Pee Wee Lambert, a native of Thacker, West Virginia, played mandolin with the Stanley Brothers from 1946 to 1951, when they were just beginning their career. His mandolin playing was in the Bill Monroe style. He sang tenor and also developed the high baritone sound which gave the Stanley Brothers’ Rich-R-Tone and Columbia trio recordings an eerie sound on songs like “The Lonesome River.” After the Stanley Brothers disbanded temporarily in 1951, he teamed with Ray “Curly” Parker to form the Pine Ridge Boys, which later became the Bluegrass Partners. They worked in Ashland, Kentucky, and moved on to Springfield in the early summer of 1954, where they worked day jobs and played on nights and weekends around the area as well as doing a program on Springfield radio station WJEL. Working with them at the time was a young J.D. Crowe on banjo, Bill Moats on fiddle, and Bob Tincher on bass, with Pee Wee playing mandolin and Curly playing guitar. Legend has it that at the time, Pee Wee’s mandolin somehow got broken and thrown in a trash can. Someone dug it out and gave it to Frank Wakefield, who fastened it back together with a fork and spoon and played it on his Wayside recording of “Leave Well Enough Alone.” After Pee Wee and Curly broke up, Pee Wee settled in Columbus and played the bars there for many years. In 2012, he was posthumously honored with a Distinguished Achievement Award by the IBMA; it was presented by Ricky Skaggs, current owner of Pee Wee’s famous mandolin.

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