The Grand Ole Opry With Bill Monroe
I first met Bill Monroe in June of 1953 when he (along with Jimmy Martin, Charlie Cline and L.E. White) appeared at the Barbeque Barn near Florence, South Carolina.  I was playing with Slim Mims and The Dream Ranch Boys on WJMX at the time. We opened the show for Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys that night. Bill needed bass player for his show and I filled in for him. Before the evening was over, he had offered me a job with his band. We met the next weekend at the Pick Theater in Mt. Airy, North Carolina where he had a show. Monroe gave me 15 minutes on his show to perform a comedy act. It was my debut as the comedian, Uncle Puny. After that, Monroe and I started to do two-man comedy routines together in addition to my playing the bass as a regular part of his shows. We put on shows at a lot of schools and traveled quite a bit.  Times on the road got really bad, and I left Monroe in the winter of 1953, worked awhile with Slim Mims then went back with Monroe in 1954. In 1957, I played the guitar on 9 of the 12 songs on Monroe's first LP "Knee Deep in Bluegrass". My name on the LP was incorrectly listed as Lester Sandy instead of Leslie Sandy.  Don Stover, Dale Potter, Gordon Terry, Tommy Jackson and Joe Stuartare are also on the same recording.

I have many memories of the times I shared as one of The Bluegrass Boys.  One is the time I visited Monroe's old home place in Rosine where I met his brothers, Charlie, John and Birch. All in all, I did three stints with Bill Monroe.  Over the years, I guess I became one of the "lost Bluegrass Boys".  Thanks to Walt Saunders, Tom Ewing (writers for BU) and Russell Palmer of Gulf, North Carolina I became "found" again through their inquiries, research and articles in BU.

I do not have any photographs of the times with Bill Monroe. Times were hard back then and I could not afford a camera and film. However I do still have one special memento - the Nashville Union Card (Kind of worn with age now) that admitted me to appear on The Grand Ole Opry.

Little did I know then that Bill Monroe would later become known as The Father of Bluegrass. It was an honor and a privilege to have been one of The Bluegrass Boys and to have appeared with Bill Monroe on the Grand Ole Opry.

 
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