May 19, 1927 – May 3, 1987 HAPPY BIRTHDAY Merle “Red” Taylor

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Merle “Red” Taylor (May 19, 1927 – May 3, 1987) began playing his fiddle at an early age. Merle was also one of Bill Monroe’s fiddlers and helped contribute to the start of bluegrass music.

Monroe took interest in Merle “Red” Taylor when he composed an ear-catching melody. Monroe liked the way it sounded, and by his next recording session on October 15, 1950, he set words to Taylor’s tune. He made it his own and as a tribute to “Uncle Pen.” It became one of his most requested songs, and Taylor remained uncredited.

Red impressed hundreds of fiddlers with the bowing technique he used. As Gordon Terry, the man who placed him as a fiddle player in Monro’s band, explained, “He did a slow bow with a lot of finger work and a funner reverse…I don’t think there would be the tunes there are now, had he not played fiddle because he did something nobody did.” Merle “Red” Taylor played with Paul Howard, Cowboy Copas, and Hank Williams in addition to Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys.


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