Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Yet another Tuesday fill-in - 1/22/2013

To me, one of the most enjoyable things about doing a fill-in program at WHUS is that I get to play music on the air that I wouldn't normally play during the Bluegrass Cafe.  Sometimes that music is from classic country music performers, but in today's case, the emphasis was on a banjo picking legend who celebrated his 75th birthday today, as well as one of the most distinctive voices ever heard in the world of BG who would have turned 78 on January 19th.  Their names:  Virginia Country Music Hall of Famer, Bill Emerson and Bluegrass Hall of Honor member, Charlie Waller.  

Those Classic Country Gents

It's no secret that I heard A LOT of Country Gentlemen music in my "formative" BG years (i.e. the mid-1970s), so it stands to reason that I became a big fan of their music, and by extension, of their lead singer and guitar player.  Charlie Waller never possessed the "high lonesome" voice that people want to associate with the great BG performers, and he was never known as a major songwriter.  Still, his contribution to Bluegrass music is truly legendary, and whenever I get a chance to play a lot of his music, I kind of jump at it.  Did I get to play all of the Country Gentlemen songs I really would have liked to play on Tuesday's show?  Not really, but I think we hit a pretty good sampling of CG music from several different groupings of Country Gents:  the Hall of Fame Classic ones (Waller, John Duffey, Eddie Adcock, Tom Gray), as well as later groupings of Waller with Jimmy Gaudreau, Bill Yates, Doyle Lawson, Bill Emerson, Ricky Skaggs, Kent Dowell, Rick Allred, Darin Aldridge, and others.  I certainly enjoyed the songs I played -- hopefully, others did, too.  

Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie
Birthday boy Bill Emerson figured prominently into Tuesday's program, too.  In addition to being one of the founding members of the Country Gentlemen (part of the group when they played their first gig on July 4, 1957), Bill Emerson has worked with some of the legends of BG.  He spent time working as a sideman with Buzz Busby, Jimmy Martin, and Red Allen, as well as wonderful pairings with Cliff Waldron, the songwriter, Pete Goble, and his Country Current bandmate, Wayne Taylor.  After returning to the Country Gentlemen for a 3-year stint beginning in 1970, Emerson joined the U.S. Navy and became a member of their country band known as Country Current.  Since his retirement from the Navy, Bill Emerson has not really slowed down, either.  His most recent project from his own band (Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie) was named a favorite of 2012 on at least one "Best of" list for the year.  Fantastic.  

Hope you enjoyed today's show, and that you'll consider joining me once again on Sunday afternoon at 4PM for the Bluegrass Cafe.  


  • The Grey Ghost / Bill Emerson / Banjo Man / Webco
  • Prayer Bell Of Heaven / Jimmy Martin / This World Is Not My Home / MME
  • Shiloh / Bill Emerson & Cliff Waldron / The Best Of Emerson & Waldron / Rebel
  • Fox On The Run / Bill Emerson & Cliff Waldron / The Best Of Emerson & Waldron / Rebel
  • Don't Wake Me / Bill Emerson with Red Allen / Reunion / Webco
  • Tennessee 1949 / Bill Emerson & Pete Goble / Webco Classics / Webco
  • Ridin' The High Plain / Bill Emerson / Gold-Plated Banjo / Rebel
  • Appaloosa / Bill Emerson & Wayne Taylor / Appaloosa / Webco
  • Home Sweet Dixie Home / Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie with Bill Evans / The Touch Of Time / Rural Rhythm
  • Seeing Nellie Home / Country Gentlemen / Live In Japan / Rebel
  • The Hills And Home / Country Gentlemen / High Lonesome / King
  • Copper Kettle / Country Gentlemen / High Lonesome / King
  • A Letter To Tom / Country Gentlemen / On The Road (And More) / Smithsonian Folkways
  • Little Bessie / Country Gentlemen / Folk Songs And Bluegrass / Smithsonian Folkways
  • I Am Weary (Let Me Rest) / Country Gentlemen / Folk Session Inside / Copper Creek
  • Heavenward Bound / Country Gentlemen / The Early Rebel Recordings, 1962-1971 / Rebel
  • You Left Me Alone / Country Gentlemen / Can't You Hear Me Callin' / Rebel
  • The Bluebirds Are Singing For Me / Country Gentlemen / The Early Rebel Recordings, 1962-1971 / Rebel
  • Matterhorn / Country Gentlemen / Can't You Hear Me Callin' / Rebel
  • One Wide River / Country Gentlemen / The Early Rebel Recordings, 1962-1971 / Rebel
  • Under The Double Eagle / Country Gentlemen / Live In Japan / Rebel
  • Redwood Hill / Country Gentlemen / The Early Rebel Recordings, 1962-1971 / Rebel
  • Willow Creek Dam / Country Gentlemen / The Complete Vanguard Recordings / Vanguard
  • Honey Don't / Country Gentlemen / River Bottom / Sugar Hill
  • Let Me Fly Low / Charlie Waller & the Country Gentlemen / Songs Of The American Spirit / Pinecastle
  • Fare Thee Well / Duffey-Waller-Adcock-Gray / Classic Country Gents Reunion / Sugar Hill
  • Two Little Boys / Country Gentlemen / Bluegrass The World's Greatest Show / Sugar Hill
  • Chilly Winds / Spinney Brothers / Memories / Mountain Fever Records
  • Journey To My Savior's Side / Missy Werner Band / Three Kinds Of Lonesome / Self-Produced
  • Don't Fall In Love With A Girl Like That / The Boxcars / All In / Mountain Home
  • The Old Pueblo / Chris Brashear / Heart Of The Country / Dog Boy Records
  • No Lawyers In Heaven / Charlie Sizemore / Heartache Looking For A Home / Rounder
  • I'm Walking The Dog / Jack Cooke / Sittin' On Top Of The World / Pinecastle

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