Trivia Question for Dick Bowden – And Others

Andy tries to stump the expert, but doesn’t succeed. Hope he tries again. Hope anyone will try again.

This question was submitted by Andy Bing, the winner of the June 19th Trivia Contest. Although it is directed AT Dick Bowden, it is open to all players.

Trivia Bonus

Name the first resonator guitarist (e.g., Dobro[tm] player) to record a resonator guitar break on a recording with Bill Monroe that was issued under Bill’s name. For bonus bragging rights, name the second.

This contest is closed. Dick Bowden RULES!”

Answer and Additional comments from Andy Bing

1. Barbara Mandrell, on an LP Bill did with stars of the Grand Ole Opry released in 1984 called Bill Monroe And Friends. The song was My Rose Of Old Kentucky. See Rosenberg and Wolfe, The Music Of Bill Monroe 228 (Illinois 2007).

2. Mike Auldridge, on an LP that Bill did with other bluegrass musicians released in 1985 called Bill Monroe And The Stars Of The Bluegrass Hall Of Fame. The song was Remember The Cross.

I think most people will be surprised by the fact that anyone ever took a dobro break on a Bill Monroe recording given Bill’s expressed refusal to have one in his band. And perhaps even more surprised by the fact that Barbara Mandrell, rather than Josh Graves, or Mike Auldridge, or Jerry Douglas, or one of the other well known bluegrass dobro players, was the first dobroist to record with Bill. In addition to her great voice, for which she is best known, Barbara Mandrell is a virtuoso on several instruments including the pedal steel and dobro.

Ed. Note: Winner wasawarded the “HVBA Official Bragging Rights Award.”


5 Responses

  • Note I am answering before noon Friday July 3. Really Andy, you’re going to have to try harder. Dobro on a Bill Monroe record? That’s so rare that it’s easy. One thinks first of any records Bill made with “other musicians” as guests, and that boils down to about three.

    First were the mostly awful studio recordings in the early 50s intended for a Jimmy Rodgers’ “salute” set of 78s. Perhaps some Dobro player did the famous “blue yodel” intro to a song or two on an old time steel guitar? Maybe Shot Jackson? Good guess, but nope. Not even an electric steel. Electric guitar, yes…

    Next was the double LP from 1973 cut live at Bill’s Bean Blossom festival. Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mt Boys, and Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass were on it. But, Jimmy didn’t have a Dobro in his band quite yet at that time. Flatt did (Charlie Nixon) but Charlie didn’t take a break on the 3 cuts that were on the LP – he’s credited but inaudible.

    Next was “Bill Monroe and Friends” from 1983, where Decca probably thought Monroe was dying (he was fairly sick at that time) so they had a bunch of Top 40 country stars record with him, with extremely awkward spoken introductions. Most of the cuts were pretty weak; I only liked the one with Ricky Skaggs and the one with Mel Tillis. The less said about the John Hartford duet, the better. SUPER-star Barbara Mandrell (remember her?) cut “My Rose of Old Kentucky” with Bill, and being famed as a multi-instrumentalist (remember her electric steel and saxophone performances on tv?) took a break on her resonator guitar. So forgettable that I forgot about it until now.

    The next/other/last “guest star” LP was at least confined to bluegrass acts. “Bill Monroe and Stars of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame” from 1985. The Osborne Brothers didn’t have Gene Wooten on Dobro at that time, so that left only one other reasonable candidate. The Seldom Scene did “Remember the Cross” with Bill, and Mike Auldridge took the first break on his Dobro ™.

    Please leave my prize in the hollow tree at the end of our dirt road. I declare a moratorium on Stump the Master until August, so you all can think of tougher questions.

  • At first he didn’t want one in the band I remember that from his autobiography. Was it Josh Graves or maybe Tut Taylor?

  • Well done Dick! Your bragging rights are secure through August. They will be left in the location you specified.

  • Mike, Monroe liked the blues, and he thought Josh Graves had a good grip on the blues, but he didn’t feel Dobro ™ belonged in his Blue Grass Boys. Never had one. Josh used to say he had a good relationship with Monroe, but that Monroe was clear he didn’t think the Dobro ™ belonged in “his” blue grass music.

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