brothers had issued more than fifteen albums together, 'Jacob's Vision' and 'The Angels Are Singing' issued in 1966 prior to Carter's death. Discogs also has Ralph's first LP with the Clinch Mountain Boys issued in 1966: 'Old Time Music'. He and his Boys toured to Japan for 'Live in Japan' in 1986. Discogs lists 36 more Clinch Mountain Boys albums to as late as 'Can't You Hear the Mountains Calling' in 2009. Ralph led or co-led eighteen more apart from the Boys. 'Side By Side' was released with his son, Ralph Stanley Jr., in 2013. 'Man of Constant Sorrow' saw issue in 2015. Ralph died on June 23, 2016, in Coeburn, Virginia. Ralph Jr. carries forth the Clinch Mountain Boys to this day. Both Carter and Ralph contributed numerous compositions to their legacy. Carter had written such as 'The White Dove', 'The Fields Have Turned Brown' and 'The Old Home' for issue in '59. Ralph had composed such as 'I'm Lonesome Without You' ('53), 'Dickson County Breakdown' ('54) and 'So Blue' ('55). Songwriting credits for recordings issued on 78 RPM at 45Worlds 1, 2. Authorship to titles released on 45 RPM at 45Cat 1, 2. See secondhandsongs for compositions they covered and some of their own covered by others.

Stanley Brothers   1947

   The Girl Behind the Bar

      Composition: Carter Stanley

Stanley Brothers   1948

   Little Maggie

      Composition: Traditional

Stanley Brothers   1949

   A Vision of Mother

      Composition: Carter Stanley

Stanley Brothers   1958

   Live at Sunset Park

Stanley Brothers   1959

   Hymns and Sacreds


   Over in the Glory Land

      Music: Emmet Sidney Dean

      Lyrics: James Acuff


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Stanley Brothers

Stanley Brothers

Source: Bluegrass Today

Birth of Bluegrass Music: Osborne Brothers

Osborne Brothers

Source: Mark O'Connor

The Osborne Brothers were known for such as 'The Kind of Woman' ('67), 'Rocky Top' ('68) and 'Tennessee Hound Dog' ('69). Bobby Osborne (b 1931) played mandolin. Sonny Osborne (b 1937) played banjo. Both were born in Kentucky, growing up near Dayton, Ohio. Brothers Osborne also had a sister, Louise, with whom they made their first recordings in 1948, she aka Lou: 'Let Me Be Your Darling in Heaven'/'New Freedom Bell' (Kitty 502) and 'Television Saturday Night'/'Now You Have My Name' (Kitty 501) [1, 2]. Those were issued in November of 1951 [rocky52]. On August 27 of 1951 Bobby got together with Jimmy Martin for 'Blue-Eyed Darling'/'You'll Never Be the Same' (King 1037) issued in March 1952 [45worlds]. 'My Lonely Heart' and 'She's a Cute Thing' saw issue in 1978 on the compilation, 'Jimmy Martin and The Osborne Brothers'. Praguefrank's has Larry Richardson on at least one of those. Bobby was drafted into the military in 1952 to serve in the Marines. Praguefrank's has Sonny stringing along his first solo name titles without Bobby on an unidentified date in 1952 in Cincinnati, Ohio, resulting in such as 'Letter from My Darling'/'I'll Stay Around' (Kentucky 563) and 'The Old Home Town'/'Down The Road' (Kentucky 564), et al. Joining him on those were Carlos Brock (guitar), Enos Johnson (mandolin), Billy Thomas (fiddle) and Smokey Ward (bass). Come July 18 that year Sonny recorded with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys: 'In the Pines'/'Footprints in the Snow' (Decca ‎9-28416), 'The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake'/'Memories of Mother and Dad' (Decca 9-28878), et al. Sonny held further name and Monroe sessions until Bobby was released from military service to join him again as the Osborne Brothers with Jimmy Martin on November 16 of '54 in Nashville for 'Save It! Save It!'/'20/20 Vision' (RCA Victor 5958), 'Chalk Up Another One'/'I Pulled a Boo Boo' (RCA Victor 6037) and 'They Didn't Know the Difference'/'That's How I Can Count On You' (RCA Victor 6111). Also participating were Red Taylor (fiddle) and Howard Watts (bass). Sonny released his debut LP in 1956: '5 String Hi-Fi'. [*]. 1959 saw 'Country Pickin' and Hillside Singin'' by the Osborne Brothers with Red Allen. 1962 witnessed four albums, 'Bluegrass Music' and 'Bluegrass Instrumentals' among them. The Osborne Brothers were invited into the Grand Ole Opry in 1966 and played the White House in 1973. Their song, 'Rocky Top', was made the state song of Tennessee in 1982. Discogs finds them releasing above thirty albums to 'Hillbilly Fever' in 1995. They toured until 2004 when surgery prevented Sonny from performing on banjo again [*]. The Osborne Brothers were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 1994. Among Bobby's compositions were 'Bluegrass Express' ('64) and 'Shawnee' ('80). Among Sonny's were 'Siempre' ('69) and 'Bluegrass Concerto' ('79). Songwriting credits for titles released on 45 RPM. See also Discogs. Compositions covered by the Osborne Brothers at secondhandsongs.

Osborne Brothers   1951

   Let Me Be Your Darling in Heaven

       Recorded 1948 w Lou(ise) Osborne

      Composition: Bob(by) & Lou(ise) Osborne

   Now You Have My Name

       Recorded 1948 w Lou(ise) Osborne

   Television Saturday Night

       Recorded 1948 w Lou(ise) Osborne

Sonny Osborne   1952

   Letter from My Darlin'

      Composition: Bill Monroe

Osborne Brothers   1954

   20/20 Vision

       With Jimmy Martin

      Composition: Joe Allison/Milton Estes

Osborne Brothers   1956

   Ho Honey Ho

       With Red Allen

      Composition: Bobby Osborne/Tommy Sutton

   Ruby Are You Mad?

