DIARY - 21 AUGUST 2004 - CHARLIE WALLER RIP
COUNTRY GENT CHARLIE WALLER RIP AT 69
Country Gentlemen founder and leader Charlie Waller died at 69 on
August 18 his altruism for a long-standing peer he hit a huge heart
Waller was scheduled to perform two concerts to raise medical expense
funds for banjo player Eddie Adcock.
Adcock an embryonic member of the band that played its first gig
on July 4, 1957, had
multiple bypass surgery on July 6th.
of performing in Nashville on August 20 and Falls Church, Virginia, on
September 8, Charlie was being mourned by fans and friends.
Waller died of an apparent heart attack in the garden of his home in Gordonsville
Although Charlie was ailing for several years he and his group maintained
a busy concert schedule.
Country Gentleman began in Arlington, Virginia, in 1957 with Waller,
as lead singer and guitarist, Adcock on banjo, Tom Gray on bass and
the late John Duffey on mandolin.
It was this combination that, in 1996, was inducted into the International
Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Honor.
The group has had more than 100 members during its 47-year history
- including Ricky Skaggs, Bill Emerson, Doyle Lawson and Jerry Douglas.
solid bluegrass licks and credentials, Waller was a country music enthusiast
to the core.
His vocal models included Gene Autry, Hank Snow and Eddy Arnold - he seldom
did a show without singing Autry's standard, Ages And Ages Ago.
The Gentlemen entered Billboard's country singles chart only once - in
1965 with the ghost ballad, Bringing Mary Home.
"Although they were respectful of tradition," Bill Malone wrote
in The Encyclopedia of Country Music, "the Country Gentlemen were
also one of the most important early innovative bands in bluegrass, taking
the genre into new arenas of repertoire and stylistic performance while
steadfastly using acoustic instruments."
That repertoire embraced pop, folk and country music and yielded such
memorable cuts as Theme From Exodus, Matterhorn, Two Little Boys, Legend
of the Rebel Soldier and New Freedom Bell.
POSTHUMOUS FINALE DISC
Waller is worthy of an all star tribute disc he was lucky enough to have
his own farewell album in the can.
Songs Of The American Spirit - is due out on September 20 on Pinecastle
Records and contains songs written by Merle Haggard, Tom T. and Dixie
Hall, the late Randall Hylton and others.
Ironically, the album was produced by fellow heart attack victim Adcock.
Waller is survived by his wife, Sachiko; a son, Randy, who is a member
of the current band; and a daughter, Mena, now a student at Nashville's
DRIFTING COWBOYS BASSIST LUM YORK RIP AT 83
Cowboys bassist William Herbert "Lum" York died at 83 on Sunday
August 15 in a hospital in Louisiana capital Baton Rouge.
The octogenarian sideman, who doubled as a comedian for the late Hank
Williams, was in the Drifting Cowboys from 1944-9.
In 1947, he played bass on four Williams' recordings, including On
the Banks of the Old Pontchartrain.
York later worked with Bill Monroe, Lefty Frizzell, George Morgan, Marty
Robbins, Goldie Hill and others.
Former Drifting Cowboys pedal steel guitarist Don Helms plays on the second
album by Newcastle country singer Catherine Britt.
CLICK HERE for a Britt update.
/ back to diary