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Father Of Bluegrass
Bill Monroe

By Douglas B. Green

    Where the 1930s was unquestionably country music's most explosive, creative decade, the 1940s was for the most part a decade of refinement and consolidation. One band, however, maintained that creative head of steam, and excited vast audiences with their fiery, passionate music. That band, of course, was Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys.

They had two fine solo singers, a rafter-reaching yodeler, three of the top instrumentalists in country music, consistently great vocals, powerful songs, excellent comedy... all the while shaping and creating the form known as bluegrass, the music named for this band.

Bill Monroe's long and still thriving career has been detailed often; it is a marvelous struggle against personal and musical adversity, a saga of flinty determination and the surprising and gratifying success of a purely personal musical style of intensity and integrity. The history of the comings and goings of such great musicians and entertainers as Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Stringbean, Chubby Wise and many others has also been told many times.

Still, it is important to realize that these were formative years for Bill Monroe and his music; he was still evolving his unique band sound after having left the extremely successful duet with his brother Charlie known as the Monroe Brothers, one of the most popular and creative groups of the 1930s. Bill's first solo recordings, for RCA in 1940, are a study in transition from the old duet style to this evolving band sound, a sound which had advanced considerably by his first sessions for Columbia in 1945.

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