Across the Blue Ridge #49 - Curly Seckler, dean of bluegrass harmony singing

Across the Blue Ridge #49 - Curly Seckler, dean of bluegrass harmony singing

7:35pm Dec 02, 2016
Curly Seckler has helped establish the tradition of bluegrass harmony singing, and is also a great lead singer.
Flatt & Scruggs TV show frame, 1950s

This week we examine the career of bluegrass singer Curly Seckler, who turns 97 on Christmas Day 2016.  A new biography is out by Penny Parsons, titled Foggy Mountain Troubadour: The Life And Music Of Curly Seckler. Raised on a North Carolina farm, Seckler started playing on local radio with his brothers in Salisbury, NC – and before long had joined Charlie Monroe’s band.  He eventually settled in with Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, where with his high yet silky tenor, he did as much to establish the tradition of bluegrass harmony singing as anyone. We hear some of Curly’s reminiscences, comments from biographer Parsons, musical and historical context from host Paul Brown to stitch the story together, and lots of memorably great music.  Also on this week’s show: Eddie Bond and the New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters; Alice Gerrard; Larry Stephenson; and Lightnin’ Wells.

Episode 49 Playlist

  1. Foggy Mountain Breakdown
    Earl Scruggs
    Flatt & Scruggs 1947-59 Vol. 1
     
  2. Waves On The Ocean
    New Ballard's Branch Bogtrotters
    Bogtrotter Blues
     
  3. Sweet Sunny South
    Larry Stephenson
    Larry Stephenson Webco Classics Vol. 5
     
  4. Old Virginia Hills
    Alice Gerrard
    Calling Me Home
     
  5. Prodigal Son
    Lightnin' Wells
    Shake 'Em On Down
     
  6. Break 1 - Old Salty Dog Blues
    Flatt & Scruggs
    Flatt & Scruggs 1947-59 Vol. 1
     
  7. That Old Book Of Mine
    Curly Seckler
    Bluegrass, Don't You Know?
     
  8. No Letter In The Mail
    Sauceman Brothers with Curly Seckler
    The Sauceman Brothers on WCYB Bristol
     
  9. Interview with Curly Seckler
    Penny Parsons field recording
     
  10. No Depression in Heaven
    Charlie Monroe & The Kentucky Pardners
    Single
     
  11. Interview with Penny Parsons
    ATBR recording
     
  12. Why Don't You Tell Me So
    Flatt & Scruggs & The Foggy Mountain Boys
    Flatt & Scruggs 1947-59 Vol. 1
     
  13. Pike County Breakdown
    Flatt & Scruggs & The Foggy Mountain Boys
    Flatt & Scruggs 1947-59 Vol. 1
     
  14. Break 2 - We Can't Be Darlings Anymore
    Curly Seckler
    Bluegrass, Don't You Know?
     
  15. No Mother Or Dad
    No Mother Or Dad
    Flatt & Scruggs 1947-59 Vol. 1
     
  16. Interview with Curly Seckler
    Penny Parsons field recording
     
  17. Why Did You Wander
    Curly Seckler
    Bluegrass, Don't You Know?
     
  18. Katy Hill
    Curly Seckler & Tater Tate
    Bluegrass, Don't You Know?
     
  19. Moonlight On My Cabin
    Curly Seckler
    That Old Book Of Mine
     
  20. I've Got A Home In The Beulah Land
    Curly Seckler & Tommy Scott
    radio transcription