Horse Racing in Kentucky Culture: "Molly & Tenbrooks"

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Horse Racing in Kentucky culture: 'Molly & Tenbrooks'

"Molly And Tenbrooks" has become a staple of the bluegrass repertoire, and is performed throughout the region, in different genres, today. Betting songs, such as "Jack O'Diamonds," are widely known throughout the country and beyond.


The recorded history of "Molly & Tenbrooks" , at least the popular bluegrass version, is fascinating. "Molly..." became an early part of the repertoire of Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys, and they recorded a version in 1947. However, it was not released (instead being played live, at "personal appearances", as shows were known in those days), and was instead put out by the young Stanley Brothers, the following year.  The Stanley Brothers' version caused quite some friction between the them and Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boy, as at the time, bands were quite protective of their songs and their style. Monroe's take on "Molly & Tenbrooks" was issued in 1949, and the double release did not seem to hurt either band in the end.  

The story behind "Molly & Tenbrooks" is a fantastic example of how of music, sports and culture intertwine, and I am going to be looking at other examples in baseball, football and basketball. As I am sure we can all testify, sports reflects and informs our lives in many different and varied ways, from the mundane to the extraordinary, and I hope to shed light both on the well-known and less obvious ways in which this happens. 
 

 

 

Photo: Flickr/Erin Pettigrew

Videos: Youtube

About Gideon Thomas
I am a writer, journalist and music critic, working in a variety of musical areas. My work has appeared in a range of online and print outlets, and I am looking forward to the challenge of transferring my knowledge and skills to Louisville.com
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