       With Red Allen

      Composition: Cousin Emmy

Osborne Brothers   1963

   Muleskinner Blues

      Composition: Jimmie Rodgers/George Vaughan

Osborne Brothers   1967

   Rocky Top

       Live performance

      Composition: Boudleaux Bryant/Felice Bryant

Osborne Brothers   1969

   You Win Again

      Composition: Hank Williams

Osborne Brothers   1979

   I Can Hear Kentucky Calling Me

      Composition: Boudleaux Bryant/Felice Bryant



Born in 1925 in Virginia, Mac Wiseman (Malcom Wiseman), upright bass and guitar, began his music career as a disc jockey for WSVA radio in Harrisonburg, Virginia, upon studying music at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music. He began his career as a musician playing upright bass for country singer, Molly O'Day. Wiseman first recorded soon after in 1948 with the Foggy Mountain Boys, formed that year by Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt upon leaving Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. Praguefrank's has that session in November for radio WROL in Knoxville, Tennessee. At guitars were Flatt and Wiseman, Scruggs on banjo, Jim Shumate at fiddle and Howard Watts on bass for three tracks: 'God Loves His Children' (Mercury 6161), 'I'm Going to Make Heaven My Home' (Mercury 6161) and 'We'll Meet Again Sweetheart' (Mercury 6161). Those were issued in 1949. October 22 of 1949 found him with Monroe's Blue Grass Boys on 'Can't You Hear Me Callin''/'Travelin' Down This Lonesome Road' (Columbia 20676). With Monroe at mandolin were Rudy Lyle (banjo), Chubby Wise (fiddle) and Jack Thompson (bass). He formed his own band the same year, his Country Boys, consisting of Ted Mullins (mandolin), Joe Medford (banjo), Ralph Mayo (fiddle) and Don Davis (bass). Praguefrank's has them at radio WCYB in Bristol, Tennessee, in 1950 for 'From the Manger to the Cross', 'A Broken Heart to Mend' and 'Grey Eagle', those getting issued in 1988 on the album by various, 'Live Again! WCYB-Bristol Farm and Fun Time'. Praguefrank's shows Wiseman's first name plates to issue gone down with his Country Boys on May 23 of 1951: 'Little White Church'/'I'm a Stranger' (Dot 1075) and ''Tis Sweet to Be Remembered'/'Are You Coming Back to Me' (Dot 1062). Wiseman's first 12" LP, ''Tis Sweet to Be Remembered', was issued in 1957 (preceded by 'Songs from the Hills' in the UK in 1956 on 10"). Wikipedia has him leading or co-leading above fifty more albums until his most recent, 'I Sang the Songs', in 2017. He had collaborated with Merle Haggard on 'Timeless' shortly before the latter's death in 2016. Wiseman was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Country Western Music Hall of Fame in 2014. Among Wiseman's compositions are 'Are You Coming Back to Me' ('51), 'I'm a Stranger' ('51), 'Darling Little Joe' ('66) and 'Since the Day You Went Away' ('75). Songwriting credits for releases on 45 RPM and compositions covered.

Mac Wiseman   1948

   I'm Going to Make Heaven My Home

      With the Foggy Mountain Boys

      Composition: Lester Flatt/Earl Scruggs

Mac Wiseman   1949

   Travelin' This Lonesome Road

      With the Blue Grass Boys

      Composition: Bill Monroe

Mac Wiseman   1950

   A Broken Heart to Mend

      Recorded 1950   Not issued until 1988:

      'Live Again! WCYB-Bristol Farm and Fun Time'

      Composition: Ted Mullins

Mac Wiseman   1951

   Little White Church

      Composition: Eugene Wellman

Mac Wiseman   1953

    Goin' Like Wildfire

      Composition: George Speedy Krise

Mac Wiseman   1955

   Keep on the Sunny Side

      Television performance


      J. Howard Entwisle/Ada Blenkhorn   1899

      Recorded by the Carter Family 1928

   Love Letters in the Sand

      Television performance

      Music: John Frederick Coots

      Lyrics: Charles Kenny/Nick Kenny

Mac Wiseman   1957

   Step It Up and Go

      Music: Blind Boy Fuller

      Lyrics: James Long Sr.

   Tis Sweet To Be Remembered

      Composition: Mac Wiseman

Mac Wiseman   1960

   Keep On the Sunny Side


      J. Howard Entwisle/Ada Blenkhorn   1899

      Recorded by the Carter Family 1928

Mac Wiseman   1965

   Maple Sugar Sweetheart

       Fiddle: Ward Allen

      Composition: Ward Allen

Mac Wiseman   1971

   The Bluebirds Singing For Me

       Live with Lester Flatt

      Composition: Mac Wiseman

   Sweet Heart You Done Me Wrong

       Live with Lester Flatt

      Composition: Lester Flatt/Bill Monroe

   I Still Write Your Name in the Sand

       Live performance

      Composition: Mac Wiseman

Mac Wiseman   2001

   Travelin' Blues

      Composition: Jimmie Rodgers   1931


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Mac Wiseman

Mac Wiseman

Source: CMT


Born in Kinard, Florida, in 1928, Vassar Clements, began to teach himself fiddle at age seven [Wikipedia]. He met Bill Monroe as a teenager and replaced Chubby Wise in the Blue Grass Boys in 1949. His first titles with Monroe went down on February 3, 1950. Those issued that year were 'Memories of You'/'Blue Grass Ramble' (Decca 9-46266), 'Mule Skinner Blues'/'My Little Georgia Rose' (Decca 9-46222) and 'Alabama Waltz'/'The Old Fiddler' (Decca 46236). 'The Old Fiddler' was from Clements' next session with the Blue Grass Boys on April 8 of 1950. The other two were 'I'll Meet You in Church on Sunday Morning' (Decca 9-46351) and 'Boat of Love' (Decca 9-46254). Clements remained with Monroe for the next six or seven years during which period he distinguished himself as a virtuoso. From '57 to '61 Clements performed with Jim and Jesse McReynolds. Praguefrank's has him on the first of two sessions with that outfit on December 7 of 1960 in Nashville for 'Stormy Horizons' (Epic ‎5-9508) and 'Gosh, I Miss You All The Time'/'The Flame of Love' (Columbia 4-41938). May 5 of 1961 saw 'Beautiful Moon of Kentucky'/'Diesel Train' (Columbia 4-42180) and 'My Empty Arms' (Epic ‎5-9508). Clements' debut LP, 'Arthur Smith and The Crossroads Quartet', was issued in '62. Several followed to his recording of 'The Dixie Gentlemen with Tut Taylor' on November 13 of 1966. The Gentlemen would reunite in '72 ('The Dixie Gentlemen Together Once More' '73) and '92 [*]. Settling in Nashville in '67, Clements spread tracks for the album, 'Southern Country Waltzes' ('70), in 1969 [1, 2]. Touring with Faron Young in the early seventies, he also performed with the Earl Scruggs Revue, then issued 'Crossing the Catskills' in '72, the same year he appeared on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 'Will the Circe Be Unbroken'. Clements released 'Hillbilly Jazz' in 1974. Performing in a variety of genres ranging from folk to jazz to rock, it was the Allman Brothers' 'Highway Call' in '74. 'Vassar Clements + John Hartford + Dave Holland' was issued in '85. 'Together at Last' with Stephane Grappelli ensued in '87. Come 'Once in a While' with Dave Holland and Jimmy Cobb in '92, 'Dead Grass' with the Grateful Dead in 1999. Clements also performed with such as Linda Ronstadt, Steve Martin (comedian) and Paul McCartney. His last of well above twenty albums, 'Livin' with the Blues', was issued in 2004, the year before Clements' final public performance in February 2005 in Jamestown, New York. Clements there died of lung cancer on August 6, 2005.

