Longest Serving Bluegrass Sideman – New Trivia

This Contest is Closed
No Winners this Week

FEBRUARY 10, 2023 TRIVIA QUESTION

Of the following, who was the longest serving sideman in the same band?

A. Kenny Baker fiddling with Bill Monroe

B. Uncle Josh Graves on Dobro with Flatt & Scruggs

C. Allen Shelton on banjo with Jim & Jesse

D. Jason Carter fiddling with Del McCoury

E. Barry Bales on bass fiddle with Allison Krauss

F. Jimmy Gaudreau on mandolin with Tony Rice

ANSWER is “E”

Additional Bowden Comments

This one turned out to even fool ME!!!

Kenny Baker at one time was famous as the longest serving sideman, 27 years with Monroe. But he’s been beat.

Uncle Josh Graves played Dobro with Flatt & Scruggs for 14 years, right till Flatt & Scruggs broke up in 1969. He took the Dobro job immediately with Lester Flatt & the Nashville Grass, but within a few years moved over to playing Dobro with the Earl Scruggs Revue.

Allen Shelton played Banjo with Jim and Jesse for a few years in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Much later he rejoined the Virginia Boys for a few years, but since they already had a banjo picker, Allen played the banjo/Dobro (held upright and picked like a banjo, but with a Dobro-like body.

Originally when I wrote this question, I was SURE Jason Carter was the longest serving sideman. I met him at a Connecticut festival the first year he traveled with Del McCoury, and he was 19 at that time. Earlier this month Jason celebrated his 50th birthday (and he share Feb 1 as birthday with Del!). That makes Jason among the record holders with 31+ years and counting.

I threw Barry Bales into the multiple choice answers because almost anyone who likes Alison Krauss knows about Barry’s long service in Union Station. When I did my research to nail down how many years exactly, I was shocked to learn he joined Alison a year earlier than Jason joined Del. So Barry is 32+ years and counting. Alison + Union Station haven’t broken up; she’s just off pocketing big money with Robert Plante of Led Zeppelin — their second tour together. Barry is the winner!

Jimmy Gaudreau played mandolin in the Tony Rice Unit for several years, but nowhere near 30 years!

Even Flatt & Scruggs were partners for only 21 years. The Stanley Brothers were partners only 20 years. 30+ years in the same band is a LONG TIME.

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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