Song:Free Born Man
Album:Songs of a Free Born Man, Jimmy Martin
Jimmy Martin was known as the King Of Bluegrass. He started out with Bill Monroe and he left to go solo in 1955. He had success when he recorded for Decca in the 60s. He was born Aug. 10, 1927 in Sneedville, TN. He grew up on a farm in East Tennessee. Martin grew up singing in church. His main influences were Lester Flatt and Charlie Monroe. As a teen, his band played in local clubs. And he appeared on the radio with Tex Climer and the Blue Band Coffee Boys. In 1949, Mac Wiseman left Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. Martin wanted the job so he rode the bus to Nashville and he sneaked into the Grand Ole Opry. While playing backstage, Blue Grass Boys banjo player Rudy Lyle heard him and brought him to Monroe. Martin auditioned and was immediately hired. He stayed with Monroe until 1955 when he formed his own band The Sunny Mountain Boys with JD Crowe and Big Paul Williams. Martin recorded for Decca in the 60s. He never had any big hit singles. But Martin's albums did well and he was very successful as a live draw. Free Born Man is from Martin's 1969 album Free Born Man. The song was written by Keith Allison and Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders. Allison recorded it on his 1967 album In Action and Paul Revere and the Raiders recorded it in 1969. Martin's band on this album is the band you will see on the video. You have Vernon Derrick on fiddle, Chris Warner on banjo and Gloria Belle on bass and vocals. It was unusual to see a woman in a bluegrass band in those days. Martin also appeared on the 1971 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album Will The Circle Be Unbroken. Martin left Decca in 1974 and he recorded for Gusto until they closed in the 80s. Then he started his own King of Bluegrass label. This comp CD from CMH covers Martin's entire career. Martin was inducted into the Bluegrass Hall Of Fame in 1995. The 2003 documentary King Of Bluegrass: The Life and Times of Jimmy Martin can be viewed on Youtube. Martin died of bladder cancer on May 14, 2005 at age 77. Here's Jimmy Martin performing Free Born Man on The Del Reeves Show 1969.