Vassar Clements   1950

   My Little Georgia Rose

       With the Bluegrass Boys

      Composition: Bill Monroe

Vassar Clements   1955

   Brown County Breakdown

       With the Bluegrass Boys

      Composition: Bill Monroe

   Tall Timber

       With the Bluegrass Boys

      Composition: Bill Monroe

Vassar Clements   1975

   Old and In the Way

       Album with David Grisman & Jerry Garcia

      Recorded 1973

Vassar Clements   1980


      Live performance   Composition: Miles Davis

Vassar Clements   2003

   Orange Blossom Special

      Live performance

      With Lester Flatt

     Live with Mac Wiseman

      Composition: Ervin Rouee   1938

      First recorded November 18, 1938:

      Roy Hall & His Blue Ridge Entertainers *

      First issued recording by the Rouse Brothers 1939

Vassar Clements   2004

   Phonograph Blues

     With Roy Rogers

      Album: 'Livin' with the Blues'

     Composition: Robert Johnson


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Vassar Clements

Vassar Clements

Source: Music Marauders

Birth of Bluegrass Music: Jimmy Martin

Jimmy Martin

Source: Bluegrass Today


Farmboy become guitarist, Jimmy Martin ("King of Bluegrass"), was born in Sneedville, Tennessee, in 1927. As a teenager he played guitar in a local band, later appearing on radio with Tex Climer and the Blue Band Coffee Boys [Wikipedia]. Martin was twenty-two when he snuck backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and got hired by Bill Monroe, replacing Mac Wiseman who had just left Montoe's band. Praguefrank's account of Monroe shows Martin joining the Blue Grass Boys on February 3, 1950, for titles recorded at the Tulane Hotel in Nashville: 'Memories of You'/'Blue Grass Ramble' (Decca 9-46266), 'Mule Skinner Blues'/'My Little Georgia Rose' (Decca 9-46222), et al. (He sings lead on tracks below with the Blue Grass Boys.) Remaining with Monroe until 1954, during that period he held joint sessions with Bobby Osborne on August 27 of '51 for 'She's Just a Cute Thing'/'My Lovely Heart' (King 995) and 'Blue Eyed Darlin''/'You'll Never Be the Same' (King 1037). Upon leaving Monroe, Martin briefly performed with the Osborne Brothers in '54. A session on November 16 yielded 'Save It! Save It!'/'20/20 Vision' (RCA Victor 5958), 'Chalk Up Another One'/'I Pulled a Boo Boo' (RCA Victor 6037) and 'They Didn't Know the Difference'/'That's How I Can Count On You' (RCA Victor 6111). Martin formed his band, the Sunny Mountain Boys, in 1955. Praguefrank's shows his initial recording session with that outfit on May 9, 1956. Issued in November that year were 'You'll Be a Lost Ball'/'Hit Parade of Love' (Decca 30118). 'Skip, Hop and Wobble' ensued in '57 (Decca 30493). 'Before the Sun Goes Down' saw release on Martin's first record album in 1960: 'Good n Country' (Decca 4016). 'Country Music Time' ensued in '62, 'This World Is Not My Home' in '63. 'Sings Widow Maker' appeared in 1964 to include the trucking tune, 'Widow Maker'. 1965 saw 'The Sunny Side of the Mountain'. Martin steadily issued one album each year up to 1974 (excepting 1971), after which his LP releases were less regular into the eighties [*]. Of note in the latter sixties was the addition of vocalist, Gloria Belle, to Martin's band. Praguefrank's has her initial recording session with Martin on May 2 of 1969 at Bradley's Barn in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, for tracks toward the album, 'Free Born Man'. She accompanied Martin to Japan in 1975. She is found with him to as late as the album, 'Me 'n Ole Pete', in 1978. Martin guested on television variously during his career, also making a number of appearances on 'Grand Ole Opry' though was never a member. Martin also contributed to all three volumes of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken' in '72, '89 and '02. He died of bladder cancer on May 14, 2005, in Nashville. Among Martin's numerous compositions are 'Leavin' Town' ('62), 'Tennessee' ('62) and 'Last Song' ('65), et al. Other songwriting credits at 1, 2 , 3. Composers covered by Martin at secondhandsongs.

Jimmy Martin   1950

   Boat of Love

      With the Blue Grass Boys

     Composition: James Smith

   River of Death

      With the Blue Grass Boys

     Composition: Bill Monroe

Jimmy Martin   1960

   Good n Country


Jimmy Martin   1964

   Widow Maker

      Composition: Penny Jay/Buddy Wilson

Jimmy Martin   1971

   Little Maggie

       Live performance

      Composition: Harold Donny/Jimmy Martin

   When the Savior Reached Down

       Live performance

      Composition: E.G. Wright   1948



Born in Hazard, Kentucky, in 1930, guitarist Red Allen (not to be confused with the jazz trumpeter, Henry James Red Allen) began to play professionally upon release from the Marines in 1952 with mandolinist, Frank Wakefield. Per Wikipedia Wakefield helped form the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys with Noah Crase at banjo that year. Allen first recorded in his own name with Crase on an unknown date in 1953 in Cincinnati, six of seven tracks issued as 'Paul & Silas'/'Preachin', Prayin', Singin'' (Kentucky 591), 'Bouquet in Heaven'/'Boat of Love' (Kentucky 592) and 'White Dove'/'Mansions for Me' (Kentucky 597) [1, 2, 3]. Joining them on that were Franklin Delano Claude Stewart (mandolin), Smokey Tindkerson (bass) and John McKee (fiddle). (If Franklin Delano Claude Stewart is a pseudonym for Franklin Delano Roosevelt Wakefield we don't know it. That is possibly the same Claude Stewart who issued 'New River Train'/'Sad and Lonely' [Cozy 288/289] in 1951 with the Tennessee Ramblers.) In February of 1956 Allen joined Sonny Osborne's Sunny Mountain Boys in Cincinnati on tracks like 'Jesse James' and 'Wildwood Flower' going toward Osborne's debut LP, '5 String Hi-Fi'. Osborne had first performed with Allen in 1954 upon Crase leaving Allen to join Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. Allen began featuring with the Osborne Brothers on his next session per July 1 of '56 yielding titles like 'Ruby Are You Mad?' (MGM 12308) and 'Who Done It?' (MGM 12383). Allen hung with the Osborne Brothers into 1958, contributing to the 1959 release of the Osborne Brothers's album, 'Country Pickin' and Hillside Singin''. Frank Wakefield had meanwhile released 'Camptown Races' with the Chain Mountain Boys in April of '57. Sometime in 1959 they got together with Red Spurlock (fiddle) to string along 'You'll Always Be Untrue' with 'Love and Wealth' (BMC 45-1002) as the Red Heads. In 1960 they put together the Kentuckians. Praguefrank's [above] has their first session with Don Reno (banjo), Chubby Wise (fiddle) and John Palmer (bass) in the band in November 1961 in Nashville for several titles, two issued that year: 'Trouble Around My Door'/'Beautiful Blue Eyes' (Starday 45-572). The Allen/Wakefield partnership is among the more notable in country music. They played Carnegie Hall in 1963, the year before issuing the LP simply titled, 'Bluegrass' (Folkways ‎2408). Upon Wakefield's departure from the band in 1965 to join the Greenbriar Boys the Kentuckians came to consist of Bill Emerson (banjo), Wayne Yates (mandolin), Chubby Wise (fiddle) and Bill Yates (bass). It was that configuration with which Allen issued the LP, 'The Solid Sound of the Kentuckians', that year. Allen would perform again with Wakefield into the seventies, but it was Yates who continued with Allen on mandolin on their next tracks on December 3, 1965, in New York City (where country western originated in its early days before Hollywood, out west, made it a genre largely via country swing). Titles went toward Allen's first of two volumes of 'Bluegrass Country' issued in '66 [which Discogs has typoed as 1963]. That had been produced by mandolin player, David Grisman, who then stepped in for Yates' with Porter Church (banjo) and Bobby Diamond (fiddle) in March of 1966 for radio transcriptions at WKCR to yield such as 'I'm Thing Tonight of My Blue Eyes' and 'Panhandle Country' [*]. Dick Grant at Praguefrank's [1 above] has those released that year per Storyville SRYP 1211 as 'Bluegrass Special: Red Allen Live'. Both Yates and Grisman saw future sessions with Allen before his first with another notable figure, James Dee Crowe (J.D. Crowe), who had begun his recording career on banjo twelve years earlier with Jimmy Martin in 1956. Joining Crowe in Allen's Kentucky Mountain Boys sometime in 1968 were Doyle Lawson (mandolin) and Robert Slone (bass) for 'Black Jack'/'You're Not Easy To Forget' (King Bluegrass 403) and 'We'll Meet Again Sweetheart'/'Pike County Breakdown' (King Bluegrass 404). Others with whom Allen performed and recorded were the Allen Brothers consisting of his sons Ronnie, Greg and Neal in the seventies and eighties. Allen led or co-led at least fifteen albums to 'Bluegrass Reunion' with David Grisman in 1992. He died on April 3, 1993. Among titles composed by Allen were a couple with radio disc jockey, Tommy Sutton: 'Teardrops in My Eyes' ('56) and 'It Hurts to Know ('58). Allen availed himself of several of Sutton's contributions to composition. Allen and Wakefield wrote 'Trouble Round My Door' in 1961. Allen composed 'Don't Lie to Me' and 'Keep on Going' for issue in 1965. Songwriting credits to recordings released on 45 RPM. Brief list of compositions Allen covered.

