Bill Monroe & Blue Grass – Columbia 36907 – 78 RPM 1945

Question: Who was Arnold Shultz?

I’ll tell you the answer directly. First, some information about the attached mp3 of a 78 rpm record released by Columbia in 1946, featuring Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Boys. It is an up-tempo Blues number with a steady boogie rhythm. You will notice that the bass fiddle player is featured playing the boogie bass line by himself for five bars in the middle of the record.

I stumbled into a copy of this 78 and purchased it for 25 cents earlier this year at the Second & Charles Bookstore in Hoover.

Arnold Shultz was the son of a former slave. He was born in Ohio County, Kentucky in 1886 into a family of musicians who played square dances and on riverboats that traveled up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, from Kentucky and Ohio to New Orleans. He learned the rudiments of Fiddle and Guitar in his childhood. He also learned the blues, ragtime and folk music of the time. Around 1900, Schultz began to learn from his uncle how to play the bass, rhythm and melody parts simultaneously on the guitar with his thumb and fingers. He played professionally in Kentucky in the 1920s with Bill Monroe’s uncle Pendleton Vandiver and his brother Charlie Monroe. Bill Monroe’s first professional gig as a boy was at a square dance where he played alongside Schultz, his uncle Pendleton, and his brother Charlie. Bill learned blues vocal and instrumental licks from Schultz. Schultz also played with, taught and influenced the guitar playing of fellow Kentuckians Merle Travis and Ike Everly, the father of the Everly Brothers. Travis became a virtuoso of this guitar style and himself influenced innumerable guitarists including Chet Atkins, Doc Watson, Scotty Moore (Elvis Presley’s guitarist) and many more Rock & Roll and Country Music guitarists. Monroe became the father of Bluegrass music, characterized by a steady flowing rhythm and instrumental improvisation played at breakneck speed. Monroe was one of the musical idols of Elvis Presley, who recorded one of his tunes on his first commercially released record.

Arnold Schultz died on April 14, 1931. It is believed that he was never recorded, either as a fiddler or a guitarist. He is buried in Morgantown, Kentucky. Pendleton Vandiver died one year later, in 1932.

In 1997, Bill Monroe was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence. He was also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970, and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971. Monroe died in 1996.

Rock on!


Rocky Road Blues-Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys-Columbia 36907(1946)

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