Bill Grant and Delia Bell
Bill Grant and Delia Bell
|Labels||Kiamichi Records, County, Rebel, Rounder, Warner Bros.|
|Associated acts||The Kiamichi Mountain Boys, Emmylou Harris|
Bill Grant and Delia Bell were a bluegrass music duo from Oklahoma. Emmylou Harris has said of Delia Bell: "If Hank Williams and Kitty Wells had married and had a daughter, she would have sounded like Delia Bell." Grant has been recognized as "Ambassador of Bluegrass Music" by three Oklahoma governors. Delia Bell died on 15 June 2018.
Delia Bell was born Francis Leona Nowell on April 16, 1935 in Bonham, Texas. Bell moved to Hugo as a child. She started playing music with her sisters and brother as a child, and began singing in her teens. She married Bobby Bell in 1959.
In 1959, Bell began singing with Bobby's friend Bill Grant. Bell accompanied herself on guitar, and Bill Grant played mandolin, and Bell sang tenor to Grant's lead. In 1960, Bell and Grant were regulars on the Little Dixie Hayride radio show on KIHN radio.
Performing and recording career
They recorded more than a dozen albums for their own label Kiamichi Records as well as albums on County Records, Rebel Records, Rounder Records, and Warner Brothers. They toured England and Ireland 11 times during the 1970s.
Emmylou Harris picked up Bell's solo album Bluer Than Midnight at a California record shop. Impressed by Bell's version of Ruth Franks' song "Roses In The Snow", Harris recorded it as the title track of her 1980 bluegrass album. In 1982, Harris produced Bell's self-titled solo album on Warner Bros. Records. One of the songs, "Flame in My Heart", was a duet with John Anderson. The album reached #35 on the Billboard charts, but Warner Bros. dropped her and other artists from their roster.
During the 1980s, Bell and Grant recorded three albums for Rounder featuring accompaniment and harmonies by members of the Johnson Mountain Boys and Del McCoury. The 1989 album Dreaming collected songs from their Rounder albums.
Bell and Grant continued to perform as a duo until 2006 when their partnership ended. Grant was diagnosed with a brain tumor which was successfully removed, and he recovered. In 2007, Grant began singing on a limited basis with his stepdaughter Amy Patrick.
Grant was also inducted in to the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
Salt Creek Park
In 1987, Bell and Grant also launched a March Early Bird Bluegrass Show, which was staged annually for almost 20 years.
Bill Grant and Delia Bell
- 1979: In England (Kama KZ 1007)
- 1980: Bill Grant & Delia Bell (Rebel REB 1593)
- 1981: Rollin’ (Rebel REB-1604)
- 1984: The Cheer of the Home Fires (Rounder 0187)
- 1985: A Few Dollars More (Rounder 0217)
- 1988: Following a Feeling (Rounder 0257)
- 1997: Dreaming (Rounder CD 0427) compilation
- 1978: Bluer Than Midnight (County 768)
- 1983: Delia Bell (Warner Bros.) reissued in 2006 on Wounded Bird
With The Kiamichi Mountain Boys
- 1972: Bill Grant, Delia Bell and the Kiamichi Mountain Boys (Kiamichi KMB 101) reissued in 1976 as My Kiamichi Mountain Home
- 1974: Kiamichi Country (Kiamichi KMB 102)
- 1975: There Is a Fountain (Kiamichi KMB 103)
- 1976: Fourteen Memories (Kiamichi KMB 104)
- 1976: The Last Christmas Tree (Kiamichi KMB 105)
- 1978: My Pathway Leads to Oklahoma (Kiamichi KMB 107)
- 1979: The Blues Mountain Style (Kiamichi KMB 108) reissued in 1988
- 1980: Man in the Middle (Kiamichi KMB 108) reissued in 1988 with same title (Old Homestead OHS-70077)
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- staff writer (June 6, 1983). "Picks and Pans Review: Delia Bell". People. Retrieved August 27, 2017.