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Osborne Brothers

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Biography

The Osborne Brothers were one of the most popular and innovative bluegrass groups of the post-war era, taking the music into new directions and gaining a large audience. Among their most notable achievements are their pioneering, inventive use of amplification, twin harmony banjos, steel guitars, and drums -- they were the first bluegrass group to expand the genre's sonic palette in such a fashion. Bobby and Sonny Osborne were born in Hyden, KY, but raised in Dayton, OH. As children, their father instilled a love for traditional music. Bobby picked up the electric guitar as a teenager, playing in various local bands. A few years after his brother began playing the guitar, Sonny picked up the banjo. In 1949, Bobby formed a duo with banjoist Larry Richardson. The pair was hired by a West Virginian radio station and stayed in the state for a while, eventually hooking up with the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers. During their stay with the Fiddlers, they helped change the group's sound to bluegrass and made four singles for Cozy Records. Bobby Osborne left the band in the summer of 1951, forming a band with Jimmy Martin that fell apart shortly after its inception. After making a one-shot single, "New Freedom Bell," with his siblings Louise and Sonny, he joined the Stanley Brothers for a short while before being drafted into the Army. Sonny spent some time with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in the early '50s, appearing on several sides on Decca Records. He also cut some covers of popular Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs songs for the budget label Gateway. After Bobby returned from the Army, he and Sonny formed a band. Initially, they supported Jimmy Martin on his RCA session while they had their own spot on a Knoxville radio station. In 1956, they joined the Wheeling Jamboree; they would stay with the radio program for four years. In March of that year, Red Allen joined the brothers -- four months after his arrival, they recorded their first session for MGM Records. For the next year, they toured and recorded, steadily gaining a large audience. In the spring of 1958, "Once More" became a number 13 hit on the country charts. Its success helped push the band into the mainstream. Shortly after the success of "Once More," Allen left the band, and the Osbornes filled his vacancy with a string of musicians and vocalists, including Johnny Dacus and Benny Birchfield. The duo stayed with the Wheeling Jamboree and MGM Records into the early '60s. The Osbornes became the first bluegrass act to play a college campus in 1960, when they played Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH. That appearance ushered in a new era for bluegrass, creating a new, younger audience for the music. The Osbornes left MGM in 1963, signing with Decca Records. On their mid-'60s records for Decca, the duo began experimenting more with their music, adding piano, steel guitar, and electric instruments to their music. Their adventurousness made them more accessible to a mass audience, as their string of late-'60s and early-'70s hit singles proves. Although their experimentation angered many bluegrass traditionalists, the Osbornes were the only bluegrass group to consistently have country hits during this time, even if all their singles were only minor hits. In 1975, the Osbornes left Decca but continued to play the Grand Ole Opry and bluegrass festivals across America. Later in the '70s, the duo returned to a more traditional sound. Throughout the '80s and '90s they stuck to this sound, playing concerts and festivals frequently and recording albums for CMH, RCA, Sugar Hill, and Pinecastle. Forty years after their formation, the Osborne Brothers remained an active act in the mid-'90s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Rocky Top
  3.   Georgia Pineywoods
  4.   Up This Hill and Down
  5.   Roll Muddy River
  6.   Ruby (Are You Mad)
  7.   Don't Let the Smokey Mountain Smoke Get in Your Eyes
