From October 1, 2010 through to the end of September 2011, we will, each day, celebrate the life of Bill Monroe by sharing information about him and those people who are associated with his life and music career. This information will include births and deaths; recording sessions; single, LP and CD release dates; and other interesting tidbits. Richard F. Thompson is responsible for the research and compilation of this information. We invite readers to share any tidbits, photos or memories you would like us to include.
- November 3, 1926 Raymond Quarles ’Ray’ Edenton born Mineral, Virginia. Edenton, a multi-instrumentalist, added the baritone vocal part to three quartets recorded on May 10, 1962. *
- November 3, 1931 Francis Leon Bray born Champaign, Illinois. Bray, playing bass, filled-in with his brother Harley and Red Cravens for a date as Blue Grass Boys in June 1958 and for a few occasions during the summer of 1960. All these dates were at Bean Blossom, Indiana. **
- November 3, 1947 Single released – How Will I Explain About You?/Blue Grass Special (Columbia 20384, 37960, 78rpm)
- November 3, 1958 The recording of Scotland (Decca 30739) peaked at number 27 on the Billboard country singles music chart. ***
- November 3, 1966 Recording session – This late-night session produced two songs – both Monroe solos – and an instrumental; Pretty Fair Maiden in the Garden, Log Cabin in the Lane and Paddy on the Turnpike. The personnel involved were Bill Monroe, Peter Rowan, Lamar Grier, James Monroe, Richard Greene and Buddy Spicher. Harry Silverstein was the producer.
* Edenton was a member of Nashville’s A-team of session musicians. His uncanny ear for rhythm made the art of playing rhythm guitar an untapped resource to be used by record producers for almost 40 years. A member of the Musicians Hall of Fame, he was listed as the “leader” at the recording session mentioned above.
** Bray, is best known as a member of one of the more talented, though lesser-known, traditional bluegrass bands of the early 1960s, The Bray Brothers and Red Cravens. They were big favorites on radio station WHOW in Clinton, Illinois. Their music has aptly been described as prairie bluegrass; the title of their second album (Rounder Records). An earlier album of homemade radio performances, 419 W. Main (also on Rounder), is also well worth looking for.
The Bray Brothers served an apprenticeship as Monroe’s house band in his Bean Blossom festivals.
*** The recording of the haunting tune, with its twin fiddles (played by Kenny Baker and Bobby Hicks) reminiscent of bagpipes, was made April 8, 1958.