Bluegrass 1950-1958

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
In 1950, Bill Monroe had been on his own with the Bluegrass Boys for over 11 years and had been a Grand Ol Opry member for over ten. More importantly, he had had a successful run with Columbia Records and had left as his music had continued to develop for what he perceived to be a brighter, more lucrative future with Decca in 1950. As usual, Monroe's instinct was correct. The 103 selections compiled here are from Monroe's most fertile, creative period, many of the songs recorded during this era became his signature tracks, such as "Uncle Pen," "Raw Hide," "Get Down On Your Knees and Pray," "Little Georgia Rose," "On and On," "Roanoke," "The Little Girl and the Dreadful ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
In 1950, Bill Monroe had been on his own with the Bluegrass Boys for over 11 years and had been a Grand Ol Opry member for over ten. More importantly, he had had a successful run with Columbia Records and had left as his music had continued to develop for what he perceived to be a brighter, more lucrative future with Decca in 1950. As usual, Monroe's instinct was correct. The 103 selections compiled here are from Monroe's most fertile, creative period, many of the songs recorded during this era became his signature tracks, such as "Uncle Pen," "Raw Hide," "Get Down On Your Knees and Pray," "Little Georgia Rose," "On and On," "Roanoke," "The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake," and "Kentucky Waltz." It was while at Decca that he introduced and recorded his original and trademark mandolin tuning, where instead of four pairs of strings tuned to the same pitches as a violin, he tuned several pair of strings to two different notes that added the otherworldly timbres to his "high lonesome" sound. In addition to Monroe's recording with the Bluegrass Boys, there are a number of sessions here that put Monroe in the solo spotlight with some of Nashville's hottest session cats, in an attempt by Decca to put Monroe's music in a more modern and mainstream country setting. What is most noteworthy about the period of recordings here, however -- besides the tracks themselves -- are the musicians who played with Monroe during those very fertile and adventurous years. Guitarists included none other than Jimmy Martin from 1950-1954, then Carter Stanley (briefly) before Eddie Mayfield, Jackie Phelps, and Doug Kershaw signed on. Bassists Ernie Newton and Bessie Lee Mauldin joined the band for the first time on these recordings, as did Buddy Killen briefly, and then Culley Holt. Fiddle players were plentiful and stunning during the '50s. Monroe certainly had the pick of the crop in Vassar Clements, Charley Cline, Bobby Hicks, and others. And banjo pickers, while still hard to come by in that three-finger style, were as fine as they came in Rudy Lyle, Don Stover, and Joe Stuart. There is the association here with legendary producer Owen Bradley as a sideman toward the end of the '50s, and the influence of Monroe on the music of the time, where his main competition -- Flatt & Scruggs, grudgingly (briefly) adopted Monroe's Nashville style to further their own careers -- and the spin-offs by Jimmy Martin and others began successful recording careers as well. The story the recordings themselves tell is one of ambition, vision, and restlessness. The songs come in strange batches: there are the numerous co-writes with Hank Williams, sometimes credited, other times willfully, but for no known reason obscured in their authorship. But Monroe's own writing was red-hot as well. His own compositions easily overshadow anything he covered during these years. Monroe was hunting ever deeper and wider for the elusive element that was the very grain of his style of music. He fought hard to keep it contemporary while not giving up anything in return. While it is not explained in the liner notes, his two Decca sessions with Nashville studio cats were