July 15 Trivia Question – Martha White Flour Co.

This Contest is Closed
There were NO winners….too hard?

Martha White Flour Co. of Tennessee, makers of Martha White Flour and Corn Meal (“with Hot Rize!”) and Cake Mixes, received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the IBMA.

Martha White sponsored bluegrass bands at various times over the years. This honor gave those bands a tremendous “leg up” in their careers. Usually it meant they got a bus (!!!!) to travel in, appearances on Martha White’s sponsored portion of the Grand Ole Opry, and lots of corporate support in the form of advertising, and coupons and giveaways of Martha White products at live shows.

Martha White has never been well known in the Northeast, but believe me, down south they are a BIG DEAL! Just about every home has its bags of Martha White baking products. (Although by now, Martha White Co has been purchased by Pillsbury.)


Which of the following bluegrass bands was NOT sponsored at some point by Martha White?

  1. Flatt & Scruggs & the Foggy Mt. Boys
  2. Lester Flatt & the Nashville Grass
  3. Allison Krauss + Union Station
  4. Rhonda Vincent & the Rage
  5. Jim & Jesse & the Virginia Boys Hot Rize
  6. Hot Rize
  7. Reno & Smiley & the Tennessee Cut Ups
  8. The Stanley Brothers & the Clinch Mt. Boys
  9. The Lonesome River Band
  10. Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys

Possible Answers:
1. c through j
2. g through j
3. b, d, f, h
4. c, e, g, i
5. f through j
6. None of the above, ALL were sponsored by Martha White at some time

The Answer is 5 f-j

Additional Bowden Comments

Hopefully EVERYBODY knows that Flatt & Scruggs picked up Martha White’s sponsorship in 1953. This enabled their move “back” to Nashville. It also led to their membership on the Grand Ole Opry, outweighing Bill Monroe’s opposition.

Lester inherited the Martha White sponsorship after he and Earl broke up in 1969.

Alison Krauss enjoyed Martha’s White’s sponsorship for a couple of years, 1996-97. In fact, I saw Alison at a live show in Tarrytown NY (Del McCoury also on the bill) when she traveled in a big bus all decked out in Martha White signage!

Rhonda Vincent enjoyed the Martha White sponsorship for awhile in the early 2000s; again riding in a big bus with Martha White signage. Rhonda even did commercials in her show and gave out coupons for Martha White products, just like the old days. I believe her own blueberry muffin recipe got printed up on Martha White flour bags.

In the late 50s and early 60s Martha White was enjoying great success using bluegrass music to promote the brand. Jim & Jesse became the “#2 Unit” for Martha White, at the same time as F&S. J&J had a bus and tv/radio shows sponsored by Martha White.

None of the remaining acts ever got into a deal with Martha White. One would THINK that Hot Rize might have, being named for the famous “secret ingredients” in Martha White flour and meal. “Hot Rize” was basically a bit of baking soda and baking powder included right in the flour and meal, inside the bag. Hot Rize even took it one step further; their alter-ego Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers were named for Martha White’s brand of dog food! Yup, it was Trailblazer Dog Food!

Reno & Smiley enjoyed the sponsorship of Kroger grocery stores.

The Stanley Brothers’ most famous sponsor was Jim Walters Shell Homes. Yes, just the “outside” of a home, you finished and furnished the inside on your own. But as Carter Stanley said, it was better than paying rent.

I’m unaware of any sponsor for Lonesome River Band.

Bill Monroe sponsored by Martha White??? After the fight he put up against F&S coming on the Opry at Martha White’s demand? Not too likely.

Martha White was a BIG DEAL in getting bluegrass music to a wider audience.

I bought ONE bag of Martha White flour once, it showed up ONE TIME in a Connecticut grocery store. I was so excited! Sadly when I opened the bag it was full of little black bugs that had spread all through my cupboards. I had to strip them and vacuum them clean.

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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