Red Allen   1953

   A Bouquet in Heaven

      Composition: Lester Flatt

Red Allen   1956

   Once More

      With the Osborne Brothers

      Composition: Dusty Owens

   Out on the Ocean

      Composition: Pete Roberts/Red Allen

   Whose Shoulder Will You Cry On

      Composition: Billy Wallace/Kitty Wells

Red Allen   1966

   Bluegrass Country

      Album   Volume 1 of 2

      Guitar: Red Allen   Banjo: Porter Church

      Mandolin: Wayne Yates   Bass: Bill Yates


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Red Allen

Red Allen

Source: Last FM

Birth of Bluegrass Music: John Hartford

John Hartford

Source: Find a Grave

Born in New York City in 1937, banjo player John Hartford (originally Harford) also played Dobro, fiddle, guitar and likely could have made a fencepost sing. Hartford was moved to St. Louis, Missouri, as a child, where he listened to the Grand Ole Pry on the radio and became proficient enough at fiddle as an adolescent to form a bluegrass band. Becoming a commercial art student (to receive his degree in 1960), Hartford worked as a sign painter and disc jockey about the time he joined the Dillard Brothers, Doug and Rodney, on fiddle in 1958-59. On an unknown date they recorded 'Doug's Breakdown/My Own True Love' (K-Ark 619) and 'Mama Don't Allow'/'Highway of Sorrow' (K-Ark 225) for issue in 1961. They also issued 'I Saw the Light' on an EP circa 61 per K-Ark 630. [See also *.] The Dillards (had?) helped form Joe Noel's Dixie Ramblers circa 1958-59, Hartford joining as a fiddler. On an unknown date they recorded 'Banjo in the Hollow'/'You're on My Mind' for release [per Discogs] in 1960 on K-Ark Records 615, reissued, if not recorded again, circa '61 on Marlo 1509. If Hartford missed the 1960 K-Ark sessions [per burritobrother] but appeared on the Marlo tracks [per Menius] then they were recorded again. (Howsoever, Marlo 1509 is apparently worth above $100 these days.) Hartford (Harford) was also with the Ozark Mountain Trio circa 1958-59 playing banjo with Don Brown and Norman Ford. On an unknown date they put down 'That Great Day Is Surely Coming', 'Jesus Loves Everybody', 'The Way Is Narrow' and 'When I Feel The Hand of My Saviour', issued on Shanon EP 201 as 'Backwood Gospel Songs'. Art Menius (Dixie Ramblers above) has that issued in 1962 (no session discography), but a seller at Popsike (wanting $200 for 'Backwood Gospel Songs'), likely using something like a Goldmine catalog (my edition absent of Hartford, etc.), says '59. As Hartford remained with the Ozark Mountain Trio until 1962 [Menius] he conceivably also appeared on 'Greenback Dollar'/'Corrina' issued that year per Shanon 301. We've had to chain up to get through the muddy early part of Hartford's career. Summarize it to say that in the latter fifties Hartford recorded with the Ozark Mountain Trio, the Dixie Ramblers and the Dillards on unknown dates, possibly issuing as early as '59, all of which remains moot. In 1965 Hartford moved to Nashville to be at the center of the country music industry, and signed his first recording contract the next year. Praguefrank's shows his first session there on April 22 for 'Front Porch' and 'Corn Cob Blues'. That and later sessions into May resulted in Hartford's first album, 'Looks at Life', issued in 1967. Hartford's initial of multiple sessions for 'Earthwords & Music' was on February 1 of 1967. That LP included his composition, 'Gentle On My Mind'. One track from his 1971 album, 'Aereo-Plain', is indexed below, upon which release people began calling his bluegrass "newgrass" or, progressive bluegrass (a term used in the naming of the New Grass Revival band formed in 1971, a touch too late for this history). Wikipedia has Hartford leading or co-leading 39 albums to as late as 'Steam Powered Aereo-Takes' issued posthumously in 2002. Among some of the larger names with whom Hartford recorded were Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash and Peter Rowan. Hartford had a thing about steamboats as well. In addition to his music career he earned a steamboat pilot license in the seventies, thereafter piloting the Julia Belle Swain for summer amusement, as well as tugboats. Hartford died on June 4, 2001, in Nashville. Among Hartford's numerous compositions were 'A Simple Thing as Love' in '67, 'Like Unto a Mockingbird' in '69 and 'With a Vamp in the Middle' in '71. He's covered music from Roger Miller to Bob Dylan to Stevie Wonder. See also songwriting credits at 45cat and allmusic 1, 2.