perhaps a compromise Monroe himself made to keep the music of the Bluegrass Boys pure. These sessions, five and seven, included many fine songs -- "Sailor's Plea," "Highway of Sorrow," "My Carolina Sunshine Girl," "Peach Picking Time in Georgia" and others -- but only three of them were ever issued before this compilation; the rest, as fine as they were, were left in the bins and the liner notes in the book, as fine as they are, do not explain why the choices were made at the time to leave them on the shelf. In all, this is a stunning collection of Monroe's music at the beginning of his modern era; his first fully mature recordings that would prove so timeless and influential are here, and not on the Columbia recordings. The sound here is also, for the most part, pristine, and never less than very good, with great balancing and equalization. As is customary with Bear Family, the book is chock-full of information and complete session notes, making it an indispensable package, and, along with its companion set, from 1959-1969, the only recordings by Monroe anybody would ever need to really take in his contribution.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/12/1994
  • Label: Imports
  • EAN: 4000127154231
  • Catalog Number: 15423
  • Sales rank: 168,634

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Bluegrass Ramble (2:13)
  2. 2 New Mule Skinner Blues (2:31)
  3. 3 My Little Georgia Rose (3:07)
  4. 4 Memories of You (3:00)
  5. 5 I'm on My Way to the Old Home (2:26)
  6. 6 Alabama Waltz (2:25)
  7. 7 I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome (2:51)
  8. 8 I'll Meet You in Church Sunday Morning (2:49)
  9. 9 Boat of Love (2:45)
  10. 10 The Old Fiddler (2:35)
  11. 11 Uncle Pen (2:44)
  12. 12 When the Golden Leaves Begin to Fall (3:02)
  13. 13 Lord Protect My Soul (2:42)
  14. 14 River of Death (2:42)
  15. 15 Letter from My Darling (3:08)
  16. 16 On the Old Kentucky Shore (3:13)
  17. 17 Rawhide (2:36)
  18. 18 Poison Love (2:37)
  19. 19 Kentucky Waltz (2:17)
  20. 20 The Prisoner's Song (2:41)
  21. 21 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (2:40)
  22. 22 Angels Rock Me to Sleep (2:43)
  23. 23 Brakeman's Blues (2:36)
  24. 24 Travelin' Blues (2:53)
  25. 25 When the Cactus Is in Bloom (2:03)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Sailor's Plea (2:36)
  2. 2 My Carolina Sunshine Girl (2:39)
  3. 3 Ben Dewberry's Final Run (2:42)
  4. 4 Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia (2:18)
  5. 5 Those Gambler's Blues (2:35)
  6. 6 Highway or Sorrow (2:54)
  7. 7 Rotation Blues (2:56)
  8. 8 Lonesome Truck Driver's Blues (2:54)
  9. 9 Sugar Coated Love (2:24)
  10. 10 You're Drifting Away (2:36)
  11. 11 Cabin of Love (2:40)
  12. 12 Get Down on Your Knees and Pray (3:01)
  13. 13 Christmas Time's A-Coming (2:48)
  14. 14 The First Whippoorwill (2:54)
  15. 15 In the Pines (3:12)
  16. 16 Footprints in the Snow (2:41)
  17. 17 Walking in Jerusalem (1:59)
  18. 18 Memories of Mother and Dad (2:58)
  19. 19 The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake (3:04)
  20. 20 Country Waltz (2:24)
  21. 21 Don't Put Off Till Tomorrow (2:37)
  22. 22 My Dying Bed (2:48)
  23. 23 A Mighty Pretty Waltz (2:42)
  24. 24 Pike County Breakdown (2:41)
  25. 25 Wishing Waltz (2:37)
  26. 26 I Hope You Have Learned (2:28)
  27. 27 Get Up John (2:09)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Sitting Alone in the Moonlight (2:29)
  2. 2 Plant Some Flowers on My Grave (2:40)
  3. 3 Changing Partners (2:15)
  4. 4 Y'all Come (2:17)
  5. 5 On and On (2:48)
  6. 6 I Believed in You Darling (2:38)
  7. 7 New John Henry (2:29)
  8. 8 White House Blues (2:13)
  9. 9 Happy on My Way (2:11)
  10. 10 I'm Working on a Building (2:45)
  11. 11 A Voice from on High (2:37)
  12. 12 He Will Set Your Fields on Fire (2:38)
  13. 13 Close By (2:30)
  14. 14 My Little Georgia Rose (2:41)
  15. 15 Put My Little Shoes Away (2:33)
  16. 16 Blue Moon of Kentucky (2:08)
