July 1, 2022 Trivia Question

Lester Flatt

This Contest is Closed
The winners are:
Andy Bing
Gary DiGiovanni
Todd Evans
Chris Scheu

click photo to enlarge


When Flatt & Scruggs split up acrimoniously in 1969 (think lawsuits about lots of money) Earl then formed a new band “The Earl Scruggs Revue” with his sons.

Lester also formed a new band, keeping the sponsorship of Martha White Mills, the morning WSM radio show, the bus, and Grand Ole Opry membership.

What was the name of Lester’s band, and why?

  1. Lester Flatt & the Foggy Mountain Boys (keeping a highly valuable brand)
  2. Lester Flatt’s Blue Grass Boys (emphasizing old fashioned bluegrass like Bill Monroe, including hiring away Monroe’s banjo player Vic Jordan and guitar man Roland White)
  3. Lester Flatt & The Nashville Grass (name selected by Martha White Mills after a contest among their customers/fans to name the new band)
  4. Lester Flatt (no need for a band name)
  5. Lester Flatt & the Sparta Flashes (named for Lester’s hometown of Sparta TN)
  6. Lester Flatt’s Little Country Show (Lester when emceeing with Earl always told the audience he hoped they would enjoy “our little country show”)

ANSWER is “#3”

Additional Bowden Comments

Great job by the 4 winners. Martha White ran a contest (announced in Bluegrass Unlimited among other media) and picked the winnner. One other band “not too happy” with the choice was Danny Davis and the Nashville BRASS, a horn band that also included a 5 string banjo played by old Blue Grass Boy Curtis McPeake (hey, banjos are made of brass, too). The Nashville Brass was a “club act” though, not working the usual bluegrass festival circuit. Flatt particularly liked the winning name (Martha White Flour made the choice.)

For the very first few gigs, Lester did use “& the Foggy Mt. Boys” but that was quickly added to the various lawsuits between Lester and Earl/Louise, and a court approved agreement prevented either from using that band name.

Lester’s first printed “souvenir” picture and song book was released before “Nashville Grass” was chosen, so there is a documented “Lester Flatt Show” name for the outfit. (I have a copy of it.)

“The Sparta Flashes” is a joke based on what Bill Monroe called his 1980s banjo player Blake Williams, who was from the same Tennessee hometown as Lester and fiddler Benny Martin — the town of Sparta. Slow-moving Blake was “The Sparta Flash”. Never used by Flatt though.

Lester indeed referred to the Flatt & Scruggs presentation as “our little country show”, but it was never considered as a band name.

And, the very THOUGHT of Lester calling the group “Blue Grass Boys” was way beyond the pale at that time. For Lester had hired away Monroe’s guitar man (Roland White) to play mandolin, and Monroe’s banjo player Vic Jordan. Flatt and Monroe had not yet had the famous reunion where the old feud was dropped. In fact, it was probably burning a little hotter than ever right then!

More Martha White trivia to follow!!!

Dick Bowden

Dick Bowden recently retired after a 45 year career in the paper industry, and moved from Connecticut to Big Indian NY (Ulster County) where he ekes out a precarious existence as a groundskeeper. Dick has been performing bluegrass music on banjo and guitar since 1966 in his home state of Maine, throughout New England, and internationally with The Case Brothers - Martin & Gibson. He has performed for HVBA with the Old Time Bluegrass Singers, and also sent in a squadron of Dick Bowden's Flying Circus. Most recently Dick has played Dobro (tm) with the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Dick has written many articles for Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Today, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass magazine) and HVBA.

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