John Hartford   1961

   Banjo in the Hollow

      With the Dixie Ramblers

      Composition: Doug Dillard/Rodney Dillard

   Highway of Sorrow

      With the Dixie Ramblers

      Composition: Bill Monroe

   You're On My Mind

      With the Dixie Ramblers

John Hartford   1967

   Gentle On My Mind

      Composition: John Hartford

   I Reckon

      Composition: John Hartford

       Album: 'Looks At Life'

   I Shoulda Wore My Birthday Suit

      Composition: John Hartford

       Album: 'Looks At Life'

   There Are No Fools In Heaven

      Composition: John Hartford

      Album: 'Earthwords & Music'

John Hartford   1968

   California Earthquake

       Live on Playboy After Dark

      Composition: John Hartford

       First issued by Mama Cass in 1968

   Natural to Be Gone

       Live on Playboy After Dark

      Composition: John Hartford

John Hartford   1971

   Steam Powered Aereo Plane

      Composition: John Hartford

       Album: 'Aereo-Plain'

John Hartford   1972

   Nobody Eats at Linebaugh's Anymore

      Composition: John Hartford

       Album: 'Morning Bugle'

   My Rag

      Composition: John Hartford

       Album: 'Morning Bugle'

   Old Joe Clark

      Composition: John Hartford

       Album: 'Morning Bugle'

John Hartford   1976

   Nobody Knows What You Do

      Composition: John Hartford

       Album: 'Nobody Knows What You Do'

John Hartford   1977

   Gentle On My Mind

      Composition: John Hartford

John Hartford   1984

   Jug Harris

      Live performance

      Composition: John Hartford

John Hartford   1987

   Goin' to Work in Tall Buildings

      Live performance

      Composition: John Hartford

John Hartford   1998

   Blackberry Blossom

      Composition: Celtic traditional

      Arrangement: Ed Haley

       Album: 'The Speed of the Old Long Bow'


  Roscoe Holcomb didn't begin recording until 1958 (age 46) after about three decades of playing banjo while working as a coal miner and farmer. Born in 1912 in Daisy, Kentucky, his first record release was in 1960 on a compilation called 'Mountain Music of Kentucky'. Holcomb was more a folk singer than bluegrass instrumentalist, but as he was from the Appalachian area of Kentucky and played in the bluegrass fashion he was better known at the time as a bluegrass vocalist than folk singer. Giving his last performance in 1978, he died on February 1, 1981, buried in Leatherwood, Kentucky. Composers covered by Holcomb at discogs and secondhandsongs.

Roscoe Holcomb   1960

   Hills of Mexico

      Composition: Traditional

Roscoe Holcomb   1961

   I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow

      Composition: Traditional   See Wikipedia

   On Top of Old Smoky

      Composition: Charles Green

Roscoe Holcomb   1962


      Composition: Traditional   See Wikipedia

Roscoe Holcomb   1973

   On Top of Old Smoky

      Composition: Charles Green

Roscoe Holcomb   1975

   Mississippi Heavy Water Blues

      Composition: Robert Hicks

   Train That Carried My Girl From Town

      Composition: Frank Hutchison


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Roscoe Holcomb

Roscoe Holcomb

Source: University of Western Australia


Born in 1923 in Deep Gap, North Carolina, blind bluegrass virtuoso, Doc Watson, had been playing banjo, guitar and harmonica nigh thirty years before recording his titled 'Doc Watson', in 1964. He'd begun his career in 1953 in the western swing band of Jack Williams. He supported himself as a piano tuner during his early years. Watson made his first recordings to issue were on banjo and guitar in September of 1960 in Dee Gap with Ralph Rinzler (guitar), Clint Howard (guitar), Fred Price (fiddle) and Gaither Carlton (fiddle). That initial session yielded 'Skillet Good and Greasy', 'I'm Going Back to Jericho' and 'Maggie Walker Blues' toward issue the next year on the album, 'Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's' (Folkways FA 2355). Ensuing sessions with differing configurations resulted in numerous further titles inserted on that LP, including Clarence Ashley at vocals on 'Honey Babe Blues'. Praguefrank's has Watson's next sessions on March 25 of 1961 in NYC including Ashley on 'Dark Holler Blues' released in '64 on 'FOTM Friends of Old Time Music' (Folkways FA 2390). Live recordings were made in various locations on tour into 1962 when Watson was in Los Angeles in April with Ashley, Howard, Price and Ritchie for such as 'Free Little Bird' and 'Lee Highway Blues' issued on 'Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's Part 2' (Folkways FA 2359) in 1962. Such as 'Way Downtown' and 'The Banks of the Ohio' eventually saw release in 1994 on 'The Original Folkways Recordings of Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley 1960 Through 1962' (Folkways ‎SF 40029/30). Praguefrank's has Watson back in NYC on an unspecified date in 1962 for titles toward the issue of 'Jean Ritchie and Doc Watson at Folk City' in 1963. Praguefrank's has titles to 'The Watson Family' (Folkways FA 2366 '63) recorded in New York City on date unknkown between 1960 and '62. Other sessions were held in NYC until Watson headed to California again in 1963, recording 'True Life Blues' on April 14 in Los Angeles ('Bill & Doc Sing Country Songs' '75). Come the Monterey Folk Festival in May to yield such as 'Get Up John' and 'Homesick for Heaven' to see issue in 1975 on 'Bill & Doc Sing Country Songs' (FBN 210). That included titles from Watson's last session on that California tour in Los Angeles in May such as 'What Does the Deep Sea Say?' and 'You Won't Be Satisfied That Way'. Arriving back to the East Coast, numerous titles were strung along at the Newport Folk Festivals of '63 and '64. Such as 'Rambling Hobo' and Groundhog' in '63 saw issue in '64 on 'Old Time Music at Newport'. Such as 'Maggie Walker Blues' and 'Way Downtown' in '63 saw light in 1968 on 'Country Music and Bluegrass at Newport'. Preceding Watson's next titles at Newport he recorded his album, 'Doc Watson' (Vanguard VRS 9152), circa January '64. Titles at Newport the next July included such as 'Light in the Valley' and 'Beaumont Rag' to see issue on 'Treasures Untold' (Vanguard '91). Wikipedia shows Watson leading or co-leading above 40 albums since 1964, the most recent with Earl Scruggs and Ricky Skaggs for 'The Three Pickers' in 2003. Watson was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2000. He last performed in public with the Nashville Bluegrass Band in April 2012, dying the next month on the 29th of May in North Carolina. Watson composed such as 'Doc's Guitar' in 1964. Most of Watson's recordings, however, were written by others, especially per his interest in older traditionlals. Compositional credits at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Doc Watson   1961

   The Banks of the Ohio

      With Clarence Ashley

      Composition: Traditional   See Wikipedia

Doc Watson   1964

   And Am I Born To Die?

