Serious Monroe fans know Southern Flavor as the title track of an album released in 1988, itself a mournful instrumental of the sort that he excelled in creating. As it happened, Bill got a notion to write words for the tune, and asked his friend Guy Stevenson, who was a former bass player in his band, to write them for him. Guy called on his friend DeWayne Mize for help, and the pair knocked out the lyrics.
Sadly, Monroe never found the opportunity to re-record the song. He suffered a stroke a few years later and died in 1996.
Prompted by a suggestion from her dad, Buller has assembled a session band consisting of former Blue Grass Boys to recut Southern Flavor as Bill Guy and DeWayne had reconceived it, including three that recorded on the original cut.
Becky played fiddle, along with Buddy Spicher and Michael Feagan who tracked it with Monroe, and sang it as a duet with Peter Rowan, who also played guitar. Blake Williams played banjo, as he did for Bill in ’88. Roland White handled the mandolin and Ernie Sykes bass.
She says that its release is bittersweet.
“Guy and I met at one of the International Bluegrass Music Museum’s Pioneers of Bluegrass Gatherings during the ROMP festival several years ago. We hit it off and have written together several times since then. I’m honored he’d let me take a stab at this one.
On a sadder note, we lost DeWayne Mize very unexpectedly just a few days after we cut these tracks, so he never had a chance to hear them. I want to dedicate this to both him and Mr. Monroe.”
Here’s a sample of her track:
Stephen Mougin at Dark Shadows says that there is just one last harmony vocal to lay down, and then he’ll set to mixing and mastering. That means we should see ‘Tween Earth And Sky sometime this summer.
Both Southern Flavor and an earlier single, Nothin’ To You, can be downloaded for radio play at Airplay Direct.