One of the giants of 20th-century music, Kentucky-born Bill Monroe was the undisputed creator of bluegrass. His mandolin-picking and plaintive tenor are among the genre's most moving and distinctive sounds. His band, the Bluegrass Boys, provided the launching pad for innumerable bluegrass careers, graduating such luminaries as Flatt and Scruggs, Reno and Smiley, and Peter Rowan. Though his period of greatest popularity was the '40s and '50s, Monroe was a tireless performer who continued to play live into the '90s, even after treatment for cancer and a double bypass operation. By the time of his death in 1996, he had been crowned several times over as the king of bluegrass and proved a seminal inspiration to several generations of musicians.
The essential genius of Bill Monroe and Doc Watson resides in their ability to infuse traditional American music with their distinctive musical personalities. Their unparalleled vocal and instrumental skills complement one another on these rare, previously unreleased duets. "...chronicles the early meetings of two instrumental geniuses. -- Billboard
A 45-minute trip to bluegrass heaven, these 17 songs combine the talents of two unparalleled musical forces: Bill Monroe, the inventor of bluegrass, master of the mandolin, and owner of a bone-chilling, mountain tenor voice; and Doc Watson, the flatpicking genius with a soulful, mellow vocal tone. Much of the material stems from the legendary Monroe Brothers recordings. Their sublime harmonies carry plaintive ballads including "What Would You Give in Exchange for Your Soul" and "Banks of the Ohio," and uptempo numbers such as "You Won't Be Satisfied That Way." The roaring fiddle tunes are simply mind-blowing: "Soldier's Joy," "East Tennessee Blues," and "Fire on the Mountain" all rank as virtuosic masterpieces. If it's possible, the pairing exceeds all expectations. --Marc Greilsamer
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