Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Jimmy Martin born 10 August 1927


James Henry Martin (August 10, 1927 – May 14, 2005) was an American bluegrass musician, known as the "King of Bluegrass". 

Martin was born in Sneedville, Tennessee, United States, and was raised in the hard farming life of rural East Tennessee. He grew up near Sneedville, singing in church and with friends from surrounding farms. His mother and stepfather who used to sing gospel were his first influences. When he was in his teens he played guitar in a local string band and later appeared on radio with Tex Climer and the Blue Band Coffee Boys. 

In the winter of 1949, Mac Wiseman had just left Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. Martin, who wanted to apply for the vacant post as guitarist, rode the bus into Nashville. He snuck in backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. While picking his guitar, he was overheard by the Blue Grass Boys' banjo player Rudy Lyle, who brought him forward and presented him to Monroe. Martin sang two songs with Monroe and was hired. 

Martin with Bill Monroe

Beginning in 1949, Martin was lead vocalist for Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. Martin's high voice mixed with Monroe's tenor came to be known as the "high lonesome" sound. His influence radically changed Monroe's music from the fast-paced but smooth style of the "original" 1945 band with Flatt and Scruggs. Martin challenged Monroe to raise the pitch on many of his classics and to write new, "lonesome" songs. This band with Rudy Lyle (banjo) and Charlie Cline (fiddle) was one of the many high points of Monroe's career. Martin's lead was defining in "lonesome" songs such as "Sitting Alone in the Moonlight", "Memories of Mother and Dad" and "I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome". 

Martin had a famously high-strung and exuberant personality, and inevitably clashed with Monroe's equally stubborn temperament. He left Monroe and worked briefly with the Osborne Brothers until he formed his own band, The Sunny Mountain Boys, in 1955. The classic line-up of this band, with J. D. Crowe and "Big" Paul Williams (stage name for Paul Humphrey), defined his "Good 'n Country" style, a commercially oriented, crowd-pleasing bluegrass with simple harmonies, catchy melodies, and a strong rhythm propelled by Martin's effective guitar playing. 

He credited himself with inventing the "G" run, a guitar lick used widely in the bluegrass genre. However, aural evidence from the period before Martin began performing professionally, clearly shows Lester Flatt using this run when backing Bill Monroe. Three important components of Martin's unique sound, besides his cutting tenor voice, were tight trio singing, sometimes a female high-baritone fourth part, and the use of a snare drum in place of mandolin to keep the back-beat.

                              

Among Martin's biggest hits of the 1960s were "Hit Parade of Love", "Sophronie", "Stepping Stones", "Tennessee", and "Widow Maker" (a popular truck driver's song). His instrumentals (with the Sunny Mountain Boys), such as "Theme Time", "Bear Tracks" and "Red Rooster", featured ultra-crisp playing by a series of banjo players including Sam "Porky" Hutchins, J.D. Crowe, Vernon McIntyre Jr. and Bill Emerson, and, powered by Martin's guitar runs, set a standard for bluegrass instrumentals that was influential. 

In the 1960s and 1970s, Jimmy Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys included singer and instrumentalist Gloria Belle, who is considered the first female lead singer in bluegrass. She toured Japan with Martin during 1975. In regards to her playing, Martin said jokingly, "She's not very good, but we let her sing with us 'cause we feel sorry for her." Martin was famous as a dangerously unpredictable, but highly entertaining stage presence. He freely acknowledged his problems with drinking and volatile mood swings, which kept him from realizing his lifelong dream of joining the Grand Ole Opry. 

He made frequent appearances on the Louisiana Hayride and Wheeling, West Virginia's WWVA Jamboree (renamed Jamboree U.S.A. in the 1960s), as well as the Grand Ole Opry, but was never invited to join the latter. In 1973, he performed on Bill Monroe's Brown County Jamboree. He performed on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 1971 album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, as well as Volume II (1989) and Volume III (2002). 