  8.   Blue Heartache
  9.   Georgia Mules and Country Boys
  10.   The Kind of Woman I Got
  11.   Muddy Bottom
  12.   Steal Away and Pray
  13.   Light at the River
  14.   Head over Heels
  15.   Your Love Is Like a Flower
  16.   Blue Ridge Cabin Home
  17.   Cabin in Caroline
  18.   Arkansas
  19.   Bluegrass Express
  20.   Big Spike Hammer
  21.   The Cuckoo Bird
  22.   Making Plans
  23.   Listening to the Rain
  24.   I'll Be Alright Tomorrow
  25.   Fastest Grass Alive
  26.   Once More
  27.   Kentucky
  28.   Me and My Old Banjo
  29.   When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again
  30.   Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
  31.   Little White Chruch by Mac Wiseman
  32.   I'm Gonna Love You One More Time
  33.   I'll Fly Away
  34.   Toy Heart
  35.   I'm a Stranger Here by Mac Wiseman
  36.   Great Speckled Bird
  37.   It's Raining Here This Morning
  38.   May You Never Be Alone
  39.   Two Lonely Hearts
  40.   There's a Woman Behind Every Man
  41.   Unfaithful One
  42.   Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die
  43.   I'm Going Back to Old Kentucky
  44.   Billy in the Low Ground
  45.   Take My Ring from Your Finger
  46.   One Kiss Away from Loneliness
  47.   I Hear a Sweet Voice Calling
  48.   Don't That Road Look Rough and Rocky
  49.   When You Are Lonely
  50.   You Are My Flower
  51.   She's No Angel
  52.   Cumberland Gap
  53.   Worried Man Blues
  54.   Banjo's Goin' Home
  55.   Lonesome Feeling
  56.   Lizzie Lou
  57.   No Mother or Dad
  58.   Pain in My Heart
  59.   Some Old Day
  60.   Wild Mountain Honey
  61.   Walking Cane
  62.   Lonely, Lonely Me
  63.   Walkin' the Floor Over You
  64.   Shelly's Winter Love
  65.   Take Me Back to Renfro Valley by Mac Wiseman
  66.   Lost Highway
  67.   White Lightnin'
  68.   Each Season Changes You
  69.   It's Goodbye and So Long to You by Mac Wiseman
  70.   The Black Sheep Returned to the Fold
  71.   My Favorite Memory
  72.   Della Mae
  73.   Take Me Home, Country Roads
  74.   It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo'
  75.   Thinking About You
  76.   Is This My Destiny?
  77.   Seeing Nellie Home
  78.   (It's a Long Way) To the Top of the World
  79.   Four Walls Around Me by Mac Wiseman
  80.   Sunny Side of the Mountain
  81.   Are You Coming Back to Me by Mac Wiseman
  82.   Jesse James
  83.   Mother Maybelle by Mac Wiseman
  84.   I Love You Only
  85.   Mule Skinner Blues
  86.   Shenandoah Waltz
  87.   Bent, Broken and Blue
  88.   Unclouded Day by Sonny Osborne & The Osborne Brothers
  89.   My Aching Heart
  90.   I've Always Wanted to Sing in Renfro Valley by Mac Wiseman
  91.   America the Beautiful
  92.   Waltz Across Texas
  93.   I Wonder How the Old Folks Are at Home by Mac Wiseman
  94.   John Henry Blues
  95.   White Dove
  96.   Across the Sea Blues
  97.   I Love Only You
  98.   Unclouded Day
  99.   Rutland's Rell
  100.   Little White Church by Mac Wiseman
  101.   Ruby (Are You Mad) by Red Allen
  102.   My Cabin in Caroline
  103.   You'll Never Know (How Much It Hurts)
  104.   Y'All Come
  105.   Wrap My Body in Old Glory When I Go
  106.   Working Man Blues
  107.   Windy City
  108.   Where Did the Sunshine Go?
  109.   What a Friend We Have in Jesus
  110.   We Could
  111.   Tragic Romance
  112.   This Heart of Mine (Can Never Say Goodbye)
  113.   The Prisoner's Song
  114.   The Bluebirds Are Singing for Me
  115.   Tennessee Hound Dog
  116.   Tell It to Your Old Grandma
  117.   Take Me as I Am (Or Let Me Go)
  118.   Sweethearts Again
  119.   Sure-Fire
  120.   Still Waters
  121.   Soldier's Last Letter
  122.   Rock of Ages
  123.   Red Wing
  124.   Rank Strangers (To Me)
  125.   Poison Love by Mac Wiseman
  126.   Pins and Needles (In My Heart)
  127.   Paper Rosie
  128.   Packing up Your Heart (To Say Goodbye)
  129.   Out Behind the Barn
  130.   Orange Blossom Special
  131.   One Tear
  132.   Old Joe Clark
  133.   Old Hickory
  134.   Old Flames (Can't Hold a Candle to You)
  135.   Nobody's Darling But Mine
  136.   My Tears Don't Show