Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rocky Top

A great friend of mine told me once that I am not eclectic but only confused. He was referring to my tastes in music as it can be all over the board. If I had to blame someone, it would have to be my own love for music and my father's sun bleached eight tracks that lived on the dashboard of that green Pontiac.

And out of all the music that has reached me over the years, none of it gets to me as much as old bluegrass due to past winters spent in the mountains of Colorado as a boy. There was an old bar that sat within a small village called the Timbermill and the bands booked within it ranged from country to bluegrass to blues. And the theme song of this pub would be the all time classic, Rocky Top made popular by the Osborne Brothers and written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.

The Osborne Brothers, Sonny and Bobby, were born in Roark, Kentucky in the 1930s but grew up near Dayton, Ohio. Bobby was drafted in 1952 and during that time his brother Sonny went to work with Bill Monroe.

When Bobby returned in 1953 the brothers would team up with Jimmy Martin, performing at radio stations in both Knoxville, Tennessee and Detroit, Michigan. They would finally hit it big when they recorded a single for MGM titled "Ruby Are You Mad" which led to the brothers being signed as regular members of the WWVA Jamboree in October of 1956.

It wouldn't be until 1967 that the Osborne Brothers would record "Rocky Top" under the Decca Record label which would push them to legendary status creating a staple song within the bluegrass community. This would lead them all the way to the White House earning the star of being the first bluegrass group to be invited. They were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Honor in 1994 which is considered bluegrass music's highest honor.

I wasn't there at the White House but I have heard that song one million times as a youth. And I never get tired of it.

Pick it up boys.

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