Happy Birthday Jesse – Jim & Jesse video from 1989

Today, July 9, 2021, is the 92nd birthday of mandolin legend Jesse McReynolds, and we join all of bluegrass music in wishing him a very Happy Birthday!

To help celebrate this auspicious date, Danny Clark with The Bluegrass Bus Museum has uploaded another of the vintage videos shot by his father, Don Clark, back in the late 1980s. This one features an entire set from Jim & Jesse and The Virginia Boys at the Grass Valley Festival in California. Don sets the date as probably 1989 or so, but whenever it was, it was a great version of the band. In addition to Jim on guitar and Jesse on mandolin, The Virginia Boys included another legend, Allen Shelton, on banjo, Keith McReynolds on bass, and a young Jimmy Campbell on fiddle.

Jesse had a look at the video earlier the afternoon and gave it a thumbs up.

“That is one of the best shows we’ve ever done, I was picking the fire out of that mandolin!

We had just hired Jimmy Campbell and that must have been one of his first shows with us.”

Their set that day consisted of several absolute Jim & Jesse classics like Don’t Say Goodbye If You Love Me, Blue Ridge Mountain Blues, El Cubanchero, Paradise, Air Mail Special, and Johnny B. Goode.

If you have a passion for bluegrass history, or just love traditional bluegrass, you owe it to yourself to take a break and enjoy this 40 minute video.

Many thanks to Danny for converting and uploading this presentation, and hats off to Don for capturing it.

Danny also manages a Facebook group called Jim & Jesse – Bluegrass Legends for fans of this early bluegrass brother duet. Be sure to check it out. There are a number of former Virginia Boys participate there.

And a very, very Happy Birthday to Jesse McReynolds!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.