BILL CLIFTON - America's Bluegrass Ambassador to the World by Bill C. Malone BOOK: CLIFTON
By Bill C. Malone (Univ. of Illinois Press, 2016) Softback 160 pp + Since Bill Monroe joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1939 and brought his music to that famous stage, there have been many musicians and artists who have led very interesting lives. But it would be a challenge to find one who had as varied a background as Bill Clifton. Born in Maryland with the name William Marburg, Bill had much to do with the popularization of Bluegrass music over a good part of the world, and was elected to the Bluegrass Hall of Fame several years ago. Forsaking the life of a stockbroker, he went on to make Bluegrass music his life, with early appearances on small, local radio stations in Virginia. He developed a friendship with A.P. Carter, then became a performer himself and made some fine recordings for the Mercury, Blue Ridge and Starday labels (among others). He traveled all over the world spreading the case for Bluegrass --some of the countries he lived in included Australia, New Zealand, the Philipines and for a number of years he made England his home A lot of British and European fans owe their interest in the music to Clifton and the work he did in promoting it there. Returning to the USA he joined forces with Red Rector and others to make further good recordings. This is a fascinating book for anyone who knows Clifton or likes the music he made, and we can't think of anyone else besides Bill Malone who could have done such a great job in documenting the life and career of this key figure in American music.