JOHN DUFFEY’S BLUEGRASS LIFE

DUFFEY-BOOKJOHN DUFFEY’S BLUEGRASS LIFE
FEATURING THE COUNTRY GENTLEMEN, SELDOM
 SCENE, AND WASHINGTON, D.C.
B
Y STEPHEN MOORE AND G.T. KEPLINGER
Booklocker 9781632638397.  Foreward by Tom Gray, paperback, 365 pp., $19.99.
(BookLocker, 200 2nd Ave. S., #526, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, www.booklocker.com.)

It’s rare to come across a book that so perfectly matches its subject matter in content and style, but here we have it in a revealing, kaleidoscopic, entertaining biography of the great singer and bandleader John Duffey, written by Stephen Moore and G.T. Keplinger.

I only knew Duffey as a fan, listener, and a one-time co-conspirator in trying to get money out of a promoter at a rainy festival our bands had played at. I still consider him the most complex, talented, entertaining personality ever to take a bluegrass stage. That’s why I can recommend this book whole-heartedly. It’s every bit as multi-faceted, funny, and entertaining as Duffey was. Using John’s own words, along with contributions from 82 of his friends, associates and bandmates, this biography does not shy away from the more difficult aspects of his life, which is as John would have wanted.

For the second generation of bluegrass artists, Duffey was possibly the most influential—not only in his recording and performing with seminal bands such as the Country Gentlemen and the Seldom Scene, but also with his inclusion of songs from other genres into the bluegrass repertoire while still retaining the unique tone and sound of bluegrass. He was the link from Bill Monroe to Sam Bush.

The book includes fifty rare photographs and a thorough discography of Duffey’s recording career. I rarely use the word “essential” in reviews, but this one has earned it. Moore and Keplinger have written an essential and entertaining book on the larger-than-life John Duffey.CVS

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