14 July 2022

News of Al Jones

In December 2011 the BIB reported the death of banjo-player Frank Necessary and mentioned his musical partner Al Jones and their band the Spruce Mountain Boys.

Last Friday (8 July) a comment on the 2011 post asked about the health of Al Jones. The BIB thanks Tom Mindte (owner of the Patuxent Music record company and leader of the Patuxent Partners band) for the photo above and the following news:

For the past couple of years, Al has been battling cancer of the jaw. He underwent surgery to remove the tumour and has been taking various treatments since then. At one point, the doctors told him that he was just to go home and wait for the end. But his friend and caregiver, Kathy, was able to get him into an experimental treatment program at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. Those treatments got him literally back on his feet, out of the wheelchair, and back to having some quality of life. In February, we celebrated his ninetieth birthday and he was feeling alright.

The photo shows Al (centre, with white hat), Tom (left of centre, with mandolin), and friends at the celebration. Al's most recent album, recorded with Billy Baker and Dee Gunter, veterans of the Baltimore bluegrass scene, was released as Just a memory (Patuxent CD-320) in 2018.

© Richard Hawkins

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