22 February 2021

Curtis McPeake, 9 Oct. 1927-19 Feb. 2021

Richard Thompson on Bluegrass Today reports the sad news of the death on Friday (19 Feb.) of another of the first generation of bluegrass musicians: Curtis McPeake of western Tennessee, born in the same year as Ralph Stanley and Jimmy Martin. Like many of that generation, he was playing 'hillbilly' music long before the label 'bluegrass' became current. 

His long and varied career included playing as a Blue Grass Boy and standing in for Earl Scruggs with the Foggy Mountain Boys. He was also a leading expert on, and dealer in, vintage instruments. His main banjo, the 1941 RB-75 'Ole Betsy', is featured in Jim Mills's book Gibson Mastertone flathead 5-string banjos of the 1930's and 1940's [sic]. Richard's BT article gives many more details, including five YouTube examples of his playing, nine photos, a discography, and the funeral arrangements for Wednesday and Thursday this week.

Curtis McPeake was interviewed by Bob Piekiel in November 2017, shortly after his 90th birthday. A transcript, with audio and video examples of Curtis's playing, is in the May 2018 issue of Banjo News Letter.



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