The Country Gentlemen Biography

This bluegrass group were first established in Washington, DC, USA, on 4 July 1957. Over the years, the various line-ups became popular at major folk and bluegrass festivals. When national interest waned somewhat in bluegrass music in the late 60s, the group still managed to exist and were never afraid to use material from a wide variety of writers and genres. When interest in bluegrass revived in the 70s, they were one of the first groups to appear at major venues such as Bean Blossom, Indiana.

The group was founded by Charlie Waller (19 January 1935, Jointerville, Texas, USA, d. 18 August 2004, Gordonsville, Virginia, USA; guitar/vocals), John Duffey (b. 4 March 1934, Washington DC, USA; guitar/vocals), Bill Emerson (b. William Hundley Emerson, 22 January 1938, Washington, DC, USA; banjo) and Tom Morgan (bass). Emerson was replaced for a short time by Pete Kuykendall (a disc jockey and record collector who played as Pete Roberts), who, in turn, was replaced by Eddie Adcock (b. Edward Windsor Adcock, 17 June 1938, Scottsville, Virginia, USA; banjo, mandolin, vocals). Jim Cox (b. 3 April 1930, Vansant, Virginia, USA; bass, banjo, vocals) replaced Morgan.

The first stable line-up, featuring Waller, Duffey, Adcock and bass player Tom Gray, recorded a clutch of singles and an album for Starday Records in 1959. Three albums for Folkways Records followed, including the seminal Country Songs Old & New. A short recording contract with Mercury Records preceded the beginning of the group’s long-term association with Rebel Records in 1964. Gray left the same year, and was eventually replaced by Ed McGlothlin. A more serious split took place in 1969 when founding member Duffey left the group. He was replaced by Jimmy Gaudreau, but barely a year later Adcock and McGlothlin also departed.

Waller teamed up with the returning Emerson, Doyle Lawson (mandolin) and Bill Yates (bass) to form the new line-up of the Country Gentleman. The group, led through various incarnations by the stalwart Waller, remained a popular attraction on the bluegrass circuit and continued to record new albums in subsequent decades.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.