Martin died in Nashville on May 14, 2005, after having been diagnosed with bladder cancer more than a year earlier. He is interred in the Spring Hill Cemetery in Nashville's Madison neighbourhood. A report of his death in the Toronto Star called him "one of the greatest vocalists in bluegrass." 

In 1995, Martin was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honour. A documentary on his life, King of Bluegrass: The Life and Times of Jimmy Martin, was released in 2003. Martin is also featured in the documentary film High Lonesome.

(Edited from Wikipedia)

4 comments:

boppinbob said...

FOR ”JIMMY MARTIN – GOOD ‘N’ COUNTRY & COUNTRY MUSIC TIME (2016 JASMINE)” GO HERE:

https://www.imagenetz.de/atZdP


GOOD 'N' COUNTRY - WITH THE SUNNY MOUNTAIN BOYS
1. YOU DON'T KNOW MY MIND
2. HOMESICK
3. BEAR TRACKS
4. NIGHT
5. GRAND OLE OPRY SONG
6. WHO'LL SING FOR ME
7. HOLD WHATCHA GOT
8. BEFORE THE SUN GOES DOWN
9. CRIPPLE CREEK
10. IT'S NOT LIKE HOME
11. ALL THE GOOD TIMES ARE PAST AND GONE
12. I LIKE TO HEAR 'EM PREACH IT
COUNTRY MUSIC TIME
13. THERE AIN'T NOBODY GONNA MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE
14. PRETENDING I DON'T CARE
15. LEAVIN' TOWN
16. DON'T GIVE YOUR HEART TO A RAMBLER
17. TRAIN FORTY-FIVE
18. DRINK UP AND GO HOME
19. I CAN, I WILL, I DO BELIEVE
20. THERE WAS A LOVE
21. HIT PARADE OF LOVE
22. STEPPIN' STONES
23. THE JOKE'S ON YOU
24. SKIP HOP AND WOBBLE

Jimmy Martin was an influential bluegrass guitarist when he fronted Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys changed the sound of the genre forever. Presented here are the first two of Jimmy Martin's LP releases, 'Good 'N' Country' and 'Country Music Time'. These two albums offered a much more commercial sound and became very influential over country/rock musicians of the late 60s.Featuring his popular numbers 'Night', 'Hit Parade of Love' and 'Steppin' Stones'. If you like bluegrass you'll love this superb new set. (Jasmine notes)
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Here's one I found in the archives......

For” Jimmy Martin - 1951-1958 (Warped 5490)” go here:

https://www.imagenetz.de/dfkx4

01. My Lonely Heart
02. She's Just a Cute Thing
03. Blue Eyed Darling
04. Jimmy Martin & Bob Osborne - You'll Never Be the Same
05. I'll Find You Another Woman, Go Find Another Man
06. Save It! Save It!
07. Chalk Up Another One
08. I Pulled A Boo Boo
09. They Didn't Know The Difference (But I Did)
10. 2020 Vision
11. That's How I Can Count On You
12. Before The Sun Goes Down
13. Skip, Hop And Wobble
14. You'll Be A Lost Ball
15. Hit Parade Of Love
16. Grand Ole Opry Song
17. I'm The Boss (Of This Here House)
18. Dog Bite Your Hide
19. I'll Drink No More Wine
20. Ocean Of Diamonds
21. Sophronie
22. I'll Never Take No For An Answer
23. Rock Hearts
24. I Like To Hear 'Em Preach It
25. Voice Of My Savior
26. Night
27. It's Not Like Home
28. She's Left Me Again
29. Hold Whatcha Got
30. Bear Tracks
31. Cripple Creek

A big thank you to Harlan @ the greatly missed Visit Me In Music City for the loan of above CD.

T.G. said...

Many thanks for this!

Aussie said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH 4 JIMMY MARTIN NICE ONE

RiCK SAUNDERS said...

Thanks Bob!