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The Country Gentlemen
Origin Washington, D.C., United States
Genres Bluegrass, Country
Years active 1957 - 2004

Contents

The Country Gentlemen were a bluegrass band that originated during the 1950s in the area of Washington, DC, United States, and recorded and toured with various members until the death in 2004 of Charlie Waller, one of the group's founders who in its later years served as the group's "focal point and leader."[1]

"The Classic" line-up of the Country Gentlemen from 1960-64, consisting of co-founders Charlie Waller on guitar and John Duffey on mandolin, with Eddie Adcock on banjo and Tom Gray on bass, were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1996.[1]

Members

The band started on July 4, 1957[1] as a replacement group for Buzz Busby’s Bayou Boys when several members of that band were injured in a car accident. The band’s original members were Charlie Waller on guitar and lead vocals, John Duffey on mandolin and tenor vocals, Bill Emerson on banjo and baritone vocals, and Larry Lahey on bass. After a few early changes, the band settled into a somewhat permanent lineup consisting of Waller, Duffey, Eddie Adcock on banjo, and Tom Gray on bass.

They toured both the Bluegrass and Folk circuits during the 1950s and 1960's, until just as the band was scheduled to tour Japan, Duffey quit, citing his fear of flying. Jimmy Gaudreau was brought in on mandolin. Adcock and Gray both departed the band in the next two years.

Charlie Waller assembled the "second generation" of the Country Gentlemen soon after, with Bill Emerson returning on banjo, Doyle Lawson on mandolin, Bill Yates on bass and Ricky Skaggs on fiddle. The band also switched labels from Rebel to Vanguard. Emerson left again to join the Navy after one album, and was replaced by James Bailey. Jerry Douglas joined the band during the summer of 1973 and in 1974, after graduating from high school in May 1974, stayed with the band playing the Dobro at that time. He continued with the band until June 1975. He rejoined the band in May 1978 and was with the band until December 1978.

In the band's later years Charlie Waller served as the group's "focal point and leader" until his death in August 2004.[1]

Material

The Country Gentlemen play music ranging from traditional bluegrass to pop, sometimes adapting music from other genres to their bluegrass style. They also borrowed from the folk genre with songs such as Gordon Lightfoot's "Redwood Hill" and Steve Goodman's "City of New Orleans."

Several of the band’s songs ("Two Little Boys," "Bringing Mary Home," "New Freedom Bell," "Matterhorn," "Fox on the Run," "Legend of the Rebel Soldier," and many others) have become bluegrass standards.

Discography

  • Country Songs, Old and New (Folkways, 1960)
  • Folk Songs & Bluegrass (Folkways, 1961)
  • Bluegrass at Carnegie Hall (Starday, 1962)
  • Blue Grass Hootenanny (Design, 1963)
  • On The Road (Folkways, 1963)
  • Folk Session Inside (Mercury, 1963)
  • Bringing Mary Home (Rebel, 1966)
  • The Traveler (Rebel, 1968)
  • Play It Like It Is (Rebel, 1969)
  • New Look, New Sound (Rebel, 1970)
  • One Wide River To Cross (Rebel, 1971)
  • Sound Off (Rebel, 1971)
  • The Award Winning Country Gentlemen (Rebel, 1972)
  • Going Back To The Blue Ridge Mountains (Folkways, 1973)
  • Yesterday & Today Volume 1 (Rebel, 1973)
  • Yesterday & Today Volume 2 (Rebel, 1973)
  • The Country Gentlemen feat. Ricky Skaggs (Vanguard, 1973)
  • Yesterday & Today Volume 3 (Rebel, 1974)
  • Remembrances & Forecasts (Vanguard, 1974)
  • Live In Japan (Seven Seas, 1975)
  • Joe's Last Train (Rebel, 1976)
  • Calling My Children Home (Rebel, 1978)
  • 25 Years (Rebel, 1980)
  • Sit Down, Young Stranger (Sugar Hill, 1980)
  • River Bottom (Sugar Hill, 1981)
  • Good As Gold (Sugar Hill, 1983)
  • Return Engagement (Rebel, 1988)
  • Classic Country Gents Reunion (Sugar Hill, 1989)
  • Nashville Jail (Copper Creek, 1990)
  • Let The Light Shine Down (Rebel, 1991)
  • New Horizon (Rebel, 1992)
  • Sugar Hill Collection (Sugar Hill, 1995)
  • Souvenirs (Rebel, 1995)
  • Early Rebel Recordings: 1962-1971 {Box Set} (Rebel, 1998)
  • High Lonesome (Starday, 1998)
  • Crying In The Chapel (Freeland, 2001)
  • On The Road...And More (Smithsonian Folkways, 2001)
  • Complete Vanguard Recordings (Vanguard, 2002)
  • 45 Years Of Memories (Pinecastle, 2002)
  • Songs Of The American Spirit (Pinecastle, 2004)
  • Live From The Stage Of The Roanoake Bluegrass Festival(ZAP ZLP-101-B (a product of REBEL RECORDING CO.)year N/A

Offshoots

Some of the immediate offshoots of the band were Emerson & Waldron, the Seldom Scene, II Generation, and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.

In the 1960s and 1970s, guitarist Nick Nastos (a.k.a. Nick Masters), best known for his work with Bill Haley & His Comets, ran a group called the Country Showmen, which often included members of The Comets who worked with the band when not touring with Bill Haley. Numerous reference books, however, erroneously refer to this band by the name the Country Gentlemen.

In 2008, Adcock and Gray, two members of the "Classic" Country Gentlemen Hall of Honor lineup[1], together with former member Gaudreau and Waller's son Randy, combined in 2008 to record as the Country Gentlemen Reunion Band.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e http://www.bluegrass-museum.org/masters/Country_Gentlemen.htm
  2. ^ http://www.bluegrassjournal.com/2008/06/04/country-gentlemen-reunite-on-new-cd/

External links

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