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About Harold Morrison

b. Harold Ralph Morrison, 30 January 1931, Highlonesome, Missouri, USA, d. 21 December 1993, Springfield, Missouri, USA. Morrison played banjo, guitar, steel guitar and dobro and was also a talented comedian. He made his first radio appearances in 1950 and the following year, he teamed up with fiddler/guitarist Jimmy Gateley, first working with the Red River Rustlers on KJSB Jamestown, North Dakota, before the two moved to WWVA Wheeling, West Virginia. They worked mainly as a duo but on occasions also played in Dusty Owens’ band and played on Columbia Records sessions with Owens in 1954. They moved to Springfield in 1955 where they became cast members of the newly formed Ozark Jubilee and also toured with Red Foley. Morrison also began to play as a session musician. He recorded with the Browns, playing steel guitar on their big hit ‘I Take The Chance’ and with Porter Wagoner, where he played banjo on that singer’s popular numbers ‘I’m Stepping Out Tonight’ and ‘A Good Time Was Had By All’.

In 1957, he relocated to Nashville where he played steel and dobro on numerous Decca Records recordings with Kitty Wells, including on her hit ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ and on some RCA - Victor Records sides with Johnny Wright. Morrison also toured with the Wells/Wright show for some time. He next joined the Wilburn Brothers both on tour and on their television series. He played banjo on Loretta Lynn’s hit ‘Blue Kentucky Girl’. He made some recordings for Reader’s Digest in 1959 and in the mid-60s, he made solo recordings for Decca that included instrumentals and comedy songs. In 1969, he joined George Jones and Tammy Wynette; stayed with them until they divorced and then played with Wynette’s band.

In 1975, with his daughter Karla and Benny Williams, he formed the Smoking Bluegrass Band that toured for some years and appeared at major bluegrass festivals. After they disbanded Morrison played with various units but between 1985 and 1987, he had a band in Branson. In 1989, he was with Ferlin Husky performing at their own theatre in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when Hurricane Hugo demolished the complex. After working for a time with Grandpa Jones, he fronted a new show at Myrtle Beach before returning to Branson in 1992. Morrison died of heart failure following a cerebral haemorrhage.

    Highlonesome, MO
  • BORN
    30 January 1931

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