Furman Roger Wilson, a founding member of the Primitive Quartet, passed away on Tuesday morning, July 2, at the age of 71.
The Primitive Quartet was originally founded in 1973 by two sets of brothers—Furman and Norman Wilson, and Larry and Reagan Riddle.
The Wilson brothers, originally from Franklin, Macon County, North Carolina, learned to sing shape notes from their father, who was a minister for 57 years. The boys sang at home and in church.
The Primitive Quartet was formed when the two sets of brothers took a guitar and mandolin with them on a fishing trip, and spent the evening singing around their camp fire. They soon realized that they had good four-part harmony. From there they started singing Gospel music at their home church and other local churches, using the name the Riddle-Wilson Quartet.
In 1978 the Primitive Quartet, as they were now called in honor of the old-time Gospel singing that inspired them, went on the road as full-time musicians.
Furman Wilson was a vocalist on the quartet’s earliest recordings.
He left the group late in the 1970s when he was called to the ministry.
A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.
He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.
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