CD-227 Frank Wakefield "A Tribute to Bill Monroe"
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Wakefield was born on June 26, 1934 in Emory Gap, Tennessee. Frank began to play harmonica and guitar as a young child. Meanwhile, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys were creating a new, exciting brand of country music built around tight, high-pitched harmony singing, Earl Scruggs' new style of banjo picking, and the intense, blues-influenced mandolin style created by bandleader Monroe. It was during this time in the early history of Bluegrass music when a teenaged Frank Wakefield, living in Dayton, Ohio, got his first mandolin.
Soon, Frank began working with Red Allen, the start of a musical collaboration which was to last many years. They organized a bluegrass band with Noah Crase on banjo, which performed in the Dayton area for some time. Frank later moved to Detroit, where he played with Jimmy Martin for about a year, until he left Detroit to organize his own band. At this time, Frank was beginning to write and record original bluegras material, most notably the classic instrumental "New Camptown Races".
In the late 1950's, Frank worked briefly with the Stanley Brothers. In the early 1960's, Frank moved to Washington, D.C., where he was joined again by Red Allen. The two performed in clubs and on WDON radio in Wheaton, Maryland, and recorded a classic LP for Folkways. During the mid-to-late 1960's, Frank was a member of the Greenbriar Boys, playing several times at Carnegie Hall.