Southern California, with its vast film studios, television production facilities, radio, and recording studios, deservedly holds the title of the entertainment capitol of the world. The musical style called “bluegrass” (named after Bill Monroe’s band The Blue Grass Boys, while overshadowed by the hugely successful pop music business, still managed to find its way out to the coast from the central southern states back east. Capitalizing on his success on the post war Grand Ol’ Opry, Bill Monroe himself traveled to California, starting in the 1950s.
The four photos shown here are of a well-known California band, The Golden State Boys. The band was featured in southern California television for several years by car dealer Cal Worthington on Cal’s Corral, a TV show running old films are some very strange car commercials — often with wild animals — besides featuring country music by Joe and Rose Lee Maphis and others. The photos, and most of the info in the captions, have been supplied by Jason Odd, an Australian whose interest in the music evolved from his interest in the California rock and country rock scene from the early 1960s on. Jason can be reached via FaceBook, where he maintains several music-related pages re. music history.
Watching these programs, as they were originally telecast on Los Angeles’ KCOP, Channel 13 station, I was drawn in to the music. I don’t remember Cal mentioning it by the name “bluegrass” during the show. It was simply “country” music, just as Bill Monroe was, in those times, considered a country star, like Earnest Tubb, Kitty Wells, and Pee Wee King, for example.
Now that we’ve opened the door just a crack into the past of California’s bluegrass scene, I’d like to encourage others to share their knowledge and photos, etc. It’s our hope that we can establish a relatively permanent place to store and review this part of California’s music history.
To share and comment on this page, feel free to use the form below. Thanks again to Jason for supplying copies of photos and his time.