Bill Monroe Bluegrass Boys: A Profile on the Classic Bluegrass Band

Bill Monroe Bluegrass Boys: A Profile on the Classic Bluegrass Band
Bill Monroe Bluegrass Boys – A Profile on the Classic Bluegrass Band

Bill Monroe Bluegrass Boys was the quintessential example of a bluegrass band. With the entry of Earl Scruggs in the end of 1945, Monroe’s already sensational group became a powerhouse that everyone clamored to watch.

The “Original” Cast Members

Besides founder Bill Monroe and banjo sensation Earl Scruggs, there were also Lester Flatt, a guitar prodigy, Chubby Wise on fiddle, and Howard Watts, aka Cedric Rainwater, who played bass.Bill Monroe Bluegrass Boys: A Profile on the Classic Bluegrass Band

Authentic Bluegrass Music

Together, the five members of the Bluegrass Boys established the benchmark for bluegrass music, which included fast and hard-hitting tempos, highly sophisticated and complex vocal harmonies, and let’s not forget the astounding virtuosity that bluegrass artists are expected to display when playing instruments such as the fiddle, banjo, and mandolin. It was also around this time that Monroe had become the proud owner of the “Lloyd Loar”, a 1923 Gibson F5 mandolin that would be most associated with his career in bluegrass.

1946 – 1947 The Height of Success for Bill Monroe Bluegrass Boys

In these years, this particular formation of Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys had been able to produce a total of 28 songs and most of which – if not all – had gained classic and legendary status in the bluegrass scene over time. Some of these include songs “Little Cabin Home on the Hill”, “My Rose of Old Kentucky”, “Molly and Tenbrooks”, and of course, who can forget the incomparable “Blue Moon of Kentucky” of Bill Monroe, a slow waltz ballad that Elvis Presley had remade into a classic rock and roll tune in 1954 as part of an album he released with Sun Records.

It was also in this period that Monroe established the “Blue Grass Quartet”, an impressive four-part vocal harmony that was accompanied by guitar and mandolin and which Monroe used when producing bluegrass gospel music or what he referred to as “sacred” songs.

High Lonesome

In 1948, Monroe’s all-star ensemble for his Bluegrass Boys gradually broke down. Flatt and Scruggs, for instance, went on to form The Foggy Mountain Boys, and had enjoyed considerable success with singles such as “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” and “Cabin on the Hill”.

But Monroe didn’t let such changes stop him from moving on and rightly so as it was the following decade that would mark the highlight of his career. 1950’s was a spectacular period for Monroe, who had developed the unique “high lonesome” tune that he would be famous for.

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