08 August 2017

Ralph Lewis

Richard Thompson reports on Bluegrass Today the sad news that Ralph Lewis of North Carolina died on Friday (4 Aug.) at the age of 89, having been active with his band the Sons of Ralph up to earlier this year.

Ralph became a member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in 1974 as guitarist and lead singer (also at times playing twin fiddle with Kenny Baker). Older BIB readers may have seen and heard him playing in Belfast with the band during their 1975 UK tour. Also in the band at that time were Randy Davis (bass) and Bob Black (banjo). In his musical autobiography Come hither to go yonder: playing bluegrass with Bill Monroe, Bob frequently mentions Ralph, including this first impression:

... Ralph Lewis was fun-loving and relaxed - a country-type person who sang and played all the old songs with easy-going skill, knowledge, and soul. He spoke with an accent that reminded me of Andy Griffith. I felt I had known him all my life.

The photo above (from the Sons of Ralph website) shows Ralph, Bill Monroe, and Randy Davis (partly hidden) during a 1974 tour of Japan. A good deal about Ralph's life and music is on the internet.

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