Missouri bluegrass legend and pioneer, Dub Crouch, passed away January 8, 2017. The Lord called him home on “The Eighth Of January,” in true bluegrass fashion. A banjo picker for over 60 years, Robert W. Crouch held an influential role in the stylings of Missouri bluegrass music. His snappy, precise banjo playing blended Stanley flavor, along with his own touch, to help bring a distinct sound to the St. Louis area, beginning in the early 1950s. From jam session pickers to his nephews, Tim and Dennis Crouch, Dub Crouch’s influence can be heard in many a song.
After buying his first banjo at a junk shop in 1949, Dub’s love for bluegrass never waned. He was a large part of the St.Louis honky-tonk scene of the 1950’s playing banjo and piano, along with singing. The early ’60s brought forth Dub’s own band, The Bluegrass Rounders. Under this name, along with Norman Ford, Dub created some of the most iconic traditional bluegrass from the Midwest region. Their high harmonies and driving sound were known far and wide during the festival scene hey day. Recordings of The Bluegrass Rounders prove that this band was a force to be reckoned with throughout the 1970s. Dub’s recordings include vinyl from Professional Artists, King Bluegrass, and SPBGMA labels that span 30 years. This decade was the highlight of Dub’s bluegrass music career. His accolades of the 1970’s include numerous SPBGMA Awards for Band of The Year, Album of The Year, and Promoter of The Year (just to name a few.) Many band contest were dominated by The Bluegrass Rounders, including Disney Oklahoma 1971, Hugo Oklahoma 1971, and Bean Blossom 1972. In later years, Dub was best known for his collection of vintage instruments. Classic bluegrass magazine ads are evidence that Dub Crouch was a premier pre-war banjo aficionado. That love of instruments stayed with him until the end.
The oldest bluegrass music association known, Missouri Area Bluegrass Committee, was founded and chartered by Dub Crouch in 1972. This association was the first of its kind to unite the bluegrass music community, host shows and festivals, along with organizing their newsletter, The Ramblins, which is still in print today. Dub is remembered as being everywhere that had bluegrass in his home area, and always with a gentle smile on his face. At MABC’s 35th Anniversary Winter Bluegrass Festival this past weekend, Dub was celebrated and recognized by MABC, and the newly founded Missouri Bluegrass Preservation Association as a Pioneer of Missouri Bluegrass. Along with 5 other recipients, an award ceremony summarized these Missouri musicians’ careers and achievements exposing people attending to the first generation of Missouri Bluegrass sounds. Dub was not able to attend the January 7th event, but he was acknowledged in high fashion. Complications from pneumonia took the 86 year old on January 8th, one day after being officially recognized as a Pioneer of Missouri Bluegrass. A true gentleman of Bluegrass music, Dub Crouch will be missed by all. He will be laid to rest next to his precious wife of 68 years, Maggie, on Wednesday January 11th.
Missouri Area Bluegrass Committee and The Missouri Bluegrass Preservation Association have teamed up to raise funds to purchase a seat in the new International Bluegrass Music Museum Theatre in memory of Dub Crouch. The seat will bear his name in remembrance of his passion and contributions to Bluegrass Music. To find more information out or make a tax deductible donation honoring Dub, go to the museum web site.
Dub spoke in a 1983 interview with Nancy Cardwell, “The people in our time made us feel as good as you could ever expect anybody to make you feel, and we did our very best to entertain the people. We slept in cars and all that. It wasn’t the money that we made, but the combination of them pleasing us and us trying to please them. I don’t think I could have been happier in my life.”
Rest in Peace, Dub Crouch.