The 50-year evolution of The Country Gentleman
were about to get rougher. Following the Bayou Boys gig on July 3, 1957,
Buzz, Eddie (who was filling in on guitar that night) and a couple of others decided
to go to North Beach, Maryland, as Bill Emerson puts it, to drink and have
some . . . revelry. They asked me to go and I thought, You know, its
a long drive and Im not in the mood, so Ill just go home. Im
glad I did.|
the way back from North Beach, in the early morning hours of July 4, the driver
of the vehicle fell asleep and crashed into a large utility pole, seriously injuring
all the occupants. Determined to hold on to the Admiral Grill job until Buzz and
the others recovered, Bill launched into one of his greatest improvisations. He
hurriedly enlisted the aid of mandolinist John Duffey, guitarist Charlie Waller
and bassist Larry Leahy to perform that evenings show. John lived
about a mile from mehes the guy that really got me started playing
the banjo, Bill explains. I also knew Charlie. We all hung out at
the same places. We had performed informally with each other before, but never
as a band.
night, however, the quartet made the crowd temporarily forget all about the Bayou
Boys. We played the traditional standards. Songs like Love and Wealth,
Stanley Brothers material and Bill Monroe songs, Bill recalls, admitting
none of them had any inkling of the greatness to come.
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