On August 5, 1924, Darrell ‘Pee Wee’ Lambert was born in Thacker, West Virginia.
Like many Appalachian entertainers of his day, he found that music was an abiding relief from coal mining.
Lambert has been described as “a charter member” of the Stanley Brothers’ band. He played the mandolin and he sang in a high, lonesome style in the manner of his hero Bill Monroe.
He worked with Roy Sykes’ Blue Ridge Mountain Boys prior to World War II, and after the war Carter Stanley joined Sykes when demobilised from the Army. It was there that Lambert and Stanley first met.
Lambert was featured on all the Stanley Brothers’ Rich-R-Tone recording sessions, singing tenor on Death Is Only a Dream and I Can Tell You the Time, recorded at their first session. However he is perhaps best remembered for singing lead on the brothers’ version of Molly and Tenbrooks.
A radio favorite of the Stanley Brothers was Rose of Old Kentucky, lauded for the lead singing of ‘Pee Wee’ Lambert.
He participated in three of the four Columbia Records recording sessions, starting on March 1, 1949, when they recorded three lovely trios, A Vision of Mother, The White Dove and The Angels Are Singing (In Heaven Tonight). Lambert sang the high baritone part in what was a new arrangement for trio singing.
In 1951 he joined up with Curley Parker, a Kentucky musical virtuoso, having earlier left the Stanley Brothers when Carter Stanley went to work with Bill Monroe. Lambert re-joined the Stanley Brothers early in 1952 for a couple of months.
Lambert and Parker became co-leaders of the Bluegrass Pardners, later the Pine Ridge Boys, and kept the group going for the next decade; membership included banjoist J.D. Crowe, at just 16 years of age.
The Bluegrass Pardners / Pine Ridge Boys recorded a handful of singles and EPs on the Rich-R-Tone label, which they sold out of the trunk of their car after their shows.
Darrell Lambert passed away on June 25, 1965.
In 2012 he was posthumously awarded the IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Award.
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.
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