50 Songs, 2 Hours, 8 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Consider it a “best-of” “best-of,” from one of the all-time greats: Anthology distills Bill Monroe’s 20 fertile years at Decca (1950-1969, plus a stray track from 1981) into a pithy 50 tunes. It can’t come close to including every gem the man has ever cut, but the length is perfect for appreciating in a single (toe-tapping, pulse-quickening, possibly even life-changing) listening session. The early Decca years are widely recognized as Monroe’s golden years as a composer, and the songs here include some of his most enduring compositions, including the classic autobiographical tribute “Uncle Pen,” the barn-burning instrumentals “Roanoke” and “Scotland,” and the timeless four-part gospel harmonies of “Get Down On Your Knees and Pray.” As a bonus, Anthology also showcases the brilliant musicians featured over the years in Monroe’s proving ground of a band, including some — like Jimmy Martin, Vassar Clements, Del McCoury, and Peter Rowan, to name just a few — who would go on to become the leading lights of the genre Monroe invented. A fine primer for bluegrass newbies or a cherry-picked grade-A songlist for diehard fans, this compilation provides an essential portrait of the master in his prime.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Consider it a “best-of” “best-of,” from one of the all-time greats: Anthology distills Bill Monroe’s 20 fertile years at Decca (1950-1969, plus a stray track from 1981) into a pithy 50 tunes. It can’t come close to including every gem the man has ever cut, but the length is perfect for appreciating in a single (toe-tapping, pulse-quickening, possibly even life-changing) listening session. The early Decca years are widely recognized as Monroe’s golden years as a composer, and the songs here include some of his most enduring compositions, including the classic autobiographical tribute “Uncle Pen,” the barn-burning instrumentals “Roanoke” and “Scotland,” and the timeless four-part gospel harmonies of “Get Down On Your Knees and Pray.” As a bonus, Anthology also showcases the brilliant musicians featured over the years in Monroe’s proving ground of a band, including some — like Jimmy Martin, Vassar Clements, Del McCoury, and Peter Rowan, to name just a few — who would go on to become the leading lights of the genre Monroe invented. A fine primer for bluegrass newbies or a cherry-picked grade-A songlist for diehard fans, this compilation provides an essential portrait of the master in his prime.

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2:29
3:05
2:43
2:35
3:15
2:03
2:59
3:10
2:39
1:58
2:10
2:46
2:42
2:06
2:37
2:03
2:20
2:17
2:28
1:53
2:04
2:32
2:15
2:09
2:28
2:13
2:22
2:13
2:38
2:22
3:03
2:27
2:30
2:24
2:11
2:23
2:20
2:10
2:21
2:03
2:39
2:33
2:18
3:41
3:13
3:17
3:02
3:05
2:33
4:42

About Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys

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, playing precisely and rapidly, switching solos and singing in a plaintive, high lonesome voice. Not only did he invent the very sound of the music, Monroe was the mentor for several generations of musicians. Over the years, Monroe's band hosted all of the major bluegrass artists of the '50s and '60s, including Flatt & Scruggs, Reno & Smiley, Vassar Clements, Carter Stanley, and Mac Wiseman. Though the lineup of the Blue Grass Boys changed over the years, Monroe always remained devoted to bluegrass in its purest form. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Top Songs by Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys

Top Albums by Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys

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