May 21, 2021 Trivia Contest

This Contest is Closed
The winner is Andy Bing

Andy fooled all of us. He entered the contest at the very last minute and totally nailed it. Hail to the Winner!!!!



Now this is a hard one. Deep catalog. Way down in the bottom of the pickle crock under the soapstone. The winner gets to post a Stump the Master question.

Select the two musicians who were members of all 3 of the following bands: the Blue Grass Boys, the Foggy Mountain Boys, and the Clinch Mountain Boys (that’s Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs and the Stanley Brothers/Ralph Stanley).

Hint: one of these men recorded with all 3 bands, the other recorded with only the Stanleys.

Hint 2: we are not counting fiddlers Howdy Forrester and Benny Martin who appeared as studio musicians only, on a couple of Stanley cuts in the 1950s – they were never actual Clinch Mountain Boys. Otherwise they would count as they both played with all 3 bands.

A. Curley Lambert – mandolin
B. Joe Meadows – fiddle
C. Curtis McPeake – banjo
D. Chick Stripling – bass
E. George Shuffler – guitar
F. Art Wooten – fiddle
G. Carter Stanley – guitar
H. Ralph Stanley – banjo
I. Charlie Cline – banjo, fiddle, guitar
J. Joe Stuart – banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin
K. Bobby Hicks – fiddle, banjo, bass
L. Ernie Newton — bass


Consolation Prize Question (regular prize only, you may not play Stump the Master)

Which of the following played in TWO of the above bands?

A. Curley Seckler – mandolin
B. Curley Lambert – mandolin/guitar
C. Joe Meadows – fiddle
D. Charlie Cline – fiddle/guitar

ANSWER is “D and F”

Additional Bowden Comments
Ed. Note: Dick Bowden’s following comments were submitted before Andy Bing’s response was tallied.

The old Trivia Master is pleased to know that he hasat least one topic that stumped the HVBA. The answers are D and F. Chick Stripling and Art Wooten.

Chick Stripling was an old vaudevillian. Chick danced the soft shoe, played fiddle and bass fiddle, and told borderline off-color jokes. He played with Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. He played with Flatt & Scruggs. He did not record with either of those bands. His last exposure in bluegrass was with the Stanley Brothers in the early 1960s. Carter Stanley used to introduce him as “clean from Georgia, where they raise pea-nuts and good red hogs”. He recorded with the Stanleys quite a bit. One record even featured his solo on “Chickie’s Old Gray Mule” where he sang, and brayed like a mule. I’ve also heard him fiddle the song in a tape of a live show by the Stanleys at Antioch College. The college kids (folk music club) sound very puzzled by Chick, not knowing whether to laugh and applaud, boo, or get up and leave. A couple of times Carter Stanley had to pull on Chick’s leash a bit to get him to shut up. On the other hand, Carter played a very effective “straight man” in Chick’s comedy routine, most notably in the “Propaganda” skit. The most famous tidbit about Chick was that he drank and tended to get quite rowdy. On the Stanley Brothers’ big tour of Europe in a 1965 package show with Cousin Emmy, Roscoe Holcomb and the New Lost City Ramblers, Chick got so rowdy that back in the hotel room, Carter Stanley basically beat the living crap out of Chick. Carter had just reached his limit with Chick’s shenanigans. Chick was taken to the airport and sent back to the USA all black and blue. Mike Seeger of the New Lost City Ramblers played bass fiddle on the rest of the Stanleys’ shows in Europe!

Art Wooten is the original Blue Grass Boys fiddler from 1939. He just missed out on Monroe’s first recording session — Tommy Magness was fiddling on that. Art came back to the Blue Grass Boys for their second recording session. Art’s sound is more “old time” fiddle, but he also helped develop some characteristic bluegrass licks. In 1949 he was fiddling with Flatt & Scruggs, and played on one of their Mercury recording sessions. Probably his greatest fiddling with the Foggy Mountain Boys was on the very swingy tunes in E and F, “Baby Blues Eyes” and “Why Don’t You Tell Me So”. A year or so later Art was fiddling with the young Stanley Brothers, replacing their first fiddler the REAL old man Leslie Keith. Art was recruited to help teach the young brothers how the music business needed to be handled. He was considered an “old pro”.

Now, the other contenders:

A. Curly Lambert: long time mandolin and guitar player and baritone singer with the Stanley Brothers in the 1950s and 60s. Surprisingly he was also a Foggy Mountain Boy for a few weeks or months during a Curly Seckler interregnum. He sang on Flatt & Scruggs’ 1959 hit “Cabin on the Hill”. Never was a Blue Grass Boy though.

