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Earl Taylor

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b. 17 June 1929, Rose Hill, Lee County, Virginia, USA, d. 28 January 1984. In the late 30s, Taylor was attracted to the music of the Monroe Brothers and learned to play mandolin (on which he later specialized), guitar and harmonica. In 1946, he relocated to Michigan where he played with the Mountaineers, before forming his own Stoney Mountain Boys. In 1948, broke and disenchanted, he disbanded his group and returned to Virginia before moving to Maryland, where he worked outside of music until 1953. He became friendly with teenagers Charlie Waller (later of Country Gentlemen fame), Sam Hutchins and Louie Profitt and the quartet began playing bluegrass music. With some changes, they played their local area until 1955, when Taylor joined Jimmy Martin in Detroit. He also recorded with Martin, before returning to Maryland in 1957, where he formed a new version of the Stoney Mountain Boys and worked the club circuit in the Baltimore area. In April 1959, Taylor and his group had the distinction of being the first bluegrass band to play in Carnegie Hall. Soon afterwards, he relocated to Cincinnati and played various venues and did television and radio work until 1965. During this time, he recorded for Rebel, United Artists and Capitol Records. He disbanded to work with Jimmy Martin until 1966, when he spent 18 months touring and recording with Flatt And Scruggs. He later returned to Cincinnati and, after re-forming his band, he not only worked the local area but also spent some time in California. In the early 70s, he continued to play the Cincinnati and Columbus area with bands that saw various personnel changes, and made further recordings for Rural Rhythm (listed as Earl Taylor And Jim McCall) and Vetco. In 1975, his own ill health and the tragic death of his young son saw him withdraw from public appearances for some time. He returned in the early 80s, before declining health severely limited his playing and finally led to his death in 1984. Experts on the genre maintain that over the years, Taylor’s various line-ups of Stoney Mountain Boys played some of the finest bluegrass music, yet it would appear that writers on the music have sadly neglected to afford him the credit he deserved.

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17 June 1929 in Rose Hill, VA

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