EARL TAYLOR Folk Songs From The Blue Grass

Sunday, February 17, 2013

On April 3, 1959 Alan Lomax, newly returned to the U.S. after spending nine years collecting folk songs in Europe, put on a folk concert at New York City's Carnegie Hall. "Folksong '59" brought together a diverse selection of performers such Jimmie Driftwood, Muddy Waters, Pete Seeger and his brother Mike, the Selah Jubilee and Drexel gospel singers, and Memphis Slim. The event even featured a rock and roll group, the Cadillacs, who Lomax encouraged the audience to listen to while "lay(ing) down their prejudices", eliciting some resistance and boos. By all accounts the highlight of the evening was the appearance of a young Baltimore based bluegrass band, Earl Taylor and the Stoney Mountain Boys.
Earl Taylor was born June 17, 1929 in Rose Hill, Virginia and like so many southern youngsters of his generation fell under the spell of the Monroe Brothers. Taking up several instruments he settled on the mandolin in the mold of his idol Bill Monroe whose post-Monroe Brothers band the Blue Grass Boys formed a pattern of imitation followed by countless southern musicians. From 1946 on he played in various regional groups across many states. In the mid fifties he played for a time in Jimmy Martin's band before settling in Baltimore and forming his own band to work local clubs. It was he and the Stoney Mountain Boys' phenomenal performance representing bluegrass (Bill Monroe was offered the gig and refused!) at "Folksong '59" that really put Earl's group on the map. Years later Taylor recalled to Tom Ewing "When we would end a number, I knew that it would take five minutes before we could go into another one - that was how much rarin' and screamin' and hair-pullin' there was."
Riding high on the success of their Carnegie Hall appearance the group recorded "Folk Songs From The Bluegrass" for United Artists the same year, with notes by Lomax. The record was probably aimed more at the folk revival crowd than at the working class southerners who frequented the Stoney Mountain Boys' Baltimore area bar gigs, but it captured the band in all its rough and rowdy glory. The LP contains seventeen tracks of incredibly hard, edgy bluegrass, the kind that seems to have in the modern day all but disappeared.
At the time of both the Lomax concert and the LP the Stoney Mountain Boys consisted of Taylor on mandolin on lead and tenor vocals, Sam "Porky" Hutchins on guitar and vocals, Walter Hensley on banjo, Vernon "Boatwhistle" McIntyre on bass, and Curtis Cody on fiddle. All, with the exception of Cody, are names that appear throughout the history of bluegrass' first generation and worked with many top bands. Nonetheless, this incarnation of the Stoney Mountain Boys ultimately failed to live up to the promise of its short lived success and by 1965 Taylor had disbanded and rejoined Jimmy Martin, and a year later spent some time with Flatt and Scruggs. He performed and recorded sporadically (sometimes with partner Jim McCall) for the rest of his life, often battling ill health and tragedy (the death of his son) before passing away at the age of 53 on January 28, 1984. While recordings such as this LP and his early Rebel singles are highly regarded by collectors, his subsequent recordings never really matched the quality and intensity of his earlier work and Taylor never achieved the legacy of his contemporaries.
Includes jacket and label scans.


1. Cripple Creek
2. Ruby
3. White Dove
4. Ho, Honey, Ho
5. Foggy Mountain Special
6. In The Pines
7. John Henry
8. Mama Blues
9. Little Maggie
10. Flint Hill Special
11. The Children Are Cryin'
12. Lee Highway Blues
13. The Prisoner's Song
14. Race Between A Locomotive And A Model T
15. Pretty Polly
16. Rabbit On A Log
17. Molly And Ten Brooks

*download here*


iggy said...

What a treat, Lefty. Thanks so much. Really love Earl and the Boys. All good wishes,


Paco's brother said...

As always a so good music.

Bill Martin said...

Lefty, what a super lp !!!!. One of the finest I have ever heard, thank you, Bill

anomia said...

Wow, you've done so much for the community that enjoys your shares; but, I have to ask would a re-post of the 2 vol.s - 16 Great CANADIAN COUNTRY SONGS albums be possible?

the mediafire links no longer work and I'm sure there are others like me who missed it first time round…


Lonesome Lefty said...

Hey folks, thanks for the kind words on this and other recent posts.
anomia: I just tested the links on the Canadian Country collections and they seem to be fine. Maybe they were just down for maintenance when you tried to download them? Give them another try and let me know if they work...

Unknown said...

I'd really, really love to get that Earl Taylor record to my wife! And listen to it myself, of course. The link isn't working - can anything be done to bring it back?

annidug said...

It seems an exception; folks music offered by bluegrass artists. Well whatever but I must say Earl and the Boys really done a great job. My friend is also a big fan of Earl Taylor’s recordings. When you will find it Lefty, and then please share with me too.

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