Personalities | The Osborne Brothers | Bluegrass | Country
(Vocal/instrumental group, 1953–90s)
The Osborne Brothers were well versed in traditional bluegrass but they made their biggest impact by experimenting with pop-country material and arrangements. Before they formed their partnership in Dayton, Ohio, in 1953, Bobby Osborne (vocals, mandolin, guitar, b. 1931) had apprenticed with The Stanley Brothers and Sonny Osborne (vocals, banjo, b. 1937) with Bill Monroe. They recorded the regional hit ‘20/20 Vision’ with Jimmy Martin in 1954; they hired Red Allen as lead singer and recorded ‘Once More’ with him in 1958. But it was when they signed with Decca in 1963 and joined the Grand Ole Opry the following year that they added electric pick-ups to their instruments and the occasional piano or drums to their arrangements. Purists were horrified but audiences loved the combination of string-band picking and modern rhythm. They were voted CMA Vocal Group Of The Year in 1971.
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