Freddie Goodhart with one of his prized antique vehicles – photo by Tom King
Freddie Goodhart, a life-long bluegrass banjo and mandolin player, passed away on March 12 in Florida. He was 89 years of age.
Born Frederick Phillips McCormick-Goodhart, he gave up a privileged life in Washington, DC, where his father served as British Naval Ambassador, to move to North Carolina and immerse himself in bluegrass. He stayed with Vernon “Boatwhistle” McIntyre who lived there at the time.
Freddie was very active as a player in the 1960s when bluegrass began to take off in the US. After college in Florida, he moved to Lexington, VA where he opened an antiques and collectible business, Jefferson Street Second Hand Shop. He was involved in a number of business interests during his life, real estate and antique automobiles among them.
Bluegrass historian Fred Bartenstein got to know Goodhart when he was growing up in Lexington, and says that it was a formative relationship for the young banjo picker.
“Freddie’s primary interest was bluegrass music, and he travelled widely in the U.S. and Canada, playing with acquaintances at clubs, private homes, and festivals. Freddie befriended me around 1963, when I was 12, and drove me to the first multi-day bluegrass festival in Fincastle, Virginia, in 1965, when I was 14.”
Goodhart’s Second Hand Shop was an institution in Lexington, a must-see stop for visitors to the historic city. He found and resold old 78 RPM recordings of early bluegrass, as well as vintage instruments, and could always be counted on for a number of stories about the many festivals he had attended, or the famous bluegrass personalities he had met and picked with.
No arrangements have yet been announced.
R.I.P., Freddie Goodhart.