An old-time music frontman, Leonard Stokes recorded with Byron Parker & His Mountaineers in 1940, the music considered one of the essential tapestries of developing bluegrass components to be preserved for posterity, and equal in value to the very first sides cut by the Monroe Brothers. He also played mandolin, as well as sang, with the bands of J.E. Mainer, a major pre-bluegrass mountain music family dynasty. In 1937, Mainer formed a group with George Morris and Stokes, with the preposterous name of Handsome & Sambo. J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers was the grand band that eventually developed from this, as brothers from the various families joined in, such as banjo wizard Wade Mainer and the wonderful Zeke Morris. This band charged to the forefront in the transition between old-time string band music to the excitement of the bluegrass styles which developed after the Second World War. Stokes has been confused with the Broadway singer of the same name who appeared in shows such as Annie Get Your Gun! The graphic artist Leonard Stokes was also drawn into the whirlwind of discographical confusion when he did some work for a New Lost City Ramblers CD reissue in the late '90s; the connection with old-time music was enough to make some discographers think the old-time singer had been reincarnated as a computer graphics dude.
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