Of all of the many mandolin masters that would be on a list of those to honor Bill Monroe in this, his centennial year, is Frank Wakefield.
Wakefield hasn’t let us down, as I learned yesterday.
A Tribute to Bill Monroe is the title of his 16-track acknowledgement of Monroe’s works recently released by Patuxent Records.
Notwithstanding the inclusion of Blue Moon of Kentucky, Wakefield has chosen some less obvious songs, such as When You are Lonely, Letter from My Darling, When the Golden Leaves Begin to Fall and The One I Love is Gone to go alongside the more-likely instrumental barn-burners such as Raw Hide, Pike County Breakdown, Blue Grass Stomp and Wheel Hoss.
A couple of Gospel numbers – A Beautiful Life and Swing Low Sweet Chariot – add nicely to the mix.
As well as providing some vocals himself, Wakefield has solicited the vocal assistance of Audie Blaylock, Tom Ewing and Tom Mindte. Providing instrumental support are Michael Cleveland [fiddles], Mark Delaney [banjo], Ewing [guitar], Marshall Wilborn [bass], Mindte [2nd mandolin] and Taylor Baker [3rd mandolin].