  17. 17 Wheel Hoss (2:20)
  18. 18 Cheyenne (2:51)
  19. 19 You'll Find Her Name Written There (2:52)
  20. 20 Roanoke (2:39)
  21. 21 Wait a Little Longer Please Jesus (2:39)
  22. 22 Let the Light Shine Down on Me (1:58)
  23. 23 Used to Be (2:07)
  24. 24 Tall Timber (2:22)
  25. 25 Brown County Breakdown (2:27)
  26. 26 A Fallen Star (2:10)
  27. 27 Four Walls (2:21)
  28. 28 A Good Woman's Love (2:22)
  29. 29 Cry, Cry Darling (2:24)
  30. 30 I'm Sitting on Top of the World (2:21)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Out in the Cold World (2:36)
  2. 2 Roane County Prison (3:11)
  3. 3 Goodbye Old Pal (2:06)
  4. 4 In Despair (2:17)
  5. 5 Molly and Tenbrooks (2:23)
  6. 6 Come Back to Me in My Dreams (2:25)
  7. 7 Sally Joe (2:39)
  8. 8 Brand New Shoes (2:12)
  9. 9 A Lonesome Road to Travel (2:40)
  10. 10 I Saw the Light (2:30)
  11. 11 Lord, Build Me a Cabin in Glory (2:04)
  12. 12 Lord, Lead Me On (2:27)
  13. 13 Precious Memories (3:16)
  14. 14 I'll Meet You in the Morning (2:12)
  15. 15 Life's Railway to Heaven (2:50)
  16. 16 I've Found a Hiding Place (3:27)
  17. 17 Jesus, Hold My Hand (2:25)
  18. 18 I Am a Pilgrim (2:33)
  19. 19 Wayfaring Stranger (3:07)
  20. 20 A Beautiful Life (2:28)
  21. 21 House of Gold (2:08)
  22. 22 Panhandle Country (2:05)
  23. 23 Scotland (1:53)
  24. 24 Gotta Travel On (2:34)
  25. 25 No One But My Darlin' (2:05)
  26. 26 Big Moon (2:16)
  27. 27 Monroe's Hornpipe (1:58)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Bill Monroe Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Mandolin, Vocals, Tenor (Vocal)
Doug Kershaw Guitar
Kenny Baker Fiddle, Vocals, Baritone (Vocal)
Don Stover Banjo, Baritone (Vocal)
Grady Martin Electric Guitar
Gordon Terry Fiddle, Bass (Vocal)
Owen Bradley Organ, Piano, Background Vocals
Boudleaux Bryant Bass (Vocal), Vocals
Vassar Clements Fiddle
Charlie Cline Fiddle, Baritone (Vocal)
Bobby Hicks Fiddle, Baritone (Vocal)
Buddy Killen Bass (Vocal), String Bass
Rudy Lyle Banjo, Vocals, Baritone (Vocal)
Bessie Lee Mauldin String Bass
Edd Mayfield Guitar, Vocals, Tenor (Vocal)
Ernest Ernie Newton String Bass
Carter Stanley Guitar
Joe Stuart Banjo, Fiddle, Guitar, Vocals
Howard Watts String Bass
Farris Coursey Drums
Dale Potter Fiddle
James Ora Bowers Banjo
Hubert Davis Banjo
Joe Drumright Banjo
Milton Estes Bass (Vocal), Vocals
Culley Holt Bass (Vocal), String Bass
Birch Monroe Bass (Vocal)
Roland "Sonny" Osborne Banjo
Joel Price Bass (Vocal), Baritone (Vocal), String Bass
Oscar "Shorty" Sheehan String Bass
Jack Shook Guitar
Jim Smoak Banjo
Merle "Red" Taylor Fiddle
Thomas Lee Jackson Jr. Fiddle
Jimmy Selph Guitar
Holt Bass
James "Hal" Smith Fiddle
Jimmy Elrod String Bass
Technical Credits
Bill Monroe Composer
Jimmie Davis Composer
Jimmie Rodgers Composer
Doc Watson Composer
Gordon Terry Artwork, Illustrations
Ph.D. A. Rae Price Composer
Owen Bradley Producer
David Freeman Artwork, Illustrations
William Lee Golden Composer
Ray Henderson Composer
Pete Kuykendall Artwork, Illustrations
Jimmy Martin Illustrations
Bessie Lee Mauldin Composer
Clayton McMichen Composer
Jimmy C. Newman Composer
Hank Williams Composer
Robert K. Oermann Artwork, Illustrations
Sam M. Lewis Composer
Charles K. Wolfe Liner Notes, Artwork, Illustrations, Cover Art
Jorg Siemer Mastering
Neil V. Rosenberg Liner Notes, Artwork, Illustrations, Cover Art, Biographical Information, Song Notes
R.A. Andreas Artwork, Illustrations
Richard Weize Reissue Producer, Tape Research, Cover Art, Biographical Information, Song Notes
Sylke Holtrop Artwork
Gerd Weiler Artwork
Jürgen Feuss Cover Art
Eberhard Finke Artwork, Illustrations
Guy Massey Composer
Tennessean Cover Art
Joe Young Composer
Chester Smith Composer
George Vaughn Composer
Ann Streeter Artwork, Illustrations
Traditional Composer
Slim Bryant Composer
Hazel Houser Composer
Randy Aronson Tape Research
Little Robert Composer
Paul Cohen Producer
Dottie Swan Composer
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