Bluegrass History Lesson
- CHUBBY DULLARD
1907 - 1928
Born February 12, 1907 in a cabin outside Rosine, Kentucky, the home of Bill
Monroe, Chubby was originally to be named David. However, being born at over
19 pounds, he was called Chubby from the moment of birth until he died.
Chubby loved music. At the age of one he would crawl up the steps of the
family porch and sit between the legs of his father during many evening jams
and usually only leave when someone stepped on him. At
the age of three, even though he was unable to hold an instrument, Chubby
still managed to make music when he discovered he could shake the family dog
in tempo with the band.
At the age of five, Chubby began to play a small fiddle his father had made
for him out of a snow shoe frame and some cat gut strings. Using a bow taken
from a small Indian child, Chubby was making music
even at this early age.
Chubby met Bill Monroe while both were attending school in Rosine in 1916.
Although Chubby was older, a difficulty with everything except fiddle
playing placed him in the same classroom with Bill. The
rest, as they say, is history.
Chubby and Bill enjoyed many a jam session until a freak squirrel hunting
accident involving a wounded squirrel left Chubby with a painful injury to
the left side of his jaw. He was unable to hold his favorite fiddle anymore
and decided he needed an acoustic instrument that would be able to play
After trying several instruments, Chubby discovered the saxophone and
realized he had an instrument that not only sounded good and could play
fiddle parts but could also be used for calling geese and elk if the
pantry got low. Since the �rules of bluegrass� had not yet been written by
followers of Bill Monroe and Bill himself had played with his mother on
accordion and had played with harmonica and flute players, the addition of
the saxophone was, to say the least, no big deal to Bill. After all, back
then it was about the music.
Bill and Chubby wrote many wonderful songs that would eventually become
known by that most honorary name �slugbait� and in early 1928, Chubby and
Bill found a friend who had a recording studio in his barn. They decided to
record as many of their songs as they could and eventually recorded over
twenty five songs to vinyl. Unfortunately, this took them until the end of
1928 and that was to be Chubby�s last year on this earth.
Riding in his buckboard on the way to a recording session, the right front
wheel came off as the wagon was rounding a corner and the buckboard tipped
over. This was in the days before the saxophone case
was invented so Chubby simply had it laying on the seat. Unfortunately the
saxophone fell out of the buckboard and landed gooseneck up while Chubby
fell out of the buckboard and landed bottom side down...On the saxophone. It
was a tragic and painful, although tuneful, ending to a rich musical life.
Bill Monroe, being nearly inconsolable over the loss of his friend, left
Rosine the next year and never could bring himself to be onstage with
another saxophone player. The �Chubby Dullard Sessions� lay
abandoned until 2002 when a Bill Monroe fan, after drinking too much Samual
Adams beer, backed his $200,000 motorhome into the long abandoned barn.
The songs have been discovered...Chubby Dullard Lives!
Happy April everybody...:-).
Ground Zero Sound
PS..for an mp3 of one of the long lost "Chubby Dullard Sessions" tunes
simply ask and I'll send it to you.
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