B. Joe Meadows: Joe fiddled with Monroe in the early 1950s but did not record. He also worked with the Stanley Brothers on the radio and on their terrific Mercury recording sessions in the mid 1950s. He would have LOVED to be a Foggy Mountain Boy but it was never to be.

C. Curtis McPeake played banjo in the Foggy Mountain Boys several times when Earl was on the injured list from car and airplane accidents. Around 1960 he was a Blue Grass Boy and cut several sessions with Monroe. He reached his greatest fame playing banjo with Danny Davis & the Nashville Brass.

E. George Shuffler played with the Stanleys and the Clinch Mountain Boys on bass fiddle and guitar and helped invent the “cross picking” guitar style. He was never a Blue Grass Boy or Foggy Mountain Boy.

G. Carter Stanley of course was boss of the Clinch Mountain Boys. But in 1951 he and Ralph broke up their act briefly, and Carter spent a summer as a Blue Grass Boy, recording a highly regarded session with Monroe. Bill thought the world of Carter, even though just a year or two earlier they had a terrific feud about the Stanleys copying Monroe’s sound. (They learned Monroe’s arrangement of “Molly & Tenbrooks” from listening to the Grand Ole Opry and released a recording of it BEFORE Monroe’s record came out! When Columbia signed the Stanleys in 1949 Monroe left Columbia records in quite a huff.) Carter HATED Lester Flatt with a passion and once got in a fist fight with Lester on a Bristol TN sidewalk, and decked him.

H. Ralph Stanley was partners with brother Carter in running the Clinch Mountain Boys. During the Brothers’ hiatus while Carter was a Blue Grass Boy, Ralph played a very few shows as the Blue Grass Boys’ banjoist. Monroe asked him to join the band but Ralph demurred. Earl Scruggs personally taught Ralph how to lay the 3 finger style in 1948, riding in Ralph’s dad’s car from a rained out gig.

I. Charlie Cline was a versatile Blue Grass Boy in the early 1950s playing fiddle, banjo and guitar. He also sang baritone in some terrific trios with Monroe and Jimmy Martin. In the mid 1950s he was a Clinch Mountain Boy with the Stanleys playing mostly Merle Travis style guitar breaks.

J. Joe Stuart was another versatile Blue Grass Boy, playing ALL the instruments at one poing or another (even mandolin when Monroe broke his collar bone in a car accident). He never played with the Clinch Mt Boys nor the Foggy Mt Boys. He played with Monroe through the 1950s, 60s and 70s off and on.

K. Bobby Hicks was a North Carolina musical wunderkind. Originally hired by Monroe to play bass fiddle while just a teenager, soon he was playing fiddle and banjo too as needed. By the 1960s Bobby had gone to Las Vega and was playing Western Swing in the casino lounge world. In the 1980s he “came back” to Nashville and worked years in Ricky Skaggs’ band. Never with the Stanleys nor Flatt & Scruggs.

L. Ernie Newton: a leading studio musician in Nashville, and one of the earliest and best bass fiddle men. He played on RECORDINGS with all 3 bands, but was only officially a Blue Grass Boy because he appeared with Monroe’s band in the famous 1955 Gannaway movies of Grand Ole Opry acts. In those movies he also played with many other acts too, including Grandpa Jones and others. Ernie came out of pop music, from Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians in the 1940s. You can still see the great Gannaway movies, in FULL blaring color, on the RFD cable TV network on Saturday nights. You can see his several appearances as a Blue Grass Boy.

I’ve already nearly answered the bonus question. Answer A: Curly Seckler is most well known for his years with Flatt & Scruggs as a Foggy Mountain Boy, where he made scores of recordings, and hundreds if not thousands of radio and tv shows and live shows. He played mandolin and guitar and sang tenor breath-for-breath with Lester Flatt. However, before Flatt & Scruggs got themselves fully established in Nashville, Curly left them for a year or so around 1951-1952 to play with the Stanleys as a Clinch Mountain Boy. Reportedly, he and Carter did not see eye to eye, so Curly returned to Flatt & Scruggs by 1953.

This trivia question goes to show just how small and tight-knit the bluegrass world was for 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.

3 Responses

  • This answer was submitted by Wayne Fugate:

    I have no idea (as in zero) but I’ll guess B, D & I

    I actually enjoy these when I have the time to think
    them through. Please keep ’em coming.

  • Art Wooten and Chick Stripling played with all three bands and Wooten recorded with all three.
    The consolation prize answer is that all four named pickers played with at least two of the bands.

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