      With Gaither Carlson

      Composition: Charles Wesley

   Country Blues

      Composition: Dock Boggs

   Deep River Blues

      Composition: Traditional

   Nashville Blues

      Composition: Delmore Brothers

   Omie Wise

      Composition: Traditional   See Wikipedia

   St. James Hospital

      Composition: James Iron Head Baker

   Sitting On Top Of the World

      Composition: Sam Chatmon/Walter Vinson

   Talk About Suffering

      Composition: Traditional

   Tom Dooley

      Composition: Tom Dula   See Wikipedia

Doc Watson   1991

   Deep River Blues

      Live performance   Composition: Traditional

   Windy and Warm

      Live performance

      Composition: John Loudermilk

Doc Watson   1998

   Shady Grove

      Live with David Grisman & Jack Lawrence

      Composition: Traditional


      Live with David Grisman & Jack Lawrence

      Composition: George Gershwin/DuBose Heyward


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Doc Watson

Doc Watson

Source: Noise 11

Birth of Bluegrass Music: Norman Blake

Norman Blake   1972

Source: All Music
Norman Blake, versatile with a number of string instruments, was born in 1934 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He quit school at age 16 to join the Dixie Drifters as a mandolin player, beginning his career in radio with that group in 1954 in Knoxville at WNOX on the 'Tennessee Barn Dance'. Two years later he signed up with Bob Johnson's Lonesome Travelers. In 1959 he joined Hylo Brown's Timberliners. which Praguefrank's shows recording four unissued tracks on October 31 of 1960 in Nashville: 'Test of Love', 'Dark as the Dungeon', 'Lost to a Stranger' and 'Sweethearts Or Strangers'. Blake playing Dobro on those, they eventually saw issue in 1992 on 'Hylo Brown & The Timberliners 1954-60' (Bear Family BCD 15572). (Blake joined Brown's Timberliners too late to appear on the April '59 issue of 'Hylo Brown' per Capitol Records T-1168.) Come 1960 Blake toured with Maybelle and June Carter, also appearing at the Grand Ole Opry at radio WSM in Nashville with Bob Johnson (above). They would be joined by vocalist, Walter Forbes, in a new configuration of the Lonesome Travelers, tracks going down in June and July of 1961 toward Forbes' 'Ballads & Bluegrass' ('62). Blake was drafted in latter 1961 to serve as a radio operator in Panama where he formed a bluegrass band of some small acclaim. Most sources have him taking leave back in the States to record 'Twelve Shades of Bluegrass' in 1962 which Discogs has issued per Parkway SP 7017 that year. Praguefrank's differs, placing that session in Nashville in 1963 for release that September. Upon discharge from the service and his return to the States Blake taught guitar while playing fiddle in a country western group. He had been traveling to Nashville to work with June Carter when he moved there in 1969 to appear on television for Johnny Cash, also emerging on Bob Dylan's 'Nashville Skyline' that year. Blake released his initial LP in 1972 with Tut Taylor on Dobro: 'Home in Sulphur Springs'. Among others with whom Blake collaborated were his wife, Nancy, with whom he toured, Kris Kristofferson, Joan Baez, John Hartford, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Tony Rice. During the course of his career Blake has issued 35 albums as of this writing, his latest being 'Wood, Wire & Words' in 2015 and 'Brushwood Songs and Stories' in 2017. He continues to perform on tour to this day. Blake composed titles like 'Billy Gray' ('75), 'Slow Train through Georgia' ('76) and 'Church Street Blues' ('83). Songwriting credits at 1, 2, 3. Compositions Blake covered at secondhandsongs.

Norman Blake   1960

   Dark as a Dungeon

      With Hylo Brown

     Recorded 1960   Issue 1992

      Composition: Merle Travis

   Sweethearts Or Strangers

      With Hylo Brown

      Recorded 1960   Issue 1992

      Composition: Jimmie Davis/Lou Wayne

Norman Blake   1971

   Where the Old Red River Flows

     Banjo: John Hartford

      Composition: Billy Wallace/Kitty Wells

Norman Blake   1972

   Down Home Summertime Blues

      Composition: Norman Blake


   Philadelphia Folk Festival 1972

Norman Blake   1979

   Ginseng Sullivan

     Filmed live

      Composition: Norman Blake/Tony Rice



Birth of Bluegrass Music: Dave Grisman

Dave Grisman

Photo: Jay Blakesberg

Source: Wedel Blog

Born in 1945 in Hackensack, New Jersey, mandolin player David Grisman (the Dawg) had begun playing piano at age seven, shifting over to mandolin by the time he first recorded 'The Even Dozen Jug Band' ('64) with the same in 1963. Grisman came to producing for Folkways in 1964: Red Allen's 'Bluegrass' (Folkways FA 2408) with the Kentuckians. Spring of '65 saw Grisman producing 'I'll Never Make You Blue'/'The Convict and the Child' (Silver Belle 1005) for Frank Wakefield. March and August of '66 found Grisman putting down titles in Berkeley that would get released in 1980 on 'Early Dawg'. September 17 of 1966 found Grisman on mandolin in Allen's Kentuckians recording 'Red Allen & The Kentuckians' (County 710). 1967 saw Grisman assisting Peter Rowan in the formation of the psychedelic band, Earth Opera. Their first album, released in 1968, was titled simply 'Earth Opera'. Their second album, 'The Great American Eagle Tragedy', was released the next year. In 1975 Grisman formed the David Grisman Quintet, releasing that group's first album, 'The David Grisman Quintet', in 1977. Among Grisman's latest releases in the new millennium was 'Live at the Boarding House' in 2008 with his group, Old and in the Way. That group had issued its first LP in 1973 per 'Old and in the Way'. Having recorded prodigiously throughout his career, Wikipedia has Grisman leading or co-leading nearly sixty albums to 'Muddy Roads', 'Frank n Dawg' and 'Pickin'' in 2017, the last with Tommy Emmanuel at guitar. Grisman was in on rare unissued sessions with Bill Monroe (the key figure on this page) in 1966 [see 1, 2]. Another major musician with whom Grisman was associated was Jerry Garcia of Grateful Dead fame. First meeting in 1964 at a Monroe performance, Grisman got the name "Dawg" from Garcia. Grisman recorded with Garcia as early as Grateful Dead's 'American Beauty' in 1970. They formed Old And In The Way with Peter Rowan in 1973. They recorded seven or eight albums together in the nineties, including 'Garcia/Grisman' in 1991 [see deaddisc]. Grisman also performed with guitar virtuoso, Tony Rice, such as 'Tone Poems' in '94 and 'Dawg and 'T'' in '97. That same year he had issued a joint album with Doc Watson: 'Doc & Dawg'. Among Grisman's compositions were 'Dawg Funk' in 1981, 'Happy Birthday Bill Monroe' in 1983 and 'Chili Dawg' in 1990. Composers covered by him at allmusic and secondhandsongs. Though Grisman performed traditionals especially, he applied his mandolin to a wide range of music, such as exampled below per John Coltrane's 'Naima'. Other tracks below tracks include collaborations with Garcia, and longtime bluegrass masters, Doc Watson and Tony Rice. (Rice first laid tracks in 1968 that would get issued in 1981 on '1968 Session' [Old Homestead OHCS 126]. He first saw issue, however, a touch too late for these histories to 1970, that in 1973 per his LPs, 'Guitar' and 'Bluegrass Evolution'.)

