Gladys Lee Stacy Flatt was born July 29, 1915, in White County, Tennessee. She married Lester Flatt when she was only 16 years old. He was only 17. The couple shared an interest in music. For a while they played together as a duo, entertaining in the Roanoke, Virginia area.
In 1943 they joined Charlie Monroe & His Kentucky Pardners – Gladys Flatt used the stage name ‘Bobbie Jean’ – Lester played mandolin and sang tenor.
The band worked on the Noon Day Jamboree program, which was featured on WSJS Radio in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and other stations in the locality. Some transcriptions from their shows were released by County Records (Co 538 and Co 539).
When, in March 1945, Lester Flatt joined Bill Monroe, Gladys Flatt quit direct involvement in the music business and tended to domestic matters. For over three years from September 1972 she was mother to a very young Marty Stuart, who was at that time recruited to play with Lester’s Nashville Grass.
In more recent times she has served as mentor and adviser to Mike Brumfield, the husband to Gladys Flatt’s grand-daughter Tammy.
Her name lives on in the Flatt & Scruggs discography – and on some of the very many albums on which the duo’s songs are featured. For a while Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs used their wives’ maiden names – Gladys Stacey and Louise Certain – on some songs for copyright purposes.
- Charlie Monroe & his Kentucky Pardners
- Charlie Monroe on the noonday Jamboree 1944 (County, 1974)
- The Songs of Charlie Monroe (County, 1974)
A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.
He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.
If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to receive more just like it.