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.
I enjoy researching Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, and Country birthdays, anniversaries and interesting trivia dates. I am a piano/organ performance major who has taught privately and served as church accompanist since 1968 in North Carolina and Central Kentucky. Although classically trained, I appreciate all genres of music. My mother, who was also a church musician and taught public school music grades K-12, knew that Bluegrass music was the purest American music. She always introduced her students to this fine genre and began my musical studies with her at age 2. Bach to Berachah Valley, Mozart to Jimmy Martin, Sibelius to Stanley Brothers, the list goes on, I hope you find some moments of enjoyment and learn a few interesting facts along the way.
I am thankful for the many resources we have at our fingertips including Google. FaceBook and BluegrassBios by Wayne Rice. It was he who inspired me to tackle the task of trying to pass on knowledge about Bluegrass music. Thanks Wayne~!
Lou Ellen Wilkie