David Grisman   1963

   Take Your Fingers Off It

      With the Even Dozen Jug Band

      Composition: Charlie Burse

David Grisman   1966

   East Tennessee Blues

      Recorded with Bill Monroe & Tex Logan 1966

      Issue Unknown   Composition: Traditional

David Grisman   1981

   Dawg's Bull

      Live performance

      Composition: Grisman


      Live performance

      Composition: John Coltrane

David Grisman   1992

   The Thrill Is Gone

      Live with Jerry Garcia

      Composition: Roy Hawkins/Rick Darnell   1951

David Grisman   1993

   Teddy Bears' Picnic

      With Jerry Garcia   Album: 'Not For Kids Only'

David Grisman   1994

   Tone Poems

      Album with Tony Rice

David Grisman   1998


       Live with Doc Watson

      Composition: George Gershwin/DuBose Heyward

David Grisman   2008

   My Love Will Not Change

      Live with the Del McCoury Band

      Composition: Van Eaton/Pat McInerney

   Shady Grove

      Live performance

      Composition: Traditional



Born in 1942 in Boston, known more for beans than bluegrass, guitarist Peter Rowan formed his first country band, the Cupids, while in high school. Rowan is thought to have been a member of the Mother Bay State Entertainers as early as 1963, contributing mandolin to tracks found on the 1965 issue of the LP by various, 'String Band Project' (Elektra EKL 292/EKS 7292). Discogs shows three titles by the Entertainers as 'Red Rocking Chair', 'Billy in the Low Ground' and 'Train on the Island'. Hired in 1963 or '64 as one of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, Rowan naturally discontinued college after his junior year. Praguefrank's shows Rowan with Monroe in Boston as early as October 31 of 1964 for live titles such as 'Soldier's Joy' and 'Ya'll Come'. Tracks from that and later sessions to August 26 of '66 saw issue much later on Monroe CDs per 'Live Recordings 1956 -1969' ('Off The Record Vol 1' SF 40063) and 'Live Duet Recordings 1963-1980' ('Off The Record Vol 2' SF 40064). Rowan first recorded to issue with Monroe per sessions from October 14 of '66 to January 23 of '67 toward the album 'Blue Grass Time' issued in '67 (Decca Mono DL 4896/Stereo ‎DL 74896). In 1967 Rowen helped David Grisman shape the acid band, Earth Opera. Their first album, released in 1968, was titled simply 'Earth Opera'. Their second album, 'The Great American Eagle Tragedy', was released the next year. Rowan went on to become a member of Seatrain in '69, the LPs, 'Seatrain' and 'Marblehead Messenger' released in '71. Come Muleskinner on February 13 of 1973 at KCET TV in Hollywood for titles that would get issued in the early nineties as 'Muleskinner Live' (Sierra 6000). A session in spring of '73 went toward the release of 'Muleskinner' in March of 1974. In the meanwhile Rowan had formed the band, Old and in the Way, in '73 with Grisman, Jerry Garcia, Richard Greene and John Kahn. Vassar Clements replaced Greene at fiddle before the band's first recordings on October 1, 1973, at the Boarding House in San Francisco, numerous titles like 'On and On' and 'Catfish John' to be issued years later in 2013 on 'Live at the Boarding House'. Titles recorded on the 8th saw issue on that as well, including those released on the band's first LP, 'Old and in the Way', in 1975. In the meantime Rowan led a number of titles in Sausalito in April of '74, such as 'Sweet Melinda' and 'Four Corners' to eventually see issue on 'Texican Badman' in 1981 (Appaloosa AP 010). Included in that band were Rowan's brothers, Chris and Lorin, who had issued 'The Rowan Brothers' in 1972. Peter joined them in latter '74 for titles issued on 'The Rowans' in May of '75. The Rowans released 'Sibling Rivalry' in '76, 'Jubilation' in '77 and reunited as late as 2002 for 'Crazy People'. Rowan issued his first name solo LP, 'Peter Rowan', in 1978. Wikipedia has him leading or co-leading well above thirty more including several with Richard Greene, Flaco Jiminez and Tony Rice along the way. His most recent releases were 'Dharma Blues' in 2014 and 'My Aloha!' in 2017, both filled with his own compositions. Other of his songs include such as 'Panama Red' and 'Lonesome L.A. Cowboy' written for Riders of the Purple Sage in 1973. He composed 'Midnight Moonlight' for Old and in the Way in 1975. He wrote 'In the Land of the Navajo' in '78. Other titles he's written, as well as composers he's covered, at secondhandsongs. Note a couple of tracks from Rowan's reggae adventures below.

Peter Rowan   1965

   Billy in the Low Ground

      With the Mother Bay State Entertainers

      Recorded 1966   Not issued until 1993

      Composition: Traditional

   Red Rocking Chair

      With the Mother Bay State Entertainers

      Recorded 1966   Not issued until 1993

   Train on the Island

      With the Mother Bay State Entertainers

      Recorded 1966   Not issued until 1993

Peter Rowan   1966

   John Henry

      With Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys

      Recorded 1966   Not issued until 1993

      Composition: Traditional


      With Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys

      Recorded 1966   Not issued until 1993

      Composition: Bill Monroe

Peter Rowan   1968

   Home of the Brave

       With Earth Opera   Composition: Peter Rowan

        Album: 'Earth Opera'

Peter Rowan   1969

   All Winter Long

       With Earth Opera   Composition: Peter Rowan

        Album: 'The Great American Eagle Tragedy'

   It's Love

       With Earth Opera   Composition: Peter Rowan

        Album: 'The Great American Eagle Tragedy'

Peter Rowan   1971

   Home to You

      With Seatrain   Composition: Peter Rowan

Peter Rowan   1972

   Mama Don't You Cry

      With the Rowan Brothers

      Composition: Chris Rowan

Peter Rowan   1973

   Drifting Too Far From Shore

      With Old and In the Way

      Composition: Charles Moody

   Kissimmee Kid

      With Old and In the Way

      Composition: Vassar Clements

   Land of the Navajo

      With Old and In the Way

      Composition: Peter Rowan

   Wild Horses

      With Old and In the Way

      Composition: Mick Jagger/Keith Richards

Peter Rowan   1993

   Dance With No Shoes

      Composition: Peter Rowan/Buck Wells

      Album: 'Awake Me In the New World'

Peter Rowan   1998

   No Woman, No Cry

      Composition: Vincent Ford   See Wikipedia

      Album: 'Reggae Around the World'

Peter Rowan   2000

   Blackberry Blossom

      With Tony Rice

      Composition: Celtic traditional

      See Wikipedia

   First Whippoorwill

      With Tony Rice

      Composition: Bill Monroe

   Home Lovin' Man

      With Tony Rice   Composition:

