Pete Pyle

An accomplished country/bluegrass singer, songwriter, and guitarist, who played with Bill Monroe.
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Artist Biography

b. 18 April 1920, on a farm near Burnsville, Mississippi, USA, d. 11 March 1995, Madison, Tennessee, USA. He taught himself to play guitar as a boy and relocated to Memphis in 1939, where he worked on WMPS, WHBQ and finally WMC. In 1940, he recorded for Bluebird Records, including ‘Home Sweet Home In The Rockies’ which surprisingly, since he was competent at the art, was the only yodel song that he recorded and his popular co-wrote ‘Little Blue-Eyed Blonde Goodbye’. He eventually moved to Atlanta, where he made further recordings before relocating to Nashville. He married Naomi Coulter who, until their second child was born, toured with him and also sang on some recordings. (They eventually had eight children). He auditioned for the Grand Ole Opry only to be told by George D. Hay that he was too modern. He gained a regular show on WSIX, where his reputation and popularity led to Jack Stapp signing him to theOpry. Pyle was one of the first solo country singer/guitarists to actually play theOpry. While maintaining some solo appearances, Pyle played lead guitar and sang lead vocals with Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys until, in 1941, he was drafted for military service. After discharge, in 1943, he replaced Eddy Arnold as vocalist with Pee Wee King’s Golden West Cowboys. He recorded transcription discs with King and made numerousOpry appearances with him. He remained with King for over a year, when he decided to form his own touring tent show featuring his Mississippi Valley Boys. Petrol rationing forced him to cut down travelling and he began to play a residency in a Chicago club. He returned to theOpry and for a time led a band for Grandpa Jones. An attempt to rejoin Monroe proved unsuccessful, with Pyle claiming the time with King had seen him lose the feel for Monroe’s bluegrass music. He formed a band which included Birch Monroe that worked in conjunction with Bill at such special events as the Bean Blossom festivals.

He continued to write songs and to play theOpry and local venues, until ill health forced him to slow down in the 70s. He became a born again Christian and after his wife died, in 1976, he and youngest daughter, Dwanna, began to sing gospel music in local churches and on television. His health improved and they made appearances with Monroe and Ernest Tubb. In the late 80s, Pyle still visited the Grand Ole Opry although few of his contemporaries were left. Pyle wrote numerous songs including ‘Don’t Put Off Until Tomorrow’ and ‘Highway Of Sorrow’ and many were recorded by top country stars including Monroe, George Jones, Little Jimmy Dickens, Willie Nelson and Porter Wagoner. No one can accurately assess just how many he wrote since he often sat in Tootsie’s Bar between shows at the Grand Ole Opry and sold songs, sometimes for as little as five or 10 dollars. In 1987, the German Cattle label issued an album of recordings by Pyle made for Bluebird or Bullet. Included on it are the yodel number previously mentioned and ‘Think Twice’, a duet with Naomi.