Monty Bruce

Montgomery Bruce Eisenkrantz
By Bill Flagg - September 12, 2004
           Monty Bruce called me on the phone one day back in 1954 and said he heard about a new sound I was playing from a recording arist named Jody Gibson. He invited me to meet him at Bell Sound Studio in New York where he liked what he heard and offered me a recording contract on the spot. I had named my new music "Rockbilly" but Mister Bruce changed it to "Rockabilly" and Alan Freed changed it again to "Rockabillie". So I guess Monty Bruce should get the credit for the name "Rockabilly".
           I recorded "Go Cat Go" for Tetra and it was released first on 78 RPM and then re-released on 45 RPM. It went into the billboard charts and Monty called me back to record "Guitar Rock" which also went into the charts. though he had a bit of help from Alan Freed, his father in-law, actually Monty did ninety percent of the work in promoting it.
           I appeared on one of Dick Clark's first bandstand shows, if not the first. It was called Philadelphia Bandstand at that time and shortly after was changed to American Bandstand where I made two other appearances, plus we played a few "record hops" for Dick Clark.
           I believe Monty spent more money on me than he made but I might be wrong. In any case I have absolutely no regrets concerning my association with him. I considered myself a Honky Tonk entertainer and probably would have remained one the rest of my life if it had not been for Mr. Bruce.
           I met people in show business the likes of Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, Sam "The Man" Taylor, Cozy Cole, Al Hibbler, Jimmie Rogers, George Hamilton IV, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dean Martin, Patsy Cline, Wilma Lee Cooper, and many others. I also played some of the biggest clubs and the biggest resorts in the USA as well as appearing on some of the most popular radio and television shows. I also recorded for the MGM record label and even had a tour of the famed "Tin Pan Alley", 1615 Broadway, New York.
           Many years later in 1999, I was asked to produce The Harland Hollow Bluegrass Festival in East Hartland, CT and I called on the promotional experience I learned from Monty to make it a success from the very first performance. Later that same year I was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
           I have what is now called a "cult following" and I find it all amazing after all these years that many people still remember and recognize me as the originator of "Rockabilly Music". None of this would have been possible without Monty Bruce and Monty; wherever you might be, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
-Bill Flagg

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