Frank Buchanan – another Blue Grass Boy passes

Another bluegrass icon has passed.

Frank Buchanan died Wednesday, July 4th, at the age of 78.  He was a member of Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys in the early 1960’s.

In a Facebook posting, banjo legend Raymond Fairchild wrote:

“A very dear friend of mine passed away this morning, Mr. Frank Buchanan. A friend for close to 50 years, he and I played many shows together. In my opinion he was one of the best lead singers that was ever with Bill Monroe. A legend in his time. I will miss you Frank. ”

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area website reports Buchanan was born in Mitchell County, North Carolina. He moved to Nashville when he was 25 and landed a job playing with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. All of the Blue Grass Boys were given a special belt buckle, and Buchanan was proud to tell people “mine is number 37.”

In addition to performing on the Grand Ole Opry, Frank Buchanan recorded 18 songs with Bill Monroe. He sang lead on The Blue Ridge Mountain Blues and wrote Maggie Valley Waltz. The website also reports Buchanan performed with many bands and musicians, including Raymond Fairchild, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Jimmy Dickens and Porter Wagoner.

In February 2011, Rhonda Vincent posted a photo of her and Buchanan on her website. She wrote:

“Exciting to meet Frank Buchanan today in Asheville, NC at Bluegrass First Class!

Frank told me about performing with Bill Monroe and seeing my dad perform in the 1960’s.

I enjoyed meeting him very much.”

In 2008, a benefit was held at the Old Rock School in Valdese to help Buchanan pay mounting medical bills.

Funeral services will be held July 7th.  Visitation will be at 1:00 p.m. Saturday at the Webb Funeral Home chapel on Roan Road in Spruce Pine, with burial at 2:00 p.m. in Liberty Hill Cemetery.

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About the Author

Dan Cates

Dan is News Director at WSPA and WYCW television stations in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He authored the book “Are The Children Safe” and has written for various publications, including Bluegrass Unlimited. In addition to songwriting, he plays mandolin and guitar.

  • Darren Sullivan-Koch

    …is it safe to assume that he played guitar with Monroe? The article doesn’t say.

  • Dan Cates

    Yes, Mr. Buchanan played guitar with Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys in the early 60’s. He was also a great mandolin picker.