      Roger Greenaway/Roger Cook/Tony Macaulay

   Knockin' at Your Door

      With Tony Rice      Composition: Traditional

   Molly and Tenbrooks

      With Tony Rice

      Composition: Traditional

Peter Rowan   2002

   Give Me Love

Peter Rowan   2005

   Old Santa Fe

      With Tony Rice

Peter Rowan   2008

   Pulling the Devil By the Tail

      With The Free Mexican Air Force

      Composition: Peter Rowan

Peter Rowan   2010

   Angel Island

      With Tim O'Brian & Tony Rice

      Composition: Peter Rowan

   Don't Ask Me Why

      With the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band

   Hobo Song

      With Tim O'Brian & Tony Rice

      Composition: Jack Bonus

   Midnight Moonlight

      With Tim O'Brian & Tony Rice

      Composition: Peter Rowan

   Shady Grove

      With Tim O'Brian & Tony Rice

      Composition: Traditional

Peter Rowan   2011

   Walls of Time

      Composition: Peter Rowan/Bill Monroe

Peter Rowan   2012

   Panama Red

      Composition: Peter Rowan

   Pretty Polly

      Filmed w Scott Law

   Wild Mustang

      With Tony Rice


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Peter Rowan

Peter Rowan

Source: Peter Rowan

  Formed in Long Beach, California, in 1966, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was originally a jug band, complete with washboard and washtub bass, consisting of Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Ralph Barr, Les Thompson, Bruce Kunkel and John McCuen (replacing Jackson Browne) at the time it released its first album in 1967, 'The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band'. All played guitar, though McCuen performed on banjo as well. The band's initial single, 'Buy for Me the Rain', reached the Top 40. The group next issued the album, 'Ricochet', before going electric with the LPs, 'Rare Junk' and 'Alive'. Not until the issue of 'Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy' in 1970 did the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band find its direction in bluegrass. Their release of 'Mr. Bojangles' reached No. 9 on Billboard's Hot 100. The group released 'All the Good Times' in 1972 before garnering the assistance of such as Roy Acuff, Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, Mother Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson, Merle Travis, Vassar Clements and Norman Blake for the 1972 release of 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken'. Volume II of that was issued the same year, those albums establishing the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band as a group of serious musicians, they touring Japan before the 1974 release of 'Stars & Stripes Forever'. After touring the Soviet Union in 1977 and issuing 'Dirt, Silver and Gold' in 1978, the band shortened its name, recording as The Dirt Band. Reassuming the name, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, in 1982, the album, 'Let's Go', was released the next year. The LP, 'Plain Dirt Fashion' was released in 1984, on it the band's first No. 1 song, 'Long Hard Road'. From 'Dance Little Jean' in 1983 at #9 to 'When It's Gone' at #10 in 1990 the Dirt Band placed 16 titles on Billboard's Country Top Ten. Volume III of 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken' saw release in 2002 with another all-star crew consisting of Del McCoury, Jimmy Martin and Taj Mahal to note but a few. Apart from 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken' the Dirt Band has released on about 25 original albums into the new millennium. Issuing 'Speed of Life' as recently as 2009, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band continues to perform to this day with original members, Jimmie Fadden, Jeff Haden and John McCuen (who had left the band for a couple decades in the eighties).

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band   1967

   Buy For Me the Rain

      Composition: Steve Noonan/Greg Copeland

      Album: 'The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band'


      Composition: George Remailly

      Album: 'The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band'

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band   1968

   I'm Not Afraid

     Film: 'For Singles Only'

      Music: Fred Karger

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band   1970

   Mr. Bojangles

      Composition: Jerry Jeff Walker   1968

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band   1972

   I Saw the Light

      Composition: Hank Williams

      Album: 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken'

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band   1975

   Ripplin' Waters

      Composition: Jimmy Ibbotson

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band   1985


      Composition: Jimmy Ibbotson

      Album: 'Partners, Brothers And Friends'

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band   1990

   An American Dream

     Filmed live

      Composition: Rodney Crowell

  Mr. Bojangles

     Filmed live

      Composition: Jerry Jeff Walker   1968

  Workin' Man

     Filmed live

      Composition: Jimmie Fadden

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band   2003

   Will The Circle Be Unbroken: Farther Along

     Filmed concert

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band   2010

   Dance Little Jean

     Filmed live

      Composition: Jimmy Ibbotson


Birth of Bluegrass Music: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band   1967

Source: Eirik Wangberg

47 Years of 'Orange Blossom Special'

Composition: Ervin Rouse

Rouse Brothers   1939

Blue Grass Boys   1942

Johnny Cash   1965

Don Rich & the Buckaroos   1966

Chubby Wise   1971

Chet Atkins   1978

Mickey Gilley 1980

Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs   1986

Roy Clark   1987

Doug Kershaw   1989

Seatrain   1995

Well Oiled Sisters   1998

Vassar Clements   2003

Country Sisters   2006

James Last   2007

Veronika Shabashova   2009

Annie Staninec   2009

RV   2005

Michael Cleveland   2010

IBMA Kids   2010

Steve Martin   2010

Charlie McCoy   2010

Ray Steelman   2010

Mikayla Roach   2011

Cistillo Kids   2012

Adam Larkey Band   2012

Memories Band   2012

Crystal Shipley & Raisin' Cain   2012

Wimberley Bluegrass Band   2012


The seventies would see the rise of talent such as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (with whom Clements and Watson performed) and New Grass Revival. But we presently pause this rather lean history of bluegrass music with John Hartford.



Early Blues 1: Guitar

Early Blues 2: Vocal - Other Instruments

Modern Blues 1: Guitar

Modern Blues 2: Vocal - Other Instruments

Modern Blues 3: Black Gospel Appendix


Medieval - Renaissance


Galant - Classical

Romantic: Composers born 1770 to 1840

Romantic - Impressionist

Expressionist - Modern

Modern: Composers born 1900 to 1950




Country Western


Early Jazz 1: Ragtime - Bands - Horn

Early Jazz 2: Ragtime - Other Instrumentation

Early Jazz 3: Ragtime - Song - Hollywood

Swing Era 1: Big Bands

Swing Era 2: Song

Modern 1: Saxophone

Modern 2: Trumpet - Other Horn

Modern 3: Piano

Modern 4: Guitar - Other String

Modern 5: Percussion - Other Orchestration

Modern 6: Song

Modern 7: Latin Jazz - Latin Recording

Modern 8: United States 1960 - 1970

Modern 9: International 1960 - 1970

Rock & Roll

Early - Boogie Woogie - R&B - Soul - Disco

Doo Wop

The Big Bang - Fifties American Rock

UK Beat

British Invasion

Total War - Sixties American Rock

Other Musical Genres - Popular Music Appendix

Musician Indexes

Classical - Medieval to Renaissance

Classical - Baroque to Classical

Classical - Romantic to Modern

The Blues

Bluegrass - Folk

Country Western

Jazz Early - Ragtime - Swing Jazz

Jazz Modern - Horn

Jazz Modern - Piano - String

Jazz Modern - Percussion - Song - Other

Jazz Modern - 1960 to 1970

Boogie Woogie - Doo Wop - R&B - Rock & Roll - Soul - Disco

UK Beat - British Invasion

Sixties American Rock - Popular

Latin Recording - Europe

Latin Recording - The Caribbean - South America


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