15 September 1947, Lebanon, Ohio, USA. After learning to play guitar in his early teens, he first played with local bluegrass and country bands. He made his professional debut at 16, and in the mid-60s, he made some appearances with the Stanley Brothers. In February 1967, following Carter Stanleys death, he joined Ralph Stanleys Clinch Mountain Boys. His singing resembled that of Carter Stanley and he sang the popular Stanley Brothers duets with Ralph, while his talented guitar work saw him often playing lead during his time with the group. He recorded five albums with Stanley and worked with him until 1970, when he formed his own Lonesome Ramblers, which on occasions featured his sister, Bernice, playing rhythm guitar. Throughout the 70s and 80s, Sparks built a considerable reputation. Although, at times, he varied his music from old-time traditional to more contemporary bluegrass, he has never been afraid to use country material; in fact, one of his...
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