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The Osborne Brothers

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, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: The Osborne Brothers 1956-1968

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4
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Track List: 1968 - 1974

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4

Comments

They are the REAL DEAL!
They are awesome
huffstutlerc h a d
Bobby was not in the Army as stated.... He was a U.S. Marine during the Korean War.
YYYYEEEEHHHH H A A A A too from a Southern Oregonian. Some really great pickin.
Great!
yeeeeeeeeeee e e e e haaaaaaaaaa proud to be a north georgian
Reminds me so much of my Dad!
I am a true bluegrass lover and I am 14 years old.
carolgwood
I'm looking for REAL Appalacian music, sung in the style popular in the early 1900's. You don't seem to have anything like that. Bluegrass is a later development.
I am a lover of good Bluegrass Music, I am a young 80 years old.
I always love hearing the osborne bro's, they are my favorite bluegrass singers.
my6pac_annie
my dad truly loved to hear bobby and soony play sometimes when we at the festival in campsrings nc they would stay over and play with my dad dick crabtree and god father red batchelor and uncle ronald crabtree i would love to see sunny and bobby one more time i was just 11 years old back then now im 51
my6pac_annie
o how i miss hearing and seeing them play and sing at the festivals
bossness
Hicks
abreeden3
moose; osbornes, one of the best
alligator4
I love these guys!
full_armor0
man if i need to hear this kind of music this is where i want to be it's fantastic
why is there two songs playing at one time
oNE OF THE MOST AMAZING bANDS TODAY
wow
bobby and sonny are great
n5odj
Bobby Osborne was a U.S. Marine. Not a soldier.
Saw a Bluegrass show at the Kennedy center in DC about 35 years ago. It was so strange to see everyone blugrass dressed to the nines! The Osboune Bros walked out just the 2 of them and Jerry Douglas (Dobro he was about 20? and he played with almost everyband there!)Any how they sang Ruby and about blew the roof off that place!!!! Nobody could speak it was soooo amazing!!!
nantzfamily
i really enjoy listening to the osborne brothers
Sonny Osborne told Eddie Stubbs that there have been only 3 great trios in Country Music: The Glaser Brother, The Browns, and The Osborne Brothers.
There has been nothing like the Osborne brothers' trios from the '50s.
tonyandmary
good kissin' and huggin' music
polly251
Actually,I enjoy all these bands.Can you add the groups that i am not listening to now?
great music.
Just good stuff.
great,these guys were always great, one of the best, wished that you would play them always, thanks for letting me sound
janitataylor
which knoxville girl i only know of the one where he kills his girl for cheating?
what about the white clifts of dover
This song is about Knoxville Girl its about 50 yrs old. its about a girl from knoxville England around World War 1 thank you if you can find it

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