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Monty Blake
Born:  November 6, 1922
Died:  February 18, 2008
WWVA Original Jamboree

About The Artist

Monty (Monte) Blake was the stage name for John Monto, Sr., one of two accordion players who earned legendary status at the WWVA Jamboree (the other being Marion Martin). An Italian-American born in McKee's Rocks, Pennsylvania, he came to the Jamboree after military service in World War II.

Over the years, Monty performed solo, was long part of the staff band, and on both daytime shows and Saturday nights. After his work as a regular performer, Blake served as stage manager for decades and almost always played at the annual Jamboree reunions.

All of this earned him a place in the unveiling of the Jamboree "Walkway of Stars" in 1983.

Promo Ad - Monty Blake - Valley View Park - August 1948 Promo Ad - Monty Blake - Sherkel Theater - October 1948

After WWVA phased out their daytime country music programming in the mid-1950's, Blake toured with various artist groupings that needed an accordion player, returning to Wheeling for the big Saturday night show.

In between times, he worked as a salesman for the local television station WTRF-TV. He seemingly never made any recordings under his own name, but provided backup support for some artists who did.

He died at age 85.

Credits & Sources

  • Swim in Drinking Water (AD); June 7, 1931; Bluefield Daily Telegraph; Bluefield, WV
  • Combination Dance (AD); December 4, 1931; Bluefield Daily Telegraph; Bluefield, WV
  • Junior Chamber Hears Speaker (Article); August 25, 1932; Bluefield Daily Telegraph; Bluefield, WV
  • Combination Dance (AD); December 24, 1932; Bluefield Daily Telegraph; Bluefield, WV
  • Dance Thursday Evening (Article); May 3, 1933; Bluefield Daily Telegraph; Bluefield, WV
  • Interesting Program (Article); November 5, 1933; Bluefield Daily Telegraph; Bluefield, WV
  • Robin's Nest (AD); January 26, 1934; Bluefield Daily Telegraph; Bluefield, WV
  • Combination Dance (AD); October 23, 1937; Bluefield Daily Telegraph; Bluefield, WV
  • Big Hallowe'en Combination Dance (AD); October 29, 1937; Bluefield Daily Telegraph; Bluefield, WV
  • Lake Shawnee (AD); July 1, 1945; The Raleigh Register; Beckley, WV
  • Hear Judge (J. W.) Maxwell (AD); October 29, 1948; The Beckley Post-Herald; Beckley, WV
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