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Bill Monroe: Anthology

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Album Review

So much has been said about the founding father of bluegrass music that it would be nice if there was an all-encompassing collection of Bill Monroe's music to accompany the legend. Although the almost-correctly titled Anthology comes close, there is still a wealth of Columbia and RCA-Victor recordings missing from this Decca-centric collection, which runs chronologically from 1950 to 1969 (with one final track from 1981). Unfortunately, this means that the classic lineup of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, with fiddler Chubby Wise and bassist Howard Watts, is not represented. Still, bluegrass luminaries Vassar Clements, Jimmy Martin, Kenny Baker, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, and many others, all drifted in and out of the Blue Grass Boys during their twenty-some years, and make appearances on classic tracks like "Sally Goodin," "Uncle Pen," "Blue Moon of Kentucky," and "New Mule Skinner Blues." All told, this may be the perfect collection of Monroe's work for Decca, but it falls only slightly short of being the Bill Monroe Anthology.


Born: 13 September 1911 in Rosine, KY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Bill Monroe is the father of bluegrass. He invented the style, invented the name, and for the great majority of the 20th century, embodied the art form. Beginning with his Blue Grass Boys in the '40s, Monroe defined a hard-edged style of country that emphasized instrumental virtuosity, close vocal harmonies, and a fast, driving tempo. The musical genre took its name from the Blue Grass Boys, and Monroe's music forever has defined the sound of classical bluegrass -- a five-piece